Theo Robertson said,"Fred is their glue. Just in terms of getting offensive rebounds, guarding the team's best player, and being a hustle and energy guy. He's the guy that gets things done outside of the box score."
On this night, Washington's line in the box score actually looked pretty impressive. Coach Ben Braun also praised Washington after the game: "Fred Washington did an outstanding job of getting into the paint. His penetration broke us down defensively and allowed them to get some easy put-backs, to get Hill some open looks."
The Bears didn't score for over four minutes opening the first half, and Stanford led 8-0 by the time Theo Robertson drove for a lay-up for Cal's first points. The Cardinal extended the lead to 20-4 with 12:40 left before the Bears began to show some life. Jerome Randle came off the bench to provide the spark, scoring 6 consecutive points. When Omar Wilkes nailed a three from the right corner to make it 24-20, the place was rocking.
The Bears couldn't handle Brook as he scored 15 first half points. Stanford shot 54% from the floor in the opening 20 minutes during which time Cal hit just 38% of theirs. The Cardinal out rebounded the Bears 21-14 even though they had only 3 offensive boards in the half.
|AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
Cal opened the second half by scoring the first 4 points to cut the lead to two. That was the closest the home team got. Lawrence Hill's put back extended the lead to four, and the Cardinal took control. When Anthony Goods stuck a jumper off the glass with 12 minutes remaining, it was 50-40 and Cal was in trouble.
Unable to score consistently on the inside, and with the perimeter game not clicking, the Bears had no answers. They got it under 10 once (63-54) on Randle's coast-to-coast drive and lay-up with six minutes left, but Lawrence Hill's three in response put an end to any remaining drama. Stanford coasted to the finish line, making 19 of 20 free throws in the second half. After scoring just 6 points in the first half, Hill had 18 after intermission and finished as the high scorer with 24 points.
In addition to Washington, the Bears had no good matchup for the Lopez twins. Ryan Anderson had a particularly tough night, and cited the twins as the main reason,"They can alter shots, they can score. They play great together."
Braun said,"Ryan had the ball point blank a few times. Ryan's generally good enough to come away with a foul or the basket. It's frustrating not to come away with either."
It was hard to find fault with Cal's effort, but they just don't have the pieces to compete with Stanford's size and skill. Coach Trent Johnson said,"With this team being as undermanned as they are, they played well."
The Bears continue to struggle defensively. Stanford shot 54% from the field for the game, the fifth straight team to shoot better than 50% against Cal. With no margin for error, that's not going to produce wins. The lack of depth contributes to Cal's defensive woes.
|AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
Said Braun,"When you have depth, you don't worry about fouls. We have to play zone to protect some guys, we have to play guys a few more minutes than they would normally play." The extended minutes lowers the players' energy level, and it manifests itself on the defensive end.
After the game, Robertson maintained his optimism. The Cal sophomore said,"We're still trying to play for the NCAA tournament. I can speak for myself and the rest of the players on this team, we're playing to win."
With the Washington road trip coming up, it's not going to get any easier, as the Bears face another huge front line in Seattle on Thursday night. In the first game at Haas, Cal frustrated the Huskies two big men, Spencer Hawes and Jon Brockman, and won in overtime.
The Bears will need to tighten things up defensively, and look for opportunities to get some easy baskets off their defense. Eric Vierneisel's return should help. The junior wing moved well enough Saturday, but will need to get his timing back.
- After a slow start, Ayinde Ubaka finished with 17 points, 7 assists, and
- Jerome Randle led Cal with 19 off the bench. Randle had a couple
of second half turnover, the result of trying to do too much.
- For the game, Stanford outrebounded the Bears 43-29. After getting
18 offensive rebounds at Maples, the Cardinal had just 9 offensive boards
in the rematch.
- Stanford blocked 6 shots, 5 of them by Robin Lopez.
- Both teams took care of the basketball. Cal had only 7 turnovers
and Stanford 9.
- Stanford made 22 of 24 from the line, well above their season average of 66%.
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