There’s a sense of peace that comes with always being able to rely on something. For some, it’s the comfort of their parents. For others, it may be the car they’ve had since high school. For Cal fans, it’s probably knowing that their basketball team is going to lose.
The Cal men’s basketball team (8-22, 2-15) lost, 84-53, to Arizona State (20-9, 8-9) in one of its most embarrassing games of an already disastrous season Thursday night.
Scoring came in chunks for both sides in the first half, but ultimately, the Bears couldn’t match the Sun Devils’ ball movement and pace. Arizona State opened the game up, 6-1, but Cal retaliated soon thereafter, cutting the lead to 1 point. Despite trading points back and forth, the Bears failed to claim the lead, as a late run pushed Arizona State’s lead to 10 points, 39-29, at the half.
The start of the second half did not provide the comeback Cal was looking for. The Sun Devils quickly extended their lead to 21 points, creating a deficit so large that it did not look like the Bears had any hope.
As Arizona State gained control of the game, Cal began to fall apart offensively, an all-too-familiar story for the Cal faithful. The Bears only made a pair of free throws while the Sun Devils rattled off 13 points, accentuated by a handful of drives into the paint and kicks to the outside. Despite a few periods of energy for Cal, Arizona State’s lead only continued to balloon.
The game only got worse as it progressed. Struggling with turnovers, Cal trailed by as many as 33 points and completely broke down, only making two free throws in the final four minutes.
Freshman guard Justice Sueing had a slow start to the game, only making it onto the scoresheet with seven minutes left in the first half. Junior guard Don Coleman resumed his role as Cal’s leading scorer with 16 points, collecting three rebounds as well. Senior forward Marcus Lee left only a small contribution of six points, having fouled out with four minutes remaining.
Cal has just one game left in its season before the start of the Pac-12 Tournament, and it may be its most difficult — on Saturday, the Bears will face off against No. 19 Arizona (22-7, 12-4), the top team in the conference.
The first time Cal and Arizona met this season, the Wildcats breezed past Cal as the Bears suffered a 21-point loss. Despite a strong start from Cal, the team’s players were unable to match Arizona’s pace as the Wildcats took over Cal’s early lead and continued to pile on points in the second half.
The most notable thing about the Wildcats is their offensive prowess, found primarily from freshman Deandre Ayton and junior Allonzo Trier. Averaging 19.9 and 19.6 points per game, respectively, the two lead the Pac-12 in scoring. Ayton also manages to lead the conference in rebounding, averaging 11.2 rebounds per game, while Trier was recently reinstated after winning his appeal for testing positive for a banned substance.
Sophie Durham covers men’s basketball. Contact her at