Photo by Cal Athletics
Cal Basketball

Dismal First Half Dooms Bears Again in 107-84 Loss to UCLA

January 6, 2018
3,712

Maybe Cal should petition the NCAA to play the rest of its games on the road.

The Bears suffered yet another embarrassing home loss, this time at the hands of UCLA. The Bruins jumped out to a 54-33 halftime lead and never looked back, cruising to a 107-84 win at Haas Pavilion Saturday afternoon.

It was Cal's third straight double digit home loss, and sixth overall in 10 games in Berkeley this season. Contrast that with the Bears' 3-0 road record, which includes wins over Stanford and San Diego State.

"I think our guys enjoy being the underdog and being the villain on the road," said head coach Wyking Jones. "I've coached teams like that before, which play well on the road and enjoy the boos and silencing the crowd. I think they feed off that, for whatever reason."

Cal's defense Saturday was dreadful from the start. The Bears allowed wide open shot after wide open shot, and UCLA (12-4, 3-1) finished at 58 percent from the field, including a blazing 17-of-30 from three-point range. Senior Thomas Welsh led the way with 19 points on 6-of-9 shooting, including 4-for-6 from beyond the arc. He was one of six Bruins in double figures.

"They're a great team," said senior Marcus Lee, who recorded his fifth double-double with 19 points and a career-high 15 rebounds. "They can shoot from all five positions. That's really hard to defend because you have to spread out wider and then still play help defense. They played that really well and worked to their strengths."

"They're talented," added Jones. "We pressed them and they took the shots we wanted them to take. The problem was they made them."

The biggest concern for Cal (7-9, 1-2) right now - and there are many - has to be the awful starts. In their last four games, the Bears have been outscored in the first half by an average of 47-29. Needless to say, that is not a recipe for success.

"I'm looking for the answer to that," Jones admitted. "I'm going into the game feeling great, knowing we had a great week of practice and feeling really good about it. And then we have a slow start and I'm shaking my head as well. ... Our guys just have to do a better job of coming out of the gates ready to throw the first punch."

"I think we just need to come out fired up," added Lee. "We come out in the second half fired up with energy after the game settles in, but we have to do that in the first half. We have to throw the first punch instead of sitting back and waiting for it."

"It's frustrating for all of us on the team," said freshman Justice Sueing, who scored a game-high 22 points. "But we're working to fix that, and we need to fix it sooner than later."

Cal will try to bounce back Thursday night against Washington. Fortunately, that game is in Seattle.

Discussion from...

Dismal First Half Dooms Bears Again in 107-84 Loss to UCLA

Jeff82
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Maybe. On the other hand, my understanding is that he wants to do a zone press, then dropping into a match-up zone a la Syracuse. Would that maximize the defensive abilities of the players we're able to recruit? I don't know, but that's my understanding of his goal, which is a big change from what we've done historically. I say give him time to put his system in.
Civil Bear
How long do you want to ignore this user?
OdontoBear66 said:

I wonder how we would shoot the 3 ball if left wide open when we don't shoot it well now. My guess is not as good as Welsh and Olesinski---somehow strange things happen to the greatness of players when they play Cal.


I wonder how the game might have changed had Welsh and Ole missed their first wide open attempts.
HoopDreams
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Can you or someone explain a matchup zone to me? I see it from time to time but don't understand it

Jeff82 said:

Maybe. On the other hand, my understanding is that he wants to do a zone press, then dropping into a match-up zone a la Syracuse. Would that maximize the defensive abilities of the players we're able to recruit? I don't know, but that's my understanding of his goal, which is a big change from what we've done historically. I say give him time to put his system in.
Jeff82
How long do you want to ignore this user?
HoopDreams said:

Can you or someone explain a matchup zone to me? I see it from time to time but don't understand it

Jeff82 said:

Maybe. On the other hand, my understanding is that he wants to do a zone press, then dropping into a match-up zone a la Syracuse. Would that maximize the defensive abilities of the players we're able to recruit? I don't know, but that's my understanding of his goal, which is a big change from what we've done historically. I say give him time to put his system in.

Here's one explanation. http://www.coachesclipboard.net/MatchUpZone.html Essentially, the wings will chase players into the corners, which is the big difference from a traditional zone. IMHO, it's predicated on being able to extend your defense at the top to harass passing by the offense.
TheSouseFamily
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Jeff82 said:

Maybe. On the other hand, my understanding is that he wants to do a zone press, then dropping into a match-up zone a la Syracuse. Would that maximize the defensive abilities of the players we're able to recruit? I don't know, but that's my understanding of his goal, which is a big change from what we've done historically. I say give him time to put his system in.


I wouldn't say it maximizes the the players we're trying to recruit it it definitely changes the types of players we want to recruit. We want tall, athletic and long guys who can disrupt passing lanes and prevent slashing. We don't really have that personnel really now though I suppose Lee and JHD fit that mold. There is, however, a potential recruiting drawback if you play exclusively or mainly zone since guys wanting to play in the nba want to learn man.

It's a little odd to me that it's pretty much our base defense and mixed in more. Most teams use zones tactically with certain matchups, situationally with things like foul issues or just to change things up and make the offense think. We seem to run it at all times (well, mostly) and against everyone. Especially with a young team, that just seems fraught with peril. And given that we're 328th in the country in 3 point shooting % allowed and 330th in points allowed per game, it doesn't seem to be working.

As MacLean said on Sat and as other coaches have pointed out, there's a lot more action that teams can run against man than with zone. With zone, we can just do a few things but against man, the options are endless. Or, if you're George Karl, you just do one thing. He always said he only had one zone offense. Put three guys out there that can make threes and make a few until the other team goes back to man. Funny but kinda true.
Jeff82
How long do you want to ignore this user?
I would say McNeill, Sueing and Dyson-Harris all fit that role. Davis would seem to be a match as well. I'm not saying that Jones is right in pursuing this approach, but he's the coach, and I'm willing to wait at least one more year to see if he has in fact pursued players that he can fit to his system and coach to a winning result. It seems to me that he's trying to install something to get more points in transition to make up for a lack of outside shooting, which is sort of the model from the Big East in its heyday in the 80s and 90s. Makes sense that Jones, who is indirectly in the Rollie Massimino coaching tree from having played for John Olive, and having worked at Villanova, would pursue this approach. It has worked well for the human hemorrhoid (Boeheim). Can it work here? Right now the evidence says no, but the sample size is small. I saw signs of improvement on the press Saturday. If that continues, maybe we'll have something to cheer about by the end of the conference season.
Page 2 of 2
×
Verify your student status
See Subscription Benefits
Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial.