Jan 18, 2014; Berkeley, CA, USA; Washington State Cougars forward D.J. Shelton (23) controls the rebound against the California Golden Bears during the first half at Haas Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Washington State (8-10, 1-5 Pac-12) played Cal (14-4, 5-0 Pac-12) tough for the first 20-minutes on Saturday afternoon. The Cougs left both their defense and offense in the locker room at intermission to become another Bear victim by game end.
FINAL: Cal 76 – WSU 55
It looked as if this contest might get away from Coach Ken Bone and his ball club early on. The Bears got off to a 6-0 start before Ike Iroegbu knocked down a 3-pointer for the Cougs first bucket at the 16:39 mark.
Once WSU saw a ball go through the hoop, they battled toe-to-toe with Cal.
The Cougs fought back to lead 18-10 midway through the first half before Cal staged a 14-0 run to regain momentum. Switching to zone defense was all Cal needed to effectively shut down the Cougar offense and spark a surge which lit up their fans.
From that point the score seesawed with neither club able to assert themselves.
WSU led the Bears 33-30 after Que Johnson deftly made a layup with 1:25 left before intermission. That proved to be the last time the Cougs threatened.
Washington State turned up their aggression as witnessed by getting to the free throw line for 22 attempts. They converted 18 from the charity stripe.
Unfortunately for WSU, they faced a Cal team that is beginning to gel at just the right time. The Bears have now won seven of their last eight games, doing so with balance on offense and hard-nosed play at the defensive end of the court.
After some inspired offense in the opening 20-minutes, Washington State was stone cold shooting in the second half. The Bears used a monster 20-4 run emerging from their locker room after the break to take control of the game.
“They came out and punched us in the mouth,” was the assessment of Ken Bone. “…we never got (back) up.”
Lost in the one-sided final score was a nice game by D.J. Shelton who turned in another double-double performance with a season high 17-points and 11-rebounds.
Washington State returns home tonight and with host Oregon State and Oregon next week.
“I think the character of the guys and the way they work, we’ll go back home and regroup,” said Bone during his post-game interview. The lone conference win this season for WSU is on Friel Court in Beasley Coliseum. Looking forward to the Oregon schools coming to Pullman the WSU head man knows one thing. “We’ll give it our best shot. That’s for sure.”
WASHINGTON STATE NOTES
- Que Johnson had 18 points and led the Cougars in scoring for the sixth time this season and the third-straight game
- Jordan Railey made the first Pac-12 field goal of his career and finished with a personal-Pac-12-best 4 points…his 5 rebounds were also a Pac-12 high.
** In the event you didn’t get to see the WSU/Cal game, here are some photos capturing game action at Haas Pavilion in Berkley, CA