California (11-4, 2-0) at Oregon St. (9-6, 1-2) / Gill Coliseum / 5 PM / ESPNU / KEJO 1240 AM / KEX 1190 AM
Oregon State honors Gary Payton tonight, and California is the guest.
Payton, Oregon State's all-time leader in points, assists and steals, will be honored at the Beavers game for being enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. As part of the festivities, the first 2,000 fans to enter Gill Coliseum will receive a commemorative GP glove, courtesy of Oregon Community Credit Union, to honor the Hall of Famer.
The Bears upset #17 Oregon 96-83, handing the Ducks their second consecutive loss. It was also the 12th win in a row for California over Oregon.
Freshman guard Jordan Matthews, who came in averaging 7 points per game, exploded for easily his best game ever, hitting 10 of 14 shots from the field, and all 9 of his free throws, on his way to a game and career high 32 points.
All 5 starting Bears had great games though. Justin Cobbs had the only double double of the night, with 20 points and 11 assists, and Richard Soloman just missed one, with 16 points and 9 rebounds.
Forward David Kravish was close behind, with 12 points and 8 boards, and also 3 assists and 3 blocked shots, and Tyrone Wallace had 14 points, 5 assists and 4 steals.
California, however, has even less depth right now than injury plagued Stanford, the result of Jabari Bird and Ricky Kreklow both being out indefinitely with injuries. Oregon St.'s success could hinge on derailing just any one of the Bear's starters, even briefly.
The Beavers downed Stanford 81-72, behind a strong, 17 point, 15 rebound effort by Eric Moreland, the usual 21 point night that Roberto Nelson, Oregon St.'s leading scorer, routinely turns in, and a 16 point effort by freshman Hallice Cooke in his first collegiate start.
Oregon St. snapped a 4 game losing streak against Stanford, who has had the Beavers' number, winning 7 of the last 10 meetings, so the victory was important on the confidence side as well as in the standings.
The game also saw the Beavers cleanup their turnover problem that was a major factor in their losing both games last weekend, dropping down from an average of 16 down to 12.
Expect California to have a lot of zone defenses thrown at them, mostly because the Bears struggle massively against zones of any flavor, even though the Beavers went wire to wire in man defense against Stanford last night.
Last year, California swept the season against Oregon St., but both games could easily have gone either way. The Bears beat the visiting Beavers 71-68 on the last night of January, and the rematch 23 days later was even closer, when the Bears came up golden, snatching a 60-59 road win.
In Berkeley, the Beavers built 12 point leads in both halves, but the Bears retook the lead with a 20-7 run. Cobbs put California ahead for good with a 3 pointer, and Soloman sealed the win with a slam dunk.
Nelson led everyone, with 25 points, while soon to be NBA bound Allen Crabbe led the Bears, with 15. Persistence from beyond the 3 point arc paid off for California. Cobbs was 4 of 9, and Crabbe 3 of 11, but though the Bears made only 9 of 26, that piled up enough extra points to make the difference against the Beavers, who were 4 of 7 on 3 pointers.
It was senior day in Corvallis, and Joe Burton went out with a bang. Burton, who was Oregon St.'s only senior, led the Beavers, with 15 points, and he added 9 rebounds, including a game high 6 on the offensive boards, a game high 7 assists, and a game high 5 steals, plus a couple of diving saves.
A slow start, which saw the Bears jump out to a 22-8 lead, would be the Beavers ' undoing.
Nelson made 4 free throws down the stretch, but California, with an assist from inept officiating, clock management wise, was able to hole on to the 1 point win.
Cobbs led everyone, with 18 points, and Nelson was throttled down to only 10 points.
It''s frequently a close, wild affair when the Bears and Beavers hook up, and another nail-bitter like last year is likely. It would be fitting if Oregon St. could pull out the win in another such battle in honor of Payton, who went 7-0 against the Bears in his last 3 seasons, though Cal did win 3 of 4 against him when he was freshman.