Following back-to-back sour losses to No. 6 Wichita State and VCU the Cal men’s basketball (2-4) team’s Wednesday afternoon match-up with Chaminade (3-2) was meant to serve as a litmus test for where the team stood. Chaminade, a Division II school, has historically succumbed to the iron boot of Division I programs, but the Silverswords flipped the script, leaving the Bears with more questions than answers in a shocking 96-72 loss.
To say Chaminade’s win over Cal was an upset would be a severe understatement. The Silverswords have been a respectable Division II program, posting a combined record of 111-97 since the 2010-11 season, but the talent discrepancy has been very well apparent in the school’s 8-92 all-time record at the Maui Invitational since the tournament’s debut in 1984. Cal’s loss to Chaminade, which will send the team back to Berkeley winless, doesn’t bode well for the type of season it will have, to say the least.
“For me, in all the years that I’ve been coaching, I’ve never been so embarrassed in my life from the lack of effort from our guys,” said Cal head coach Wyking Jones. “So, for me, it’s about going back to the drawing board, myself and my staff, and figuring out what changes we need to make because there definitely need to be some changes.”
The Bears’ defense has been sliced and diced by deadly three-point shooting all season and their matinee with the Silverswords was no exception. Headlining a Chaminade offense which shot 56% from the three-point line was senior guard Dantley Walker. With the exception of a mid-range jumper in the first half, Walker’s buckets came exclusively from beyond the arc as the senior converted seven of ten threes en route to 23 points.
This is the second time this season an individual player made seven three-pointers against Cal, the first being Wofford guard Fletcher Magee. Furthermore, in the Bears’ past five games, one opposing player has drained at least four three-pointers.
Overshadowed by the gut punch of a loss was another pair of marvelous performances by the freshman one-two punch of Justice Sueing and Darius McNeill who both once again set career-highs with 23 and 18 points, respectively. After scoring only eight combined points in his first two games, McNeill has now posted double figures in the past four games. Following these performances, McNeill and Sueing are averaging a combined 23.1 points per game on the season.
The Bears trailed 40-30 heading into the break, but began to slowly creep back into the ballgame in the second half, trimming the lead to three only three minutes into the latter half. The Silverswords’ junior guard Grant Dressler would nail a three-pointer which would kick off a 13-0 run and Chaminade would continue to roll from there, effectively having the game in hand by the ten-minute mark of the second half.
Cal will head back to Haas Pavilion for a three-game homestand beginning with a Tuesday night duel with Cal State Northridge (1-4).