Cal men’s basketball suffers loss to Colorado, 68-64

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Kevin Chan/File

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Well, that didn’t last long.

After snapping a nine-game losing streak last weekend, it seemed as if the Bears were determined to change their routine. But even as they hit desperate 3-pointers to stay in the game, the Cal men’s basketball team (8-17, 2-10) couldn’t pull off a win against Colorado (14-10, 6-6), and the Bears lost, 68-64.

Freshman McKinley Wright led the Buffaloes with 17 points, most of which came from free throws, as he knocked down 11 of 14.

Cal freshman Justice Sueing was also out of character throughout the game, making his first field goal with less than a minute remaining in the match. Sueing finished with 6 points, a conference low, and two rebounds, a season low.

Senior Kingsley Okoroh and freshman Darius McNeill were the point leaders for the Bears, each with 12, but senior Marcus Lee paved the way for Cal with 12 rebounds, nearing his season high of 15.

The Bears opened the match as if someone had lit a fire under them. Playing quick and confidently, Cal managed to hold the lead for 16 minutes in the first half, not giving the Buffaloes enough time on the ball to catch up until the last few minutes.

While Colorado switched from a zone defense to a man-to-man and back again in an attempt to trip up the Bears, all it ended up with three turnovers in the first five minutes.

Despite Cal’s long lead, the first half was a disarray of sloppy play. Turnovers and fouls accumulated quickly on both sides, most exemplified by Cal’s sophomore Roman Davis, who recorded three fouls in only one minute in the first half.

Both teams struggled offensively, forgoing the rhythm of the game and forcing the ball to the basket.

The Buffaloes shot 9 of 21 from the field in the first half, while the Bears were even worse with 9 of 28. Only in the last few minutes did the Buffaloes show up to play, taking the lead for a few moments until Cal tied it up for halftime, 28-28.

Colorado picked it up offensively in the second half, going on a 10-0 run in the opening minutes of the half and slowly establishing its lead.

Even as the Buffaloes gained control of the game, the scrappy style of play continued for both sides. Not a single player on the floor hit double figures until late in the second half, an embarrassing statistic for any team.

With Cal was down in the waning minutes of the ballgame, McNeill hit two 3-pointers in the last 20 seconds to keep the Bears in the game, but his efforts were ultimately futile.

The game saw 44 fouls from both sides, and the Buffaloes finished with 19 turnovers, compared to Cal’s 13. Colorado senior George King was not his usual self, only grabbing five rebounds and hitting his first free throw of the night with less than a minute left in the game.

In a season of losses, what’s one more? Even if the Bears can pull off wins in all of their remaining six games, they would still finish with losing records. While the season isn’t over yet, a gloomy future like this may send Cal into another downward spiral.

Sophie Durham covers men’s basketball. Contact her at [email protected].