Cal men's basketball ends losing streak with 76-67 win over Cougars

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JANUARY 30, 2015

After several more-than-disappointing games that contributed to a six-game losing streak, Cal men’s basketball player Tyrone Wallace decided enough was enough.

The junior guard, who was averaging 12.5 points per game during the Bears’ losing streak, put his team on his back with his game-high 26 points — including his 1,000th career point — and carried the team to just its second Pac-12 win this season, a 76-67 victory over Washington State (9-11, 3-5 Pac-12). Wallace was able to get inside and penetrate the Cougars’ defense, driving to the basket much more successfully than has been the case recently. In a kind of circular narrative, Cal (12-9, 2-6 Pac-12) also had its losing streak start against the Cougars, in a close 69-66 win for Washington State.

The Bears’ offense also saw much more production from its bench than it had been seeing recently — in Cal’s most recent game, a 70-53 loss to Arizona, only four Bears scored, none of whom came from the team’s bench. But against the Cougars, the Bears’ bench totaled 22 points. Freshman guard Brandon Chauca picked up 10 points and a team-high three assists, redshirt junior forward Christian Behrens nabbed six points and sophomore guard Sam Singer ended the game with four points on 2-of-4 shooting.

Cal also greatly benefited from a healthy-looking sophomore guard Jabari Bird in Thursday’s lineup at Friel Court. Bird missed 10 games during the regular season with a foot injury. Bird added an energy to this Cal lineup that had been greatly missed in the past several games, the guard not looking quite like his normal self. But his 12 points and his team-high eight rebounds helped give the Bears the spark they needed.

Even sophomore guard Jordan Mathews, who started off the game slowly, helped contribute to his team’s offensive output. Mathews finished the game with nine points, all of which came with less than four minutes to play. At the end of the game, Mathews — who was actually called for a technical for pushing less than a minute into the game — put the final nail in the Cougars’ coffin with a 3-pointer with less than 50 seconds left to put the Bears up by six.

In total, nine Cal players scored, a marked improvement from the pathetic scoring output the Bears had been producing lately.

Despite the fact that the Cougars put the first points on the board, Cal never let the game get too far away from them, like in several of the Bears’ recent games. The game never turned in Washington State’s favor by more than a few points, and the strong shooting of Wallace and company pushed the Bears forward.

Cal went on a 12-2 run that ended with about 12 minutes left in the game but gave the Bears a comfortable cushion before the Cougars looked like they might be able to sneak back into it. Still, however, clutch shooting by Cal made the game as a tally in the Bears’ win column.

The only real low point for Cal was senior forward David Kravish, who had just four points before fouling out with 9:53 left to play — his first time fouling out all season.

The Washington State pair of sophomore guard Josh Hawkinson and senior guard DaVonte Lacy was strong offensively, picking up 18 and 24 points, respectively, as well as 12 rebounds for Hawkinson. But the Cougars were mainly kept in the game by some bad play by the Bears. The Cougars scored 17 points off of turnovers, had 20 second-chance points and were largely kept a part of the game by free throws, going 23-26 from the charity stripe.

But when it came down to it, Washington State struggled when it meant the most, missing its last eight field goal attempts.

Contact Shannon Carroll at  or on Twitter


JANUARY 30, 2015

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