The California Golden Bears are looking for a bright spot. They have lost 6 of their last 10 games, and to make matters worse, freshman guard, Gary Franklin, who was a top-100 national recruit last year, informed the coaches he was transferring and leaving the team this past week.
The Bears came into Tucson Thursday night looking to right the ship and bring their conference record to 1-1. Cal was down by as much as ten points in the first half, but rallied back to take a one-point lead at the half. Even though they held the lead, Cal missed numerous point-blank layups and shots that should’ve been made.
Cal increased their lead to nine points within the first few minutes of the 2nd half, but they could not stop Arizona’s Derrick Williams, who pitched in 31 points and 12 rebounds. Cal just could not defend the sophomore forward and sent him to the free throw line 22 times. Williams kept the Wildcats in the game and helped them regain the lead late in the 2nd half.
A key play in the game came with about 33 seconds left. Cal was down three points, and freshman Allen Crabbe was going to the line for 3 free throws. Crabbe was the leading scorer for the Bears with 17 points and 7 rebounds. Crabbe made 2 of 3 free throws to cut the lead to 1. On the ensuing inbounds pass, Cal fouled Solomon Hill, who only made 1 of 2 free throws to extend Arizona’s lead to 73-71. Cal inbounded the ball to Jorge Gutierrez who dribbled up the court, and watched as his last second shot from just inside the half-court line bank off the backboard, but did not fall.
Arizona improved their overall record to 13-2 and Pac-10 record to 2-1. Cal is now standing at .500 at 7-7 overall, with a 0-2 start in Pac-10 play.
Cal is going to need to rebound quickly, as they will be facing Arizona State in Tempe on Saturday. Arizona State currently stands at 8-6 overall and 1-2 in Pac-10 play, after they lost to Stanford tonight 55-41. Cal can’t afford to dig any deeper of a hole with a loss on Saturday so they will need to come out and be ready to play. They have had troubles with low post defense the last 2 games. Stanford’s Dwight Powell scored 20 points and Arizona’s Derrick Williams had 31 points tonight. If they can find a way to contain the low post scorers for the Sun Devils, they should be able to come away with a much-needed win.
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Written by Mike Cid