Hoops Preview - California

With the semifinals of the Pac-10 tournament now behind them, the Washington Huskies (23-9, 11-7) will play the California Golden Bears (23-9, 13-5) Saturday afternoon at 3:10 p.m. PST in the Pac-10 Tournament finals. The game will take place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The winner will guarantee themselves an automatic berth to the NCAA tournament.

In the previous meetings between the two schools, they both managed to defend their home courts and split the season series.

The first time they met was in Seattle on Jan. 16, where the Dawgs pulled out an 84-69 victory. The score even looks closer than it actually was as the Golden Bears were outmatched all game.

Leading the way for Washington was their senior captain Quincy Pondexter, who had 25 points on 7-of-15 shooting from the field and 11-of-11 shooting from the line. Also having a big game was the diminutive guard Isaiah Thomas. He finished with 20 points on 5-of-13 shooting from the floor, 8 of 10 shooting from the charity stripe and two steals.

As a team, the Huskies shot 40.5 percent from the field and were 83.3 percent from the line. They also pulled in 38 rebounds, dished-out 15 assists and had 14 turnovers.

On the other end of the court, California was led by the strong play of Patrick Christopher, who led all scorers with 28 points on 6-of-16 shooting from the floor and 14-of-18 shooting from the line. He also had eight rebounds and four steals to go with his scoring outburst.

Their star player, Jerome Randle, was shut down by the Huskies and finished with only five points on 2-of-9 shooting from the field. This was after going for a career-high 39 two nights earlier at Washington State. He also had eight turnovers and four personal fouls to complete his all-around poor effort.

California, as a team, shot 33.3 percent from the field and 64 percent from the free-throw line. They were also forced into 21 turnovers and had just 31 rebounds.

The next time the two teams met was on Feb. 11 when UW traveled down south to California and lost handily, 93-81.

Thomas kept the Huskies in the game with his 24 points on 7 of 16 shooting from the floor. He also picked up six assists in the game. Pondexter went on to finish the game with 18 points on 6 of 15 shooting and three steals.

Finally making his presence known in this one was Matthew Bryan-Amaning with 13 points on 6 of 9 shooting, six boards and two blocks.

Washington as a team shot 43 percent from the field and 25 percent from beyond the arc. They also had 26 rebounds and 10 turnovers.

On the other end, California was guided by the strong play of Randle, who finished with 33 points on 12 of 19 shooting from the field and 3 of 5 shooting from beyond the arc.

Fifth year senior forward Jamal Boykin also had a good game with 20 points on 6 of 8 shooting and 11 boards.

As a team, the Golden Bears shot 52 percent from the field and 38 percent from beyond the arc. They were also an amazing 25-27 from the charity stripe and had 35 rebounds and 13 turnovers. All five starters have at least 10 points.

The Golden Bears are currently riding a six game winning streak and are 2-1 in neutral court games, with their only loss coming to the Syracuse Orange.

On the season, Randle, who was also recently named the Pac-10 Player of the Year, has averaged 18.8 points a game on 46 percent shooting. He is also an amazing 93 percent from the free-throw line and 4.5 assists.

In total, the Golden Bears have three players besides Randle that average double-figures: Boykin, Patrick Christopher and Theo Robertson.

Cal averages 77.8 points a game as a team on 48 percent shooting from the field and 38 percent from beyond the arc. They also average 36.2 boards a game and 12.1 turnovers.

On the defensive end, they allow 68.1 points a game, 5.5 steals and 2.5 blocks.

Depending on the result of Saturday's game, the Huskies will make the NCAA Tournament or the NIT. If they win, their berth to the tournament would be assured.

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