UPDATE: I'm being told the video might not work in the US due to copyright issues. If anyone can find a workaround for this, let us know in the comments!
The California Golden Bears finished 3-1 on their Australian exhibition tour after a highly exciting final contest against their best competition yet. Cal dug themselves out of a big hole and had their chances to win in regulation, but couldn't overcome their foul trouble and a monstrous performance by A.J. Ogilvy, falling to the Illawarra Hawks of the National Basketball League (Australia's NBA) 110-99 in overtime. Cal committed 40 fouls, saw four of their starters foul out, and gave up 55 free throws to a big and professional Illawarra side, but still had their chances to win before the game ended.
Ogilvy could not be stopped in the post by Cal's centers, drawing an insane 15 fouls and shooting 25 free throws (making 17 of them). Ivan Rabb, Jaylen Brown, and Kingsley Okoroh all fouled out late in regulation trying to guard Ogilvy, and Tyrone Wallace joined them on the bench in overtime. After Wallace made what looked like could've been the game winner with 3 seconds left, Ogilvy blew by Kameron Rooks and had a clear lane to the basket. Ogilvy made both, the game went to overtime, and Illawarra took control from there against a super-small Cal team playing Stephen Domingo at center in the extra session.
Ogilvy finished with 35 points, 11 rebounds, and five blocks while taking only 13 shots and shooting 69% from the field. If I were Okoroh and Rooks, I'd be watching tape of this game non-stop for the next few weeks, because that's exactly the type of play they can expect from talented bigs in the Pac-12 like Poeltl, Hawkinson and Tarzcewski. Ogilvy is better than probably all of those guys at this point in their careers though, so it's not too alarming.
For awhile it didn't look like Cal would even come close in this game. Cal struggled out of the gates, falling behind 36-19 in the first quarter. For the second game in a row, the Bears gave up 80%-plus shooting in the first ten minutes and dug themselves a big hole by surrendering three after three. Brown picked up three fouls early in the game after scoring eight early points. Oscar Foreman and Kevin Lisch were 8 for 14 from three on the game, and combined for 40 points. Their success from three point range opened up space for Ogilvy to be as dominant as he was as he constantly exploited his mismatches against the centers.
But even with Brown out, Cal sped the game up and made a concerted 13-1 run behind Jabari Bird and Jordan Mathews (who combined for 12 points in that stretch) to cut the lead to 37-32 in five minutes. The free throw line became Illawarra's best friend from that point on though, as they held the Bears back the rest of the quarter and built their lead back up to 15, but Brandon Chauca finished the quarter with five straight points (including a circus AND-1) to make it an 11 point game at halftime.
Brown came SCORCHING out of the gates in the third, starting Cal on a personal 8-0 run with a crazy driving two, a long three, and a stepback two. More free throws kept Illawarra ahead, and then Rabb scored five in a row to cut the Hawks lead to six. Brown got fouled hard with a shove in the back by a Hawks player and both Bird and said Hawks player received unsportsmanlike fouls. Illawara held their lead at nine at the end of three, and by this time multiple Cal players were one foul away from disqualification.
The lead widened to 83-72 with eight minutes left in the fourth when Cal went to their potential closing lineup of Wallace-Mathews-Bird-Brown-Rabb, interspersed with some Domingo and Okoroh and a super small lineup featuring Brown at center. Cal went on an 12-0 run to take their first lead since the first quarter as Mathews and Bird led the way once again with the scoring punch (9 of the points). Ogilvy would give Illawarra the lead with three free throws, only to have Bird knock down a triple to give Cal an 87-86 lead with 3:25 left.
Wollongong responded with a fortuitous three that bounced in and soon led by three again (around the time Rabb fouled out), but Bird knocked down ANOTHER triple to tie things up. After 100 seconds of scoreless play that eventually fouled out Brown, Wallace would force a steal off of great Sam Singer defense. On the other end, Mathews drove to the basket as the shot clock expired to give Cal a two point lead.
After Ogilvy tied the game with a bucket at close range that looked like a clean block by Bird but was called goaltending, Cal ran the clock all the way down, leading to Wallace nailing the go-ahead jumper with three seconds left. Ogilvy then blew by Rooks to tie the game to send it to overtime.
Illawarra took control early in the overtime by nailing two threes in a row to go up seven. Shorthanded without Brown and Rabb, Cal scored only five points in overtime.
Here is the box score with full play-by-play. Some additional notes.
- Mathews finished with 24 points to lead Cal. Brown had 19 points and five rebounds to go along with two blocks. Bird had 17 points, six rebounds and three steals. Wallace had 14 points and six assists. Rabb had 11 points and 10 rebounds.
- Cal's performance at the three point line did improve: Mathews went 5 for 9, Bird 3 for 4, and Brown 2 for 3. The rest of the team was 0 for 8, with Domingo going 0 for 5 and scoring his only two points in overtime. Their three point defense was less stellar, giving up 12 of 28 from downtown and five straight threes early that put them in a 20-4 hole the spent the rest of the game digging out of.
- Cal's starting lineup remained Wallace-Bird-Brown-Rabb-Okoroh for the second game in a row. When Brown struggled with foul trouble, Okoroh and Rabb played the majority of the time to offset his loss and stay big.
- Players who tried and failed to defend Ogilvy: Okoroh and Rooks (had no chance), Brown (fouled out immediately), Domingo (nope), Mathews (no way, although I think he had a nice contest once). Rabb did pretty well in his opportunities, but didn't get the benefit of the doubt and fouled out trying to hold down Ogilvy with minutes left.
- Cal went to the free throw line 32 times and missed 13 shots. Most of this was Wallace, who returned to the dreaded "1 for 2" moniker that has defined his Cal career at the charity stripe. Sam Singer also shot 1 for 4 from the line, but everyone else (Rabb 3 for 4, Chauca 3 for 3, Brown 5 for 7, Mathews 3 for 4) was generally solid. Despite the absurd 55 free throws Illawarra ended up taking, Cal had their chances to win if they just made their own.
- Brown (7) and Wallace (10) combined to draw 17 Illawarra fouls on them combined.
- Turnovers reared their head in an ugly way as Illawarra employed some trapping schemes that puzzled the Bears in trying to cross halfcourt. Cal committed 17 turnovers to only 13 assists (Illawarra was 18 assists to 13 turnovers), with Wallace committing six and Brown three.
- Minutes breakdown: Mathews (35.5 minutes), Wallace (35), Bird (31), Rabb (27.5), Okoroh (24), Brown (23), Domingo (20.5), Singer (14.5), Rooks & Chauca (around 5.5), Moute (2.5).
That concludes Cal's exhibition tour of Australia. Our recaps of our victories over Victoria Select, Frankston Blues, and Centre of Excellence are available by clicking on the name of each team. And you can watch the game against Illawara above! GO BEARS!
What were your thoughts on the game? Let us know in the comments!