Two teams coming off impressive efforts, one in a win and one in a loss, meet Wednesday night when Oregon and California duel in a Pac-12 Conference game in Berkeley, Calif.
As has been their pattern in recent conference play, the Ducks (10-8, 4-3 Pac-12) rebounded from a poor outing with an other-extreme type of performance when they rolled past then-No. 9 Arizona 87-68 at home on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Cal (3-15, 2-5) didn’t get the result it wanted because of poor free-throw shooting down the stretch, but still was far more satisfied with Saturday’s 81-78 overtime loss at Washington than it was with its 66-51 flop at Washington State three nights earlier.
A streaky series history between the longtime rivals could be swinging back in Cal’s favor after a 78-64 victory at Oregon in the most recent meeting last February.
The Ducks had taken the previous nine games from the Golden Bears, who themselves had a 12-game winning streak over Oregon from 2009 to 2014.
Oregon coach Dana Altman cited “pride” as the difference between last Thursday’s 90-73 home shellacking at the hands of Arizona State and the 19-point stunner two days later, but senior Jermaine Couisnard could easily have identified as well.
The South Carolina transfer responded to his first start as a Duck with 27 points, one less than he’d totaled in his previous three Pac-12 games.
“Just a different ball club,” Altman said. “I’m disappointed in our maturity and the fact we can’t do that every game. I talked to them about: ‘Who are we? What do we want to be?’ The guys responded. They showed their competitiveness and played with tremendous energy.”
The Golden Bears did as well after seeing their season-best, two-game winning streak go up in flames at Washington State. But three straight missed foul shots after building a late six-point advantage led to overtime at Washington, and Cal fell short after that.
“Really disappointing loss,” Cal coach Mark Fox said. “We had every opportunity to win the game in regulation, and just didn’t finish the plays, didn’t make free throws. When you have those opportunities, you have to seize them.”
Playing again without leading scorer Devin Askew, out with an undisclosed injury, the Golden Bears got a season-high 21 points from freshman Grant Newell in the defeat.
–Field Level Media