GAME NOTES: In search of their third win in four games, the California Bears will face a tough Pac-12 Conference test against the Washington Huskies at Alaska Airlines Arena on Saturday afternoon.
On Wednesday, California edged out Washington State, 80-76, on the road in overtime. The win was the second in the last three games for the Golden Bears, with the other coming in stunning fashion against then top-ranked Arizona. They are now 18-7 overall, with a 7-4 mark against the rest of the league. Home games against UCLa and USC are next on the docket.
Washington also pulled out a narrow victory on Wednesday, topping Stanford, 64-60. The win ended a three-game losing streak for the Huskies, who have split their 12 games in conference play as part of a 14-11 overall ledger. They will visit Oregon and Oregon State in their next two outings.
Five players scored in double figures when Cal rolled to an 82-56 victory over Washington earlier this season. The Huskies had won three of the previous four meetings, but the Golden Bears' win this year pushed them ahead in the all- time series, 79-78.
California led by 10 points early in the second half, but let that advantage slip away as they went to overtime against Washington State. The Golden Bears finally closed things out with a 3-of-6 showing from the field in the extra session. They outscored Washington State, 34-12, in the paint in the game, which featured 11 ties and 17 lead changes.
Justin Cobbs (16.3 ppg, 6 apg) carried the Golden Bears to Wednesday's win, scoring 22 points, while handing out seven assists. Cobbs, who is second in the Pac-12 in assists, has scored in double figures in every conference game and has had at least six helpers in seven of those bouts. Cobbs has not had to do it alone however, with Tyrone Wallace (11.8 ppg) lending support in the backcourt, and David Kravish (11.8 ppg, 7.5 rpg) and Richard Solomon (11.5 ppg, 10.5 rpg) handling things down low. Solomon is the only player in the Pac-12 averaging a double-double for the season, and he had yet another one against Washington State (15 points, 11 rebounds) before fouling out.
The Huskies outscored the Cardinal, 21-9, from 3-point range and outshot them 45.7 percent to 40.4 percent overall. C.J. Wilcox paced the winning effort with 17 points, although on just 4-of-14 shooting.
Wilcox (19.2 ppg) is one of the best scorers in the Pac-12, ranking behind only Oregon State's Roberto Nelson (21.5 ppg) in the category. He is shooting career-bests both from the field (.460) and from 3-point range (.412), although he had only eight points in Washington's 91-65 loss to Colorado last Sunday. Wilcox is also joined in double figures by three other Huskies. Nigel Williams-Goss (13.4 ppg, 4 apg) is the next best performer, as well as a solid point guard, despite his freshman status. Also in the mix for the Huskies are Andrew Andrews (11.5 ppg) and Perris Blackwell (10.2 ppg, 6.7 rpg), who is the team's best rebounder.
Alaska Airlines Arena has proven to be a dangerous place for Washington's foes, as the Huskies are 12-2 on their home floor this season. The Golden Bears have the balance in their lineup to contend, but playing in enemy territory may be more than they can handle.
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