Basketball: Washington State scouting report

TIPOFF: 3 p.m. Saturday at Friel Court in Pullman, Wash. TV: None. Radio: 910-AM.

Off to its best start (overall and in Pac-12 play) since 2002-03, the Bears (16-4, 6-1 Pac-12) seek their third straight conference road win when they take on apparently dangerous Washington State (10-8, 2-4).

Cal survived two tricky travel legs sandwiched around a 69-66 win at Washington on Thursday night.

The Bears got the contributions they expect from Jorge Gutierrez, Allen Crabbe, Harper Kamp and Justin Cobbs, plus the game of his life from junior walk-on Robert Thurman, who had 16 points and seven rebounds.

Several challenges against the Cougars:

   — Get bench production to augment when the starters provide. Mike Montgomery used just seven players at UW, so they collected heavy mileage and will need support against WSU.

   — Cool off Faisal Aden. The senior guard scored a career-high 33 points against Stanford as the Cougars rallied from a double-digit hole in the second half. Sounds like a job for Gutierrez.

   — Neutralize forward Brock Motum. The 6-foot-10 Aussie is the Cougars’ top scorer and rebounder and had 19 points against Cal in WSU’s win at Pullman.

This is a game the Bears should win. You want to win the Pac-12 title, you have to beat a second-division opponent on their home floor.

Plus, a victory in this one sends the team back to Berkeley riding a season-high five-game win streak with home games looming against Stanford and the Arizona schools.

ABOUT THE COUGARS: WSU comes off an 81-69 upset of Stanford in which it outscored the Cardinal 42-20 over the final 14-plus minutes. Easily the Cougs’ best win of the season, and snapped a three-game losing streak . . . Motum has scored in double digits 16 times in 18 games and is one of the most improved players in the conference . . . Aden, the team’s sixth man, had a career-high 33 points vs. Stanford, including 13 for 13 from the FT line. He had attempted just 27 free throws in 14 previous games . . . WSU’s game Thursday was its first in Pullman since Dec. 18 vs. Western Oregon. For marketing/financial reasons, the school moved Pac-12 home games against the Oregon schools on Dec. 29-31 to Spokane, Wash., during winter break.

THE SERIES: Cal leads 73-46. The teams split last year, each winning at home. Allen Crabbe scored 30 for the Bears in an 88-81 overtime victory at Berkeley. Crabbe did not play in the rematch at Pullman, two days after sustaining a concussion against Washington.

MISCELLANY: Cal climbed to No. 27 in the RealTimeRPI ratings on Friday . . . Defense certainly has been the best yardstick for Cal’s success/failure. The Bears are allowing just 53.4 points in their 16 wins, 83.3 points in their four defeats . . . Cal has won four games in a row for the third time this season . . . The Bears still are shooting better than 40 percent from the 3-point arc, but over the past three games are just 10 for 35: 28.6 percent . . . Cal is 26 for 29 from the foul line the past two games.

Cal (16-4, 6-1 Pac-12)

Starters Ht Yr Pts Rebs
SF Allen Crabbe 6-6 So. 15.8 6.0
PF Harper Kamp 6-8 Sr. 9.3 5.0
PF David Kravish 6-9 Fr. 5.7 5.4
SG Jorge Gutierrez 6-3 Sr. 14.1 5.0
PG Justin Cobbs 6-2 So. 13.0 4.8*
Key reserves
G Brandon Smith 5-11 Jr. 4.0 3.0*
G Emerson Murray 6-2 So. 2.1 0.8
C Robert Thurman 6-10 Jr. 3.3 1.6


Washington State (10-8, 2-4 Pac-12)

Starters Ht Yr Pts Rebs
PF Brock Motum 6-10 Jr. 15.4 6.1
PF Charlie Enquist 6-10 Sr. 5.3 4.8
SG Marcus Capers 6-4 Sr. 5.3 4.1
SG DaVonte Lacy 6-3 Fr. 9.7 2.0
PG Reggie Moore 6-1 Jr. 9.4 5.4*
Key reserves
G Faisal Aden 6-4 Sr. 14.5 3.2
F D.J. Shelton 6-10 So. 5.0 2.9
F Abe Lodwick 6-7 Sr. 3.4 3.4


Jeff Faraudo

  • Neil

    Cal definitely can’t expect to coast against any team on the road this year. Hopefully the team will be adequately rested and come out with another solid performance. Go Bears!

  • Rollonubears

    Wish it was on tv

  • Uh Huh!

    “The Game Of His Life”, up till now.

  • jim crow

    Apparently it will be streamed, starting at 3 PM PST, on firstrowtv. Check it out!

  • Concordbear

    I think our bench is going to be ready and will give us a lift today.
    Huge game, get the road sweep Bears!

  • Eric

    UW win was huge; a sweep on the road would be even better. We need to get to 22 wins to give us a fair shot at the tournament without having to worry about the Pac-12 tournament, and a win here would put the Bears on track.

  • Jan K Oski

    Eric – Doesn’t the PAC-12 champion for best regular season record gain an automatic bid? I know that’s uncertain, and 22 wins would be sweet. I’m just saying…

  • The Wisdom Cow

    no, Pac 12 tourney gets the bid. Reg season is just #1 seed for tourney

  • rollonubears

    seeing as the tourney is ALWAYS in LA, the odds of us winning it are pretty much zilch. we need to get to 22 wins and win at least one more in the tournament. The fix is in for UCLA to win the tourney and get the automatic bid with only 19 wins on the season.

  • rob bear

    But the regular season champion does get to claim to be the PAC 12 champion, no? Cal claimed the championship 2 years ago, albeit they lost to U of W in the PAC 10 Tournament final.

  • Rollonubears

    Yeah. There’s the conference champ and the tourney champ. Only tourney champ gets an auto bid. Conference champ has never NOT been invited tho. Even though the league sucks, we will get a bid. 3 teams will go, at least.