One team that went winless in its first 12 games duels another that has yet to win a conference tilt in four tries when Cal hosts rival Stanford in a Pac-12 game Friday at Berkeley, Calif.
The Golden Bears (2-13, 1-3) have rebounded after they were the last Division I team to win a game on Dec. 21 with a victory over UT Arlington. They have now won two of three, including an 80-76 victory at home over Colorado on Saturday.
Colorado was coming off a 73-70 triumph at Stanford two nights earlier.
The loss to Colorado was Stanford’s third straight to open Pac-12 play, a run that was extended to four Saturday when the Cardinal (5-9, 0-4) also fell at home to Utah, 71-66.
Cal has gotten a boost in recent efforts from Hartford transfer DeJuan Clayton, who missed the first 13 games with a hamstring injury. He contributed 10 points and three assists to the win over Colorado.
Cal freshman Grant Newell believes his 13-point, 12-rebound performance against Colorado was an indication that his game, as well as the team’s play in general, is starting to come together.
“I feel like I’m getting the hang of it a lot more,” Newell said. “Getting a lot more comfortable adjusting to how strong some of the players are and not being sped up at times. Just being able to see the floor and play a lot smarter.”
Stanford squandered a 25-point night from Spencer Jones in its loss to Colorado, then watched as Jones misfired on a 3-pointer late in the Utah game.
The Cardinal’s downfall in each loss was poor shooting from beyond the arc. They went 6 of 18 against Colorado, then 9 of 28 against Utah.
“I thought many, many, many of the looks that we had were clean looks with good shooters,” Stanford coach Jerod Haase said after the loss to Utah. “We did want to attack the paint. I thought we settled maybe a touch too much. But it’s hard to tell really good shooters not to shoot open shots.”
Cal and Stanford have split their last four meetings, with the home team taking all four. The Golden Bears won 53-39 last February after the Cardinal had taken the first head-to-head 57-50 four weeks earlier.
–Field Level Media