Led by Jordan Matthews, who finished with 31 points, California went on a 20-9 run to start the second half and upset the No. 21-ranked Washington Huskies 81-75 at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, CA., Friday night in the Pac-12 opener for both schools. The Huskies (11-2), who opened the season 11-0, dropped their second in a row after largely dominating the first half.
Washington led by as many as eight points in the first half as center Robert Upshaw scored six points and swatted away four shots in the first eight minutes. At one point, California missed 10 consecutive shots. The Huskies carried a 37-32 lead into intermission, but California took over the rest of the way. During Cal’s 20-9 run, the Huskies shot just 27 percent.
After falling behind by six points, the Huskies stormed back to tie at 38. But with Matthews knocking down shots from deep (he made a career-high five 3-pointers), Cal extended its lead to five before Andrew Andrews hit two free throws to pull Washington within 61-59 with 4:40 to play.
That was a close as Washington came. In the final three minutes Cal ran away before the Huskies kept it interesting with a pair of 3-pointers.
Washington’s Quevyn Winters missed an open 3 with 13 seconds left that would have made it a one-possession game.
David Kravish scored 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Tyrone Wallace added 19 for Cal, which shot 42.6 percent and won despite being outrebounded 42-29.
The Huskies, who had won six consecutive conference openers under coach Lorenzo Romar before they unraveled in the second half, made only three 3-point shots, shooting 27.3 percent beyond the arc.
Nigel Williams-Goss led Washington with 19 points, eight rebounds and nine assists, and Upshaw scored 16 with eight rebounds and five blocks in his Pac-12 debut. Jernard Jerreau (12) and Andrew Andrews (10) also scored in double figures for Washington.
After shooting 57 percent in the first half, Washington finished at 45.2 percent, going major stretches in the final 20 minutes without a field goal.
Washington has lost its past three games against California.
The Huskies take on Stanford at 7 p.m. Sunday at Maples Pavilion in Palo Alto. They return to Hec Ed Jan. 10 to face Washington State.
How is this an “upset?” Cal was 10-3 (including a win over Syracuse in NYC) coming in to a home game against the UW. Like the Dawgs, Cal burnished their preseason record against minor conference opponents…the REAL season is now underway.
Defense, defense, defense. It’s been inconsistent the past few seasons and that seems to be rearing it’s ugly head again on this team. The players need to take pride in it as much as they do taking the three and throwing the alley-oop pass. If they can find that they’ll have a special season in store for them.