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Washington State defeated Cal 71-60, giving the Bears their third straight loss. Despite the expected return of Grant Anticevich, Matt Bradley’s absence proved too costly. Tonight has become a reality for the bears; You can only go as far as the Pac-12’s third leading scorer can get. In their third straight loss, Cal Bradley missed badly.
Both teams went into the game hungry and on fire, scoring 15 points in less than three minutes, with both teams shooting over 60%. This shared hot phase ended quickly, as only three shots were fired in the next four minutes. The first period was back and forth as both the bears and cougars went on the offensive and fought at the same time.
Senior Grant Anticevich made his long-awaited return action and had an immediate impact by having his first possession of the ball scored a three-pointer. Andre Kelly also demonstrated his ability to score by firing consecutive shots to end Cal’s field goal drought and bring it to four with just over half the game time remaining.
After an increase of up to six in Halfway through, the Bears’ lead quickly dwindled to two after a jump from Isaac Bonton and a dunk from Efe Abogidi. This was just the start of the Cougars’ 15-1 run, which turned a six-point deficit into a seven-point lead.
Cal wasn’t going to miss this game anytime soon, as Joel Brown did and Ryan Betley completed a combined 7-0 run to end the game in less than a minute in the half. The Bears went into the second round 31-28, despite shooting only 35% from the field and 27% from three.
Cal’s luck was short-lived, however, when the WSU came out scorching hot from the half-time break . Abogidi made the Cougars’ top two three threes during that period at seven, and from that point on, Cal couldn’t get any closer to closing the gap. Washington State, led by Bonton, made a 14-4 run to effectively end the game.
Bonton and Abogidi did everything they could to score 28 of the Cougars’ 51 points in the first 30 minutes of the game. The Bears weren’t ready to give up when they ran their own 8-2 run to reduce the WSU’s lead to nine. Cal’s two great men, Anticevich and Lars Thiemann, scored six points in the second and seven in the second half to take the WSU lead.
Despite his best efforts, Cal really tried to score points against the defense of the Washington state rally without the top scorer. They missed each of their first six three pointers in the second half, relying mostly on free throws. On the lighter side for the bears, they were relatively flawless as they only gave up seven sales compared to 15 in Washington state. But Cal’s terrible shooting made the sales battle irrelevant as they shot off the field with the worst 34.5% of a season.
Meanwhile, not only did the Cougars play elite defense, they shot well too, making 44% of theirs Field goals and 39% of their threesomes.
After losing three times in a row for the second time in a row this season, Cal aims to score his first win in 2021 against the University of Washington on Saturday. It’s safe to say that beating the huskies (1-9) is a must for the bears.
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