STANFORD, Calif. -- California led by as many as 12 in the first half against Stanford on Friday, as the Cardinal started 1-for-10 from the field, and the Bears started 7-for-10. The first season series sweep by Cal in seven years, though, was not in the cards, and it's likely that a second straight NCAA Tournament berth for the Bears may have fallen out of the deck, as well.
Aside from the first eight minutes, during which Cal built that lead, the Bears were largely listless, as a 12-point lead turned into a 73-68 loss. It was the Bears' first loss to an unranked team since dropping a 60-57 decision to Seton Hall on Dec. 7.
"You have to give them credit for doing their job," said Bears head coach Cuonzo Martin. "They're working hard, but again, 20 turnovers to a team that doesn't press, guys are doing stuff uncharacteristic to what they normally do. You can't get consumed if you get a big lead. Stick to the script of what you do, and how we got to that point, and not try to do more than that. I thought that was a case, more than anything, in the first half."
Over the final 11:36 of the first half, the Bears turned the ball over eight times (of their 12 total in the first half) and committed eight fouls (of their 11 in the half) as Stanford climbed into the lead by halftime.
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1755712-cal-vs-stanford-re... "I don't think it was so much offense. Yeah, we shot 1-for-10, but once we started picking up defensively, that's when we started making a run," said Cardinal guard Dorian Pickens.
After halftime, Cal was stagnant against a Stanford zone, going just 5-of-16 in the first 13 minutes, and 3-of-9 from three, as the Cardinal went on a 20-5 run from 16:30 to 7:27.
"We got opportunities to flash," Martin said. "I just thought we were careless with the ball, even throwing it to Ivan [Rabb] sometimes, just grabbing at the ball. We felt like the opportunities to attack, we got them. Again, I don't want to be specific on where we were attacking. You know, you have to be able to get the ball inside. You have to be able to flash in there. Sometimes that has to do more with our lineups than actually attacking the zone."
The Bears were indeed careless, turning the ball over 20 times on the night, with Stanford scoring 18 points off of those turnovers. Cal turned the ball over on 35.3% of their possessions in the first half, and 28.2% on the game, while Stanford came in averaging a 20% forced turnover rate on defense.
"You can't have 20 turnovers, especially against a team that's not pressing you the whole night," said Martin. "Have to take care of the ball."
"The turnovers and the steals come from great activity," said Stanford head coach Jerod Haase, whose team came into the night second in the Pac-12 in steals. "I really believe that the turnovers and steals are a byproduct of energy."
Reid Travis was seemingly everywhere for the Cardinal, with 19 points and nine rebounds, going 9-for-13 at the line, as Stanford finished the evening 29-for-40 at the charity stripe. Cal, in contrast, went just 3-for-10.
"I didn't think we defended well, like we normally defend," Martin said. "I mean, the game's officiated the way it's officiated. I'll leave that at that, as nice as I can say it."
Travis came into the game ranking 101st in the nation in free throws attempted (142) and 184th in free throws made (93).
"Our guys did a good job paying attention to and executing that," Haase said of the 29-3 point advantage at the free-throw line.
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1755960-dour-martin-breaks... Not to be outdone was Pickens, who had shot 39.3% from beyond the arc over the four games since the Cardinal last faced Cal. Pickens went 3-for-7 from three en route to scoring a game-high 25 points, and hit 10 of 11 at the free throw line.
"Pickens got going in the first half, made some threes in transition," Martin said. "You can't leave a guy like that open from three. I don't care what his percentage says, and he made us pay for it."
The key inflection point was when Cal was without the services of Rabb for the final 8:57 of the first half, after his second foul sent him to the bench. During that stretch, Stanford went on a 23-12 run, and eclipsed its 1-for-10 start by hitting eight straight field goals.
All told before intermission, the Cardinal scored 11 of their 38 points off of turnovers, and although Rabb was not much of a factor, due to the double team, he did draw defenders to him and away from the perimeter, as Cal started 3-for-3 from beyond the arc. Then, Stanford went to zone.
"I think we're learning and growing wth the zone as the year goes on, but having said hat, it was very effective for us in this game," Haase said.
Instead of trying to keep Rabb on the floor and use the zone on defense to protect him, Cal head coach Cuonzo Martin used the zone without Rabb, instead keeping Kameron Rooks and Kingsley Okoroh in, both of whom had two fouls, like Rabb. Both would foul out, with Rooks exiting at 9:57 in the second half, and Okoroh with 1:01 left in the game.
"I think you go into the second half, I think Ivan's, you just, if you watch him, we have to do a better job of protecting him," said a sullen Martin. "You don't want him to get a third foul. You go into the second half with him. Without being specific about game planning, I feel best with him going into the second half with two fouls."
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1755931-moore-a-tentative-... Senior Jabari Bird kept the Bears in the game, going 8-for-17, including 7-for-12 from three for a team-high 23 points. Bird matched his career-high with nine rebounds.
It was back-to-back Bird triples with 17:18 to go in the second half, followed by a Rabb lay-up that gave Cal a brief one-point lead. An and-one make by Rabb gave the Bears a two-point margin, but a three by Pickens ended that comeback effort, as Stanford embarked on a 13-0 run.
"It was a big shot, but our defense was what picked it up down the stretch," Pickens said.
With under four minutes to go, Cal turned the ball over on back-to-back possessions, with Rabb coughing up a steal to Pickens (who hit hit a fallaway jumper), and Dontae Coleman -- who looked out of control with the ball in his hands all evening -- turning the ball over on the baseline.
Rabb had 16 points and 13 for the 14th double-double of the season, and the 26th of his career.