Jerome Randle shoots 8-11...from three! His 31 points paces the Bears as the excise the demons of the desert and end a 13-year losing streak at McKale. Theo Robertson added 4 threes and 24 points as the Bears rain 16 treys over the Wildcats defense, who, despite fouling out both of our bigs and basically having their way inside, just couldn't continue trading 2 for 3 all night. Wanna know how to break a good zone defense? Shoot lights-out from long range.
I turned this game on late in the first half, only to find the Bears down by 11. I nearly turned it off right then. I'm *very* glad I stuck with it. Sometimes, winning is as simple as being really good at shooting the basketball, and with all three of the Bears' shooters hitting from long range, Arizona was going to have a tough time tonight without creating turnovers. This is a very good shooting team, and you really have to a) limit the Bears' possessions/shots, or b) hope for a couple off-nights. The Wildcats not only didn't force enough turnovers, but their dominance inside wasn't enough to counter the Bears on the perimeter. Heck, Cal even tossed Nikola Knezevic out there for a very special cameo, and he responded by going 2-2 from beyond the arc.
A couple big stats:
• Despite the Wildcats' superior inside presense, the Bears were only out-rebounded by 4, and actually had more offensive rebounds (10-9) than Arizona.
• As I noted in the game thread, the Bears' free throw woes on the road came back, as Cal once again shot under 70% from the line from the charity stripe, including missing two front ends of one-and-ones in the final minutes (fortunately, Randle -- amazingly! -- got his own rebound on one of those). This game isn't nearly as close if the Bears can shoot like they normally do on free throws.
The biggest stat, though: 8 threes and 31 points from Jerome Randle. The Bears are now a definite lock for the NCAA tournament, and if Jerome keeps shooting like this, the Bears could be looking at a deep tourney run in March.