GAME NOTES: Fresh off a stunning road win over No. 17 Oregon, the California Golden Bears will try to avoid a letdown when they visit the Oregon State Beavers in a Pac-12 Conference melee at Gill Coliseum.
California went into Matthew Knight Arena and dominated the Ducks en route to a 96-83 victory. The win was the 12th straight for the Golden Bears against Oregon, which also included a 46-43 upset of the then 23rd-ranked Ducks last season. Cal, which is 11-4 overall and has won three straight games, will be back at home against Washington next.
Oregon State also earned a surprising win on Thursday, although with less fanfare as it got past Stanford, 81-72, to stop a two-game skid. The Beavers are now owners of a 9-6 overall mark, including an impressive 7-1 record at home. Following this contest they will be off until next Sunday when they get their first shot at rival Oregon.
The Ducks are not the only team in the state of Oregon that California has regularly handled. The Golden Bears have won three straight and five of the last six meetings with the Beavers, while holding an 80-61 edge in the all- time series.
Jordan Mathews had a coming-out party of sorts for California on Thursday, as the freshman guard poured in a career-high 32 points to lead all five starters in double figures. The Golden Bears shot 52.5 percent from the floor as team, and limited Oregon to just 40.6 percent on its home floor.
Spreading the wealth has been a real strength for the Golden Bears, who feature five double-digit scorers. Justin Cobbs (14.8 ppg, 6.3 apg) is the go- to guy, but he is more than just a scorer, as he is tied for second in the Pac-12 in assists. Cobbs tallied 20 points and 11 assists in the win over Oregon. Richard Solomon (11.8 ppg, 10.4 rpg), David Kravish (11.7 ppg, 7.8 rpg) anchor the team from the inside, and Tyrone Wallace (11.5 ppg) helps Cobbs out in the backcourt. Jabari Bird (11.3 ppg) has missed the last three games with a sprained ankle and is expected to be out once again. His absence has opened up opportunities for Mathews (9 ppg).
Roberto Nelson turned in a business-like 21 points and Eric Moreland tallied 17 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks in Oregon State's win over Stanford. Nelson hit two of the Beavers' eight 3-pointers, and OSU held the Cardinal to just two made baskets from beyond the arc.
Nelson (21 ppg, 3.7 apg) is the closest there is to a lock for a 20-point game in the Pac-12. The 6-foot-4 guard leads the conference in scoring and has had at least 20 points in nine games. He has also shown more of a willingness to pass this season, averaging nearly 1.5 assists more per game than he did a year ago. Devon Collier (15.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg), Moreland (7.7 ppg, 8.7 rpg) and Angus Brandt (11.5 ppg) will contend with Kravish and Solomon in the frontcourt. However, Collier was limited to just four points in 18 minutes of action against Stanford.
Winning on the road is always a tough task and doing so against back-to-back quality opponents makes it that much harder. That is the situation the Golden Bears face. A regression from Mathews is to be expected, but the Golden Bears have plenty of firepower to leave Corvallis with their winning streak intact.
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