It was a tale of defense, both good and bad. Utah scored 18 points in 6 minutes of gametime, absolutely shredding Cal's man-to-man defense. Monty called a time out, switched to zone, and Utah struggled to score the rest of the way. During that early stretch the Utes shot 8-9 from the field, then shot about 33% until the end of regulation.
And then the game somehow got sent into overtime and the defense disappeared. Utah score 20 points in 5 minutes after scoring 27 points for the entire 2nd half. Granted 10 of those points game when Cal started fouling intentionally. But at the same time, Utah scored on every single possession in the extra period.
Remember how we all felt two weeks ago, when Cal crushed Utah and Colorado at home and the conference was there for the taking? That feels like ages ago. And now we're left with a very nervous wait until Selection Sunday.
When Cal was up 8 near the midway mark of the 2nd half I was sure the Bears would win. When Justin Cobbs hit a 3 to put Cal up by 4 with two minutes left I was sure the Bears would win. When Allen Crabbe drew a foul with 30 seconds left with a chance to put the Bears up 4 points, I was sure the Bears would win.
Mistakes were made, and Utah took full advantage. If you happened to see the Utes play Oregon last week, or USC yesterday, you would probably agree that Larry Krystkowiak has his team playing some pretty decent basketball. I think Cal played significantly better than they did against Stanford last Wednesday. But against a confident Utah team, it wasn't enough.
Arguably it should have been enough. Cal had to foul a 3 point shooter, then allow Utah to hit a game tying bomb. I use the word allow loosely here, because I'm inclined to give Jarred DuBois credit for hitting a final crazy shot after doing it all game long.
So far it seems like folks are blaming the defensive effort, and while I agree that overtime was pretty ugly, the offense has to share some blame. Cobbs and Crabbe were the only consistent contributors on offense, and even Crabbe didn't have a particularly efficient day, going just 6-18 from the floor and missing some looks he would typically bury. Utah did a good job of generally keeping Cal out of the paint. The bigs only got off 14 shots, and some of those were jumpers. Actually, now that I think about it, considering how much Cal was limited to jump shots the offense might've done better than you would expect.
Tyrone Wallace had a rough, rough game. I'm not going to break it down, because he's a freshman who plays hard, and I see no value in dwelling on it. He'll bounce back. Hopefully he gets the chance to do it this year.
Can you tell that I'm rambling? Cal lost to the 10th place team in the conference, and that could cost them dearly. And there's a clear sense of déjà vu. Remember that year when Cal lost to Stanford when they had a chance to win the Pac-12, then lost in the Pac-12 tournament and got sent to the play-in game? Me neither.