Singer on the eight-day layoff between Oregon State and the Cardinal: "It's good for us to get back and practice and work on things that we haven't worked on in a while. Usually, we're focusing on a specific team, so now, we're getting back to us, mostly. Also, focus on school a little bit. It's the second week of school, so I like this little break for us to get better, as a team, before we start preparing for Stanford."
Mullins on the layoff: "I agree with Sam. I think it gives us time to focus just on ourselves, instead of always preparing for the next team, so yeah, we're able to fine-tune the things we do."
Have you had a chance to look at Stanford (Mullins): "We have. We watched film on them today, quickly. I'm sure we'll do more scouting them tomorrow. But, they're pretty big inside, and they shoot it well, so I think we're just going to have to stick to our normal defensive tactics. I think we'll do alright with them, especially with King and Kam (Kingsley Okoroh and Kameron Rooks) inside. They'll be able to guard those big guys well."
Over the last seven games, Mullins is shooting 48.7% from three (19-for-39), averaging 5.6 three-pointers taken per game. Over the previous 11 gams, he'd averaged 3.8 shots from beyond the arc. Has that been a part of the game plan? "I don't think, we don't really talk about that. That's not the game plan. I think that's just kind of something that happens in the flow of the game."
Singer on how good it felt to beat a team (Oregon State) on the road by double digits, considering that road games have been tough (Cal went 4-7 on the road, 1-4 in neutral site games last season, and at this point in 2015-16, were 1-7 away from Haas Pavilion): "We know, going in to another team's home court, that it's going to be a tough game, no matter what. Even though [the Beavers were] 0-6, they're still in the Pac-12, still talented players. They had UCLA tied in the second half, USC won by six or seven when they played Oregon State, so to be able to control the whole second half and break it open and be up by 13, 14, it never really got close. I don't know if it ever really got to single digits after we kind of broke it open. It felt good. Defensively, I think we played really well in the second half. Just to get our fifth conference win, and our second road win, which was two more than we had at this point last year, is something that we're really happy about."
When you play Stanford, does that make the game more meaningful (Singer): "I think, for me -- Grant, this is going to be his first time experiencing it -- it's a special game. You feel the rivalry. There's an extra edge that you feel. There's an extra energy in the gym. It's always fun, and for us, for it to be our last home game against Stanford in our careers, it's going to be special. We want to go out there and get it."
Over the past six games, Singer has averaged 11.5 minutes per game, less than half his season average. Is that a function of flow of the game, or a different approach to minutes: "I don't know. That's coach's decision. As long as we win, when I don't play, it's fine, as long as we win. I don't think it's anything different. I think it should be back to a normal rotation."
Headed down the stretch, where do you guys want to improve (Mullins): "That's a good question. Right now, we're focusing a lot on defense and our defensive rotations, especially when it goes into the post. We've been working a lot on that, in practice. Then, just kind of fine-tuning our offensive plays and really being comfortable coming down in transition, and running something without having to call it. How we do it, it's basically the four man who, when h gets up top, he kind of decides what's going to happen, so it's having all the guys be comfortable with that."
Over the last six games, Cal has shot 73-for-199 (36.7%) from the field in the first half, and 74-for-164 (45.1%) in the second half. Is part of those first-half struggles the discomfort with running a play without having to call it? (Mullins): "I think it's a little bit because defenses are throwing different looks at us, that we're not used to. I think both Oregons kind of played this weird match-up zone at times, which threw us off. I think once we saw [it], we were able to adjust and handle it a bit better."
Is that why you pick things up in the second half (Mullins): "I think so."
Over the first 14 games of the season, Cal shot 40.2% in the first half (162-of-403), while shooting 48.9% (181-for-370) in the second. In Pac-12 play, the Bears are 98-for-258 (37.98%) in the first half, and 100-for-219 (45.7%) in the second half. The last six games in detail:
|UCLA||USC||Washington||Washington State||Oregon||Oregon State|
|First Half Shooting||9/30 (30%)||16/38 (42.1%)||14/29 (48.3%)||10/38 (26.3%)||12/26 (46.2%)||12/28 (42.9%)|
|Second Half Shooting||18/39 (46.2%)||13/23 (56.5%)||11/25 (44%)||10/23 (43/5%)||11/32 (34.4%)||11/22 (50%)|