Washington State will look to bounce back from its first loss of the season when the Cougars visit Pac-12 rival California on Thursday night in Berkeley.
The Cougars (8-1, 1-1 in Pac-12) lost for the first time this season on Jan. 2, an 86-82 home defeat to Arizona in double-overtime. Washington State got 25 points from guard Isaac Bonton in defeat, while it played without four players due to COVID-19 protocol.
Washington State, which had won nine games in a row dating back to last season, had played all nine of its games this season at home in Pullman. This trip to the Golden State will be the Cougars’ first away game after having one postponed at Colorado in December.
“It was just a tough one,” Bonton told the Spokane (Wash.) Spokesman-Review about the loss to Arizona. “It’s tough because we didn’t control what we could control. … Things we can control and we’ve got to take care of that because I don’t feel like there’s moral victories for us. We were good enough to put ourselves in a position to win and we just didn’t close.”
The Cougars have lost three straight games to the Bears and have dropped three of the last four games they’ve played at Cal.
The Bears (5-6, 0-4), however, are in last place in the Pac-12 after losing consecutive games to the Oregon schools last weekend, at then-No. 21 Oregon on Thursday and at Oregon State on Saturday.
Matt Bradley leads Cal at 17.8 points per game, but he managed only five in 13 minutes of action against the Beavers because he was helped off the court with an ankle injury late in the first half.
“It is pretty significant I believe, I don’t think we’ll have Matt for some time,” Cal coach Mark Fox told Bear Insider.
The Bears are also missing Grant Anticevich, who’s still recovering from having an appendectomy last month. Anticevich was averaging 10.3 points per game before he left the lineup.
“The challenge for us now is learning to play without (Bradley) and Grant both, our two leading scorers,” Fox said. “When they are not on the floor, your stretch four who played 30 minutes a game is not there and your leading scorer is not there. You have to reinvent the lineups, the things you are trying to run to manufacture shots. You don’t have as much shooting at the four spot. It is almost a reinvention.”
–Field Level Media
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