Huskies' hot-streak ends with blowout loss to Cal

Staff writerJanuary 15, 2014 

California guard Jeff Powers (21) shoots the ball in front of Washington's Perris Blackwell (2) during the Bears' 82-56 win over the Huskies on Wednesday in Berkeley, Calif.

KELLEY L COX — USA Today Sports

— California couldn’t have been impressed with Washington’s improved defense.

Or its offense. Or anything else the Huskies did during perhaps their most disheartening loss of the season.

UW has made considerable progress during the past few weeks, starting Pac-12 play with a 3-1 record while playing stout defense and well-executed offense. Those traits went missing — just like most of UW’s field-goal attempts — as Cal ripped the Huskies, 82-56, on Wednesday night before an announced crowd of 8,702 at Haas Pavilion.

“They thoroughly were the better team against us tonight. Hats off to them,” UW coach Lorenzo Romar said in a hallway outside the visiting locker room. “We couldn’t really do anything right. We were outrebounded. We didn’t shoot the ball well. We didn’t finish. They chewed us up when they had the basketball. They beat us pretty soundly tonight.”

This looked more like the disjointed Huskies team of November and December, though even then they could score. UW looked lost offensively for the first time in Pac-12 play, struggling its way to a 7-for-29 shooting performance in the first half, finishing with a 30.2 percent clip (19-for-63) from the field.

C.J. Wilcox, the Pac-12’s second-leading scorer, couldn’t get open for most of the first half, though he finished with a team-high 18 points on 7-for-15 shooting (2-for-7 on 3-pointers) in his first game since scoring a career-high 31 against Colorado on Sunday. His teammates forced shots, and when they missed, Cal usually cleaned the glass. The Bears won the rebounding battle, 44-33.

Cal’s size was a problem.

“I thought they had a lot of length all around the floor,” Wilcox said. “They altered a lot of shots, got in the passing lanes, deflections. We couldn’t really get in a flow in our offense. They were switching a lot of stuff. We haven’t really dealt with that this year much. So that’s an adjustment. But overall, they just outplayed us.”

Of course, the Golden Bears (13-4, 4-0 in Pac-12) had something to do with how poorly the Huskies played. Senior forward Richard Solomon, the Pac-12’s leading rebounder, was a matchup problem for UW (13 points, 12 rebounds).

Cal proved just as adept defensively, using its athleticism to close off passing lanes and contest almost every shot the Huskies attempted. “I thought tonight we allowed us not seeing the ball go in the basket enough to affect us on the defensive end,” Romar said. After UW (11-7, 3-2) opened the game with an 8-2 lead, Cal went on a 28-9 run to take a 30-17 halftime lead. Cal’s largest lead was 29 points in the second half.

Washington seeks a split of this trip with a visit to Stanford at 8 p.m. Saturday.

“We just have to accept what happened, move on and get a split, and we have to look at it that way,” Wilcox said. “We can’t dwell on it too much. “If our minds aren’t right, the same thing could happen (at Stanford).”

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