Both Matt Bradley and Kuany Kuany were absent for Cal in the team’s contest with Colorado, and it showed. The Buffaloes took full advantage of a shorthanded Bears squad, trampling them in an 89-60 victory.
This was a three-point barrage for Colorado, as the team posted season-highs in both makes (12) and efficiency (57%) from downtown. The Buffaloes’ 55% from the field was also a season-high, as they got whatever they wanted from the Bears’ nonexistent defense.
In an effort to avoid turnovers and get higher quality looks, Cal played at an extremely slow pace. The Bears routinely used all or most of the shot clock on every possession. In contrast, Colorado was running and gunning, trying to score as quickly as possible.
Through 10 1/2 minutes, slow and steady was winning the race, as the Bears were up seven. Cal took a quick 18-11 lead after going on a 10-0 run, with Makale Foreman contributing eight of those points. The Buffaloes did not let the game get away from them, though, as they answered a pair of Foreman threes with two triples of their own, cutting the lead to one.
After being down 18-11, Colorado went on a 23-5 run to take an 11-point lead into halftime. Buffalo guard Jabari Walker was the catalyst for this run. Walker made three triples and a dunk on his way to 17 first-half points on only eight shots.
The Bears were down mostly due to some absurdly hot shooting by the Buffaloes, who made six of their 10 outside shots. However, Cal did do an excellent job keeping Colorado off the free-throw line. The Buffaloes only attempted two shots at the charity stripe in the first half, which shows promise for the blue and gold’s defensive discipline going forward.
There were only two total free throw attempts in the first half between the two teams, but it was a different story in the second half — mostly as a result of Andre Kelly’s aggressive offensive play. Kelly took five free throws on the way to eight points in the opening five minutes of the half.
Kelly received no offensive help, as the rest of Cal combined for only eight points through the first eight minutes of second-half action. The Bears’ scoring troubles were made even more problematic by the fact that the Buffaloes’ hot shooting continued with no end in sight. Colorado made four of its first five threes in the second half.
Walker was the story of the first half, but D’Shawn Schwartz took over in the second. He made four of his six shots in the period, including two triples, for a quick 11 points. With just more than eight minutes remaining, Schwartz and Walker combined for 39 points. The entire Cal team had scored only 46 to that point.
Realistically, the Bears were not likely to win this game, but to lose by almost 30 and allow 55 second-half points is unacceptable. This was a new low for Cal in a very up-and-down season, so they can only go up from here.
Tom Aizenberg covers men’s basketball. Contact him at [email protected]