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Washington 62, Cal 47: Ugly First Half Dooms Bears

The Huskies easily won a game in which they shot 37% from the field and made only 2 three pointers. That might give you a sense of how much Cal struggled on Wednesday night.


I'm not going to spend lots of time or digital ink breaking down this game. The problems facing the Bears go well beyond lack of depth or big man recruiting. Effort, focus, intensity . . . all were lacking badly at various moments against Washington, particularly during a 16-0 UW run late in the first half that functionally ended the game as a competitive contest.

I'm told the Bears played reasonably well for the first 10 minutes or so. I wasn't able to see most of it thanks to Texas and West Virginia. When the game finally got on the air I was treated to poor rebounding, indifferent defense, chaotic offensive sets and a general sense of confusion.

The weird thing is that for as badly as the Bears played during major stretches of the game, it very easily could have been a close game. Cal left 10 points at the free throw line, and according to gametracker's play-by-play, they missed 8 layups, dunks or tip-ins. You can't expect Cal to make every free throw and it's not like all of those close shots were wide-open and uncontested, but Cal easily could have had 10-15 more points without doing any all that special . . . in a game they lost by 15 points.

I don't really want to spend time pointing fingers at individual players, because the defeat was certainly a team-wide effort. Everybody but Bak Bak and Jeff Powers had a turnover. The two players we more rely on to hit shots combined to go 7-27 from the field and 50% from the line. Only Allen Crabbe did much of anything on the glass. Nobody played consistently above-average defense, and if UW has a remotely decent shooting night, the final score goes from garden-variety bad to oh-my-lord-what-happened bad.

It's generally dangerous to make macro observations in the aftermath of a big win or a big loss. But I can't escape two potentially conclusions. Either we all vastly understated the impact of losing Jorge Gutierrez and Harper Kamp, or multiple players have regressed from last year. Or a combination of the two. I'll leave it to the comments to discuss both issues.

Wazzu is up next. All we can do is hope the next one is better than the last one.