Decided to wait till Sunday night to wrap up the whole weekend. Washington and Cal remain atop the standings at 10-3 with three teams at 9-4. Lorenz Romar was right, if you have a bad weekend you can go from first to fourth. Remember the top four seeds get a first-round bye in the Pac-12 tourney, which is also important.
Don’t let the score fool you, this was relatively complete win. Cal as it often does, made some halftime adjustments and pulled away in the second half, leading by as much as 17 points. Here’s Jeff Faurado’s game story and here’s John Crumpacker’s game story.
From the LA Times — Here’s Chris Foster’s game story But it was more interesting what columnist Bill Plaschke wrote about Josh Smith, labeling him a disappointment.
From his column …
I tell him that television cameras had just caught him dropping a curse bomb three consecutive times during UCLA‘s 73-63 loss to California.
“Oh, no, really?” he says, looking as if he is going to lose it. “Oh man, my parents were watching! I’m going to call right now and apologize to them.”
As the most notable Bruins disappointment in this most disillusioning Bruins season, Joshua Smith says he is sorry for a lot more than that.
He’s sorry he hasn’t cared more about his weight. He’s sorry he hasn’t worked harder on his stamina. He’s sorry that basketball hasn’t been important enough to him to make it a priority. He knows now how his lifestyle can affect not just his future, but the future of a basketball team that this season has been crushed by his girth.
“My whole career, I’ve never been in great shape,” says the sophomore, shaking his head, looking down at his 6-foot-10, 300-plus-pound frame. “I can only imagine what would happen if I was.”
The Cougs kept it close for a while and looked like they might pull off the big road upset, but Oregon pulled away late.
Here’s a Lindsay Schnell’s game story from the Oregonian and Bob Clark’s game story from the Register Guard. Columnist George Schroeder wrote about the Ducks trio of Garrett Sim, Devoe Joseph and EJ Singler.
From his column …
Good news: Oregon doesn’t have a single clutch player — the Ducks have three.
A 78-69 win Saturday over Washington State was delivered by Joseph. And E.J. Singler. And also, by Garrett Sim. Together, the trio scored 20 of the final 24 points to pull away from the pesky Cougars.
Oregon needed every bit of their ability. And also, their attitude. And I like the Ducks’ chances, when it matters, when any of them has the ball.
Actually, I’m starting to like the Ducks’ chances, period. We shouldn’t be surprised if they keep winning as February rolls toward March.
Oregon isn’t the Pac-12’s most talented team, but it’s in the thick of a tight race for the conference championship. Joseph, Singler and Sim are the reasons why.
Sure, start with the statistics. Singler scored 23 points Saturday. Joseph and Sim had 16 each. They’re the Ducks’ leading scorers for the season, too.
But clutch isn’t a stat, even if it should be. It’s confidence plus capability. Either is not enough. You’re required to have both.
“It’s the guys that it doesn’t matter if they miss or not, they’re ready and they want to take the big shot,” Joseph said.
Here’s Doug Haller’s game story from the Arizona Republic.
Remember when some idiot wrote on Saturday that it wouldn’t be much of a game. Well, that guy (me) was wrong. The Utes played well, and Arizona did not. In the end, talent won out.
From Bruce Pascoe’s game story …
Arizona improved to 18-8 overall and 9-4 in the Pac-12, thanks to some clutch late-game play and overall performances by Kyle Fogg (17 points), Nick Johnson (18 points) and Brendon Lavender (4 of 5 three-point shooting).
But they also:
• Allowed Utah (5-20, 2-11) to shoot 50 percent from the field, including 9 of 18 three-pointers.
• Missed nine of their first 10 shots and hit only 33 percent from the field in the first half.
• Trailed by eight points at halftime, at home, to a team that had lost all five of its previous Pac-12 road games by an average of 17.6 points.
“We were a disaster for a significant portion of the game,” said UA coach Sean Miller, who also used the words “alarming,” “disappointing” and “pathetic” to describe the Wildcats’ effort and confidence.
In a game that I’m sure was a ratings bonanza, the Cardinal picked up a win.