No. 25 Washington suffers second loss to unranked team in eight days
BERKELEY, Calif. -- Jerome Randle was content to keep feeding his California teammates the ball against Washington (No. 25 ESPN/USA Today, No. 22 AP). When the Huskies started to sag off him defensively, the point guard figured it was time to start shooting.
Randle scored 19 of his 21 points in the second half and the Golden Bears rallied to beat Washington for the second time this season, 86-71 on Thursday night, the Huskies' second loss to an unranked team in eight days.
"I just wanted to go out and get everybody else involved," Randle said. "I feel like I can score on anybody but I want my teammates to be happy. If they're happy, that's just going to open up more for me because they're scoring."
The plan worked perfectly for Cal, which snapped a two-game losing streak and won for just the second time in six games.
Unlike their triple-overtime win over the Huskies on Jan. 10, the Golden Bears (17-6, 6-4 Pac-10 Conference) didn't have to sweat this one out. After falling behind by nine points early in the second half, Cal went on a 19-6 run and never looked back, building a 19-point lead en route to handing Washington its second-worst loss of the season.
"They were a little bit frustrated offensively and it carried over to their defense," Bears coach Mike Montgomery said. "The things that they were doing in the first half and taking away from us, they weren't quite as good with in the second half. Jerome got some confidence coming off some screens and he started making some shots, which is what he's done all year for us."
The Huskies, who lost to Arizona 106-97 on Jan. 29 before rebounding to beat No. 14 Arizona State on Saturday, made just four baskets over the final 17 minutes and scored 11 of its final 13 points from the free throw line.
As a result, Washington dropped a full game behind idle UCLA in the Pac-10 standings. The Huskies lost for just the third time in their last 17 games, two of the defeats coming against the Bears.
"We weren't getting stops, we weren't paying attention to our defensive assignments ... and they capitalized on it," said Quincy Pondexter, who matched his season-high with 21 points for the stumbling Huskies (16-6, 7-3). "They're really scrappy. They came out and played harder than us."
Theo Robertson had 21 points for Cal, while Jordan Wilkes added 14 points and eight rebounds.
The Bears hung close in the first half then stormed back behind Wilkes early in the second before Randle took over. Randle, who was held to two points on 1-of-4 shooting in the first half, scored eight straight points, including a 15-foot jumper to give the Bears a 55-51 lead midway through the second half.
"Cal just got into a rhythm," Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said. "I didn't think we were in sync the entire time. [The Bears] are an absolute machine, their entire team."
After Washington pulled within four with 9 minutes left, Robertson scored on consecutive trips down the court to cap a 9-1 run and extend the lead to 71-59.
Freshman Isaiah Thomas made an open jumper that pulled Washington within 71-62, but that was as close as the Huskies would get.
2022-23 Pac-12 Conference Standings