Nothing monumental transpired in the world of Pac-10 basketball over the weekend, except for Cal and Arizona State continuing to assert themselves at the top of the conference. USC is now largely in the mix after a win against UCLA, and Washington and Arizona are still reasonably in the mix despite suffering setbacks the week. Oregon State is now three and a half games out of first place after a big win against Arizona.
Here are the results from Saturday and Sunday's action:
Cal Overtakes Washington State After Slow Start (Cal 86, WSU 70)
Cal's two game winning streak and outright lead in the Pac-10 conference looked to be in jeopardy on Saturday night in Berkeley, when Washington State took an early ten point lead. Washington State would even hold a nine point lead at the half, but Cal came charging back in the early part of the second half to finally take the lead with 10:39 left. The game would remain close for the next several minutes, with Cal eventually taking a 71-70 lead with 4:05 left. The spectacular part about this game was that California would score the final fifteen points of the game over that stretch of four minutes, making a close game look like a blowout in a matter of minutes. WSU head coach Ken Bone was chalked up for a technical foul during that stretch, and the California Golden Blogs help show us how things got away from WSU so quickly:
On the offensive end Patrick Christopher immediately announced Cal's comeback by drawing a quick foul on a drive and then scoring 7 straight points by himself on the way to 19 points. The game would be a back and forth affair until the most sudden implosion of a tight game you'll see. Check out this play-by-play:
3:11 - Koprivica misses layup, rebound Boykin
Casto fouls Boykin, Boykin makes both FTs
2:55 - WSU turnover
2:50 - Christopher good layup
2:45 - Thompson misses 3 pointer, rebound Gutierrez.
2:43 - Foul on Thames, technical foul on Bone.
Cal makes 3 of 4 FTs
And there you have it. Jerome Randle scored 24 and Patrick Christopher had 19. Klay Thompson dropped 28 for Washington State.
Arizona State Too Much for Struggling Ducks (ASU 61, UO 51)
It was another game, another loss for the Oregon Ducks, who continue to struggle as many fans continue to call for the release of Ernie Kent. After getting into a quick 6-0 hole, the Ducks went on a run and ended up leading the game for the rest of the first half, until Arizona State came back to tie the game up just before halftime. Although they trailed much of the first half, leading in the second half is more important, and that's just what ASU did. They went on a 12-0 run at one point in the half, and ended up crusing to a 10 point victory that those who watched say "wasn't as close as the score indicated". This from Addicted to Quack:
I really thought the effort was there tonight for the Ducks. Funny thing is, when you show effort the way that Oregon did, the fundamentals, or in Oregon's case, the lack of fundamentals really starts to stick out
OSU/UA, UW/Stanford/ and UCLA/USC after the break.
--Jake | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Beavers Get First Season Sweep of Arizona in 27 Years (OSU 63, UA 55)
At least the topsy-turvy Beavers are doing one thing consistently: defeating Arizona. The Beavers picked up the season sweep over the Wildcats with an eight point win on Saturday. That makes it three wins for Craig Robinson over Arizona in four games over the past two years-- that's impressive. What's equally impressive is that the Beavers didn't buckle when Arizona went on a 12-2 run late in the second half to tie the game. The Beavers relied on their basketball insticnts to combat crowd noise and nerves, and it payed off. Read my game recap, with quotes from Seth Tarver and Coach Robinson, if you haven't already.
Huskies Take Care of Cardinal (UW 78, Stanford 61)
The Huskies got a big monkey off their back Saturday at Maples Pavilion, as they won their first Pac-10 road game since February 9, 2009. Despite being one of the top teams in the conference throughout this season, the Huskies were 0-6 on the road and 6-0 at home leading into Saturday's game. But Washington was able to build a large lead in the first half that eventually evaporated somewhat, then pushed ahead to seal a big win. It was a three point game with eight and a half minutes left, but UW quickly widened that gap. Isaiah Thomas finished with 20 points, and Quincy Pondexter added 18. For Stanford, Landry Fields and Jeremy Green each scored 17.
UCLA Implosion Continues as USC Takes Rivalry Sweep
USC showed yet again that they are becoming the dominant program in the Los Angeles area, defeating UCLA twice in the same season for the first time in six years. Led by 23 points from Dwight Lewis, USC moves to 7-5 in Pac-10 play and sole possession of third place. They're just a game and a half back of California and half a game back of Arizona State-- two teams they've already beaten. From an outsiders perspective, this one seemed fairly close the whole way through, but the guys over at Bruins Nation aren't satisfied at all:
Tonight's game was close in the box score but it really wasn't. The story was nothing different. Our point guards were atrocious as Malcolm Lee and Jerime Anderson combined for 2 assists and 8 turnovers. We actually had a lead with mins left in the first half when Howland let Anderson basically turn over all of the momentum. Similarly when the Bruins were making a run in the second half, he once again inexplicably went to Anderson with a game on the line. Despite keeping it close, we never had a realistic shot in this game because as usually we looked soft and mentally weak with no desire or will to win the game.
So there you have it. A look at the trends for this week:
- On the rise: Cal, Arizona State, USC. Cal and Arizona State each won both of their games this week and and within a game of each other at the top of the standings. USC is a game and a half back of Cal after their win against UCLA.
- Treading water: Washington, Arizona, Oregon State, Stanford. These four teams split their series' this week.
- On the decline: UCLA, Washington State, Oregon. These teams didn't notch a win this week.