Story Poster
Photo by Twitter / Cal Basketball
Cal Basketball

Second Half Frigid Spell Dooms Bears

November 30, 2022
1,873

If you just look at the final score, it’s tempting to think this was Cal’s worst loss of the young basketball season.  USC 66, Cal 51.

It IS the widest margin of defeat this year. And the Bears ARE off to an 0-8 start, historically bad – the worst start for a Power 5 Conference team since the Carter Administration. As a writer, it feels kind of like Day 8 of Thanksgiving leftovers – there’s only so much you can do with turkey.

But there are glimmers of hope here.

Cal had been consistently outrebounded all season. They were, again, Wednesday – but only by the slimmest of margins, 40-39. And they corralled 19 offensive rebounds, their highest total since grabbing 21 against Washington State in last March’s Pac-12 Tournament. Prior to that game, they tallied 19 or more three times in the 2017-2018 season.

Senior Forward Kuany Kuany said, “We struggled early in the year – we needed to do the little things, competing at the boards – I give credit to everyone making an effort – that’s been the mentality, and tonight we got rewarded finally.”

On the downside, those 19 offensive boards only netted Cal seven points.

The Golden Bears are among the slowest-paced teams in the country. They scored 24 times on 61 possessions in this game, and that makes it tough for a team to come back from a deficit.

Cal trailed wire-to-wire in this game, and yet, despite starting 0-for-6 from the field, they were only down 4-0 five minutes into the game. The Trojans also had trouble sustaining offense over large chunks of the game, just like Cal.

11 minutes in, the Bears were down 10, 19-9. Three minutes later, USC had not scored, but the lead was only cut to 19-11. Devin Askew, the game’s leading scorer with 23 points, started very slowly but ended up with 10 at the break after hitting a layup and draining five free throws in the final 3:30 of the half. Cal trailed by five at the break, 27-22. They committed just two turnovers in the first half, while USC coughed up the ball nine times…but the Bears had only four points off those nine turnovers, and ZERO second-chance points off six offensive boards.

Cal head coach Mark Fox said of the empty second chance possessions, “We got the ball where we wanted to get it to. We had 2 turnovers at the half, less than 10 for the game. You have to finish – you get a chance to lay the ball off the backboard, you have to finish it.”

Cal hit the intermission shooting below 18%, but they were still somehow very much in the game.

Both teams shot better in the second half, but there were extended droughts for both squads. Cal shot 39% in the second half, but finished with a dreadful 27.7% for the game. Joel Brown played 35 minutes and Askew 33, the last several with four fouls. The drop-off in production when Askew had to sit was predictable – Cal trailed 50-43 at his exit with 8:14 to play, USC went on to score 16 straight points and held a 66-43 lead with 2:45 remaining in the contest.

The final 2:30 featured an 8-0 Cal run that made the final score look closer than the last 10 minutes really were. Over an 8-minute stretch, the Bears missed 13 shots in a row. “Got it to 3 (in the second half),” said Fox, “and I think we just ran out of gas, had no juice at the end, and they were able to separate at the end.”

USC was led by a trio of scorers, with Reese Dixon-Waters, a sophomore guard, leading their squad with 17 off the bench along with six boards. Starting forward Joshua Morgan and guard Drew Peterson each had 14 points and seven rebounds

Cal was 6-for-24 on layups until the final 2:30 when they scored on 4 of their 5 attempts. Their lack of scoring depth was made obvious by the game’s most glaring statistic: The USC bench outscored the Cal bench 20-0.

Help may be on the way soon. Fox said he anticipates having Sam Alajiki back for Sunday’s game in Tucson against the undefeated #4 Arizona Wildcats. “I ‘think’ we are about to get a couple of guys back,” Fox said. “We miss Sam and his shooting and physicality, and DeJuan (graduate transfer DeJuan Clayton) is a scorer and a physical presence. They will make things much easier for these young guys.” Clayton participated in warmups prior to Wednesday’s contest and is able to perform most non-contact skills, but has not yet been cleared for game action, although it sounds like he’s getting close. Having another scoring threat on the floor can only help Askew, who scored 45% of his team’s points Wednesday.

Discussion from...

Second Half Frigid Spell Dooms Bears

1,505 Views | 2 Replies | Last: 2 mo ago by calumnus
Bisonbob
How long do you want to ignore this user?
There is no way to pile on a horrible team with no stars no depth and as usual no talent for a D1 program. So as expressed in the Cron on Sat it is deeper than the Coach.. It is clear we do not have a program and have not had one in years. We have no hope unless the School decides they want to be a factor at a great school and reap the benefits of have competitive football and a basketball PROGRAMS.
In the meantime I gave up my tickets after the Waken Jones hire followed by the Cunzo hire who you knew was all hype. I know Fox checked all the safe boxes, but he had no recorded of rejuvenating a program let alone developing a winning program.
calumnus
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Bisonbob said:

There is no way to pile on a horrible team with no stars no depth and as usual no talent for a D1 program. So as expressed in the Cron on Sat it is deeper than the Coach.. It is clear we do not have a program and have not had one in years. We have no hope unless the School decides they want to be a factor at a great school and reap the benefits of have competitive football and a basketball PROGRAMS.
In the meantime I gave up my tickets after the Waken Jones hire followed by the Cunzo hire who you knew was all hype. I know Fox checked all the safe boxes, but he had no recorded of rejuvenating a program let alone developing a winning program.


He took Tennessee to the Sweet 16 just with "hype"? We went undefeated at home and earned a 4 seed, our highest ever, just with "hype."?

The undermining of Martin, announcing one day before leaving for the NCAA Tournament that he would be investigated in a "sexual harassment case" (his actions/inactions in the Hufnagel sexual harassment/assault case, but a press release and subsequent headlines tgst made it seem like HE was the one accused). THAT is something programs that are serious about winning do not do. The timing couldn't have been worse and therefore appeared to be intentional.
Refresh
Page 1 of 1
 
×
subscribe Verify your student status
See Subscription Benefits
Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial.