The Treaty of Versailles, which subjected Germany to harsh reparations after its surrender to the Allied powers at the end of World War I, is regarded by some scholars as one of the most one-sided affairs in history. Cal men’s basketball contributed to another one of the most one-sided affairs in history as it suffered its worst loss of the season to the Washington Huskies — the team sitting at the bottom of the Pac-12 — by 35 points.
Washington men’s basketball entered Saturday on a nine-game losing streak in the midst of one of college basketball’s biggest collapses, but it was Cal who collapsed in Seattle after playing perhaps the worst 30 minutes of basketball in school history, losing to the Huskies 87-52.
The Bears started off on the right foot, earning seven quick free throws and sinking all of them. Junior guard Nahziah Carter kept the Huskies in the game by scoring all of their first 7 points, while both teams traded a series of quick jumpers. Sophomore guard Matt Bradley had eight of the blue and gold’s first 12 points early on and was sinking shots from beyond the arc with ease.
The game slowed down as Washington committed five turnovers in less than four minutes, but poor shooting from Cal allowed the Huskies to keep it close. No one could have known it yet, but the Bears’ incompetence on offense would become the dominating factor in a result that would be tied for their biggest loss of the year.
Despite leading 20-17 with less than nine minutes left in the first half, Cal ended the period with some of its worst basketball of the year. The blue and gold shot 1-13 from the field for a stretch that let the Huskies blow the Bears out of the water on a 26-4 run. Cal did not make a single field goal in the last 11:30 of the half.
When the teams headed to the locker room, the score was 43-26. The Bears had a lot to improve upon after shooting only 19% from the field in the first half. Bradley, despite his hot start, was shooting 2-7 and only had 11 points. On the other side, Washington’s Carter and freshman forward Jaden McDaniels were in double-digit scoring and junior forward Hameir Wright was raining threes on Cal, shooting 3-4 from beyond the arc in the first period.
The Huskies spent the entire second half running over the Bears as they stretched their lead from 17 to 35 points. This defeat tied Cal’s largest deficit this season, equalling its 35 point loss against then-No. 1 Duke back in November. This time, though, Cal was trounced by the worst team in the Pac-12 instead of a national title contender.
When the dust settled, Cal had shot 24% from the field, compared to Washington’s 52% shooting. This is the worst shooting percentage for the Bears in nearly three years, as they shot 23.5% in a game against Utah. The shooting discrepancy was even worse from deep as the blue and gold shot 2-13, or 15%, from three.
This performance was still better than in 2019. When Cal traveled to Washington last year, the team shot 6.7% from beyond the arc. This time around, Bradley made the Bears’ only threes of the game as Cal couldn’t make a three in the second half. The Huskies put on a shooting clinic, raining down three-pointers in Seattle at a 50% clip on 22 attempts.
With the loss, Cal drops to 5-9 in conference and now sits at only two and a half games ahead of Washington in the Pac-12. To stay out of last place, the Bears will need to win at least two of their remaining four games. Those four games consist of a homestand against Colorado and Utah and a road trip to Oregon and Oregon State, and two wins, of course, are not guaranteed. To escape from the conference’s basement, Cal will likely need to shoot above 24%.
Trilok Reddy covers men’s basketball. Contact him at
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Hameir Wright shot 3-5 in the first period. In fact, Hameir Wright shot 3-4 in the first period.