At the under 12:00 timeout of the 2nd half of Cal’s road game at the Huntsman Center, Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak started going deep into his bench, secure in the knowledge that his 22 point lead would not be threatened. (Spoiler alert: it was not.) Wyking Jones responded in kind, getting rare minutes for Deschon Winston, Grant Anticevich, Cole Welle, and Austin McCullough. At that point, the game was effectively over and the teams were just playing it out. So let’s talk about what happened to that point.
- Cal had committed 15 turnovers on 44 possessions, a 34% rate. Utah is not good at forcing turnovers. They normally force turnovers at a 17% rate.
- Utah had gotten 17 points from those 15 turnovers.
- Meanwhile, Utah had committed just 7 turnovers, while displaying sublime offensive execution, recording 20 assists on 22 made baskets. Most Utah baskets came on crisp interior passing for open layups at the rim, or kick outs for open threes.
- No Cal player was in double digits at that point -- Justice Sueing and Darius McNeill were closest with 8 points each, both on 3-8 shooting. The team was shooting a collective 35% -- not taking advantages of the possessions when they managed to keep the ball.
- Meanwhile, Utah had three players with double figure scoring, and as a team they were shooting 60%.
Cal started abysmally and continued abysmally and at the end of the day put up their worst effort of the conference season. The bench did not fare any better against Utah’s bench, and in the end the final score was indicative of the basketball displayed by both teams. Utah 77 - Cal 43.
This year we have tried, as best we can, to point out areas where we think growth is occurring and where we think there is reason for optimism for the future. If you’re taking the time to read this, I don’t want to b.s. you. I did not see anything positive to take from this game. Cal played poorly up and down the lineup in every phase of the game.
Nor, on a Saturday night, do I want to waste your time and mine going through a litany of all the things Utah did well (although that list would be long and impressive) or breaking down all the things Cal did poorly (also a long list, but less impressive). Life is too short and we’ve all got better things to do.
Growth is not linear. Maybe we’ll see a better performance next game. That would be nice, since we play Stanford. But right now, Cal is mired in the worst conference season many of us have ever seen, and tonight they played like it.
Take this game out and burn it.