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Cal basketball positives from Washington week: Jordan Mathews is back!

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What were the biggest positives from Washington week? Which players really stood out for you?

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

boomtho: This would have been a much longer answer if we'd beaten WSU! Still, there were some positives that came out of Washington week. First, Jordan Matthews seems to have gotten his swagger back. He's probably destined to be a hot or cold player given his reliance on the 3PT shot (though, to be fair, he's showing some nice improvements in his off the bounce game, as well as some nice moves in transition to grab contact), but it's great to have him on an upswing. 
Another positive was Ty Wallace's aggressiveness. While he's converting his shots at a lower rate than early in the season, that's to be expected as the scouting report on him gets more solidified. Still, I like the fact he continued to attack, and he was rewarded with 10 FT's against WSU (many of his attempts against UW came at the end from intentional fouls).

My last positive is the positive contributions from Okoroh in both games. Behrens has gotten into early foul trouble, and Okoroh has responded to increased minutes pretty well. He gave 15 good minutes against WSU (including 2 blocks!) and 17 minutes against UW, including a nice power move to finish against a UW big. Nice to see him continue to expand his game and progress as the season goes on.

Nick Kranz (follow on Twitter): The player of the week for Cal is clearly Jordan Mathews, who stepped up to lead Cal's offense in both games. If you told me that he would score 55 total points over the weekend, I'd have assumed a relatively easy home sweep. As it is, his two game surge is a welcome sign for the rest of the season.

We have covered Cal's offensive woes extensively, but suffice to say that the Bears are lacking in players with the ability to score, either by creating for themselves or by working within the offense. Mathews is one of just a handful of players who CAN, and they needed him to step up and take on a larger role. Prior to this weekend, Mathews had averaged 9.4 shots/game. He attempted 16 shots against Washington and 14 against Washington State. It was his offensive contributions that spurred the comeback win over Washington, and kept Cal close enough that they almost had a chance to steal one against Wazzu.

Were some of the shots a bit forced? Yeah, probably. But he also hit some of those forced shots. Quite frankly, Mathews forcing a few shots isn't a bad proposition at the moment. Regardless, he's clearly Cal's 2nd best offensive option behind Tyrone Wallace, and he needs to keep getting 10-15 shots a night, even when teams are game-planning to stop him. If nothing else, learning how to get shots now will help him through the rest of his college career. There will probably be a point in the future when he's Cal's #1 offensive option, or at least close to it.

TwistNHook (follow on Twitter): Fundamentally, the biggest positives are also the biggest negatives.  Kravish Kravish Kravish Kravish Kravish.  He is, by far, our best inside presence.  With Bird injured, we need our inside guys to step up more than ever.  Even with Bird, we need Kravish to play well and without him, it is more imperative than ever.  Look at his numbers for UW:

## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
14 BEHRENS, Christian.. f  1-5    0-0    0-1    0  1  1   4   2  0  0  0  0  16
45 KRAVISH, David...... f 10-16   0-0    1-2    4  6 10   1  21  3  0  0  1  39

He played almost the entire game and had 21 points with 10 boards.  That is exactly what Cal needed out of him and he delivered.

Trace Travers (follow on Twitter): The contributions and the strides made by Jordan Mathews this week were the biggest reason for beating Washington and staying in it against WSU. At this point, he is the most consistent of our three-point shooters, and he finally got his stroke and more importantly, his confidence back. Having Jordan to take some of the tough shots means Ty doesn't have to do it alone.

Also, a much less heralded performance by Roger Moute a Bidias. Coach Martin has started to use him on the opponent's best player, and I would not be surprised to see him starting over Singer in the near future. His driving game has improved, and with his athleticism, we will see at least one tip in slam in the next week. He's still got a ways to go in improving, but he played excellent defense on Williams-Goss on Friday, which is a huge step for him