Cuonzo Martin still thinks Cal is an NCAA Tournament team, plus notes from the Bears' loss to Oregon

BERKELEY -- Cal head coach Cuonzo Martin breaks down the Bears' 68-65 loss to Oregon.

BERKELEY -- California head coach Cuonzo Martin still thinks his Bears are an NCAA Tournament team after giving up a 16-point lead to No. 6 Oregon in the second half.

"I thought it was a hard-fought game. Very emotional locker room. Tough one for us. They did a better job scoring the ball, attacking the rim in the second half. I thought we broke down, defensively, in quite a few areas in the second half. We blew our assignments on the ball screens, Boucher had open shots, I think they had two open threes in that left corner, so really just breakdowns on our part, giving those guys momentum. A few turnovers for us changed the game."

http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1757193-cal-can-t-finish-o...On Oregon's press: "I don't know. I think, like Charlie [Moore] turned the ball over, and I think Ivan might have. I don't know if that was really a factor. They just turned the heat up. We've got to get over and attack the rim. I don't know if that was the issue. I thought it was more our breakdown, defensively, in the half court, with those ball screens, missing shots. I thought that was probably a bigger issue."

On Cal's NCAA Tournament chances: "Not to be sarcastic, but I'm not part of that committee, and I think we're an NCAA Tournament team. We've still got work to do. I think I said to our guys, 'Take care of the games that are in front of us.' Obviously, this was a big game for us, and we came up short. Our focus is on the game on Friday."

The final Oregon possession: "We switched five. We had what we consider five perimeter guys out there, including Ivan [Rabb], so they run inside ball screen action, we switch that, allow them to catch the ball in front of us, and I thought [Stephen] Domingo [...] we wanted to try to deny [Dillon] Brooks the ball as much as possible. We felt like Dylan Ennis might take the shot, even though [Payton] Pritchard's the point guard. But, he made a big shot, made a tough shot, made a pull-up shot. It's a shot that he normally shoots. It's tough in a situation like that, but that's a shot he normally shoots."

In the last 7:50 of the game, just two field goals, how much of that was what Oregon was doing, and how much of that was not executing: "I think, really, when they press, you want to get over the top. If I'm not mistaken, I thought we shot a couple quick, off-balance. We want to really try to establish a post presence, and I thought when they went small, meaning perimeter guys -- I consider [Christopher] Boucher a perimeter guy, because he's shooting threes -- then it takes away from having Kam (Kameron Rooks) and King (Kingsley Okoroh) on the floor. They struggle with defending perimeter guys. Ivan had a tough time doing that, and they really struggle, so it was better for us, with their bigs, like [Jordan] Bell on the floor. Now, you can have Kam and King. I thought when Kam was out, and King out, I thought Ivan didn't have the presence that he normally has around the rim, to try to get the ball inside to him, whether they double him or not, to make plays and be assertive."

Cal's final offensive possession: "We didn't want to use a time out. We wanted to try to go with Ivan. Guys understood what we were trying to do. Wanted to try to get Ivan, Charlie come off a ball screen, and if he can't get Ivan, if he can't score it, hit Ivan. You have a guy raising, you play from there, and you go back inside to Ivan. The defender did a good job, used their length. The ball gets in different guys' hands, you've got to have the confidence to step up and attack the rim and make plays."

Notebook

  • Cal senior wing Jabari Bird scored 20 points to raise his career total to 1,158. Bird moves up one spot to 33rd in school scoring history. In second place is Michael Chavez (1,162 points from 1980-83).
  • Bird also tied his career high with nine rebounds, and started the night shooting 8-of-10 from the field, before finishing 8-of-13.
  • Bird connected on 4-of-7 3-pointers (hitting four of his first five) and now has 179 triples in his career, good for fifth in Cal history.
  • Rooks finished with 10 points (4-for-4 from the field), the third time this season he's hit double figures and the second time in his last three games (he also had 10 at Arizona, after a pre-game tribute to his late father, Sean Rooks).
  • Rabb turned the ball over three times, and is now averaging 3.0 turnovers per game over his last four games. Over his previous seven games, Rabb averaged just 1.29 turnovers per game.
  • Rabb earned his 15th double-double of the season with 12 rebounds and 10 points.
  • Guard Grant Mullins has made at least two three-pointers in each of his last 11 games. He finished 2-for-5 from long-range Wednesday night for 11 points, one of four Bears in double figures.
  • Mullins has scored in double figures in each of his last five games, the longest streak he's had since transferring from Columbia. During the last five games, he's averaging 14.0 points, and 2.0 assists.
  • Cal held Oregon to 16 points in the first half, the fewest for the Ducks in a half this year (previous 21 in the first half vs. Georgetown on Nov. 21). Oregon came in averaging 79.8 points per game on the season, and 81.0 in Pac-12 play. The halftime total was also the lowest total allowed by the Bears in a game this year (previous was 17 in the first half by Arizona State on Feb. 8).

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