NEVADA 77 CALIFORNIA 71What a frustrating game. If you had told us that Cal would hold Nick Fazekas to only 12 points, we'd have the beer on ice before tipoff. As it was, Cal lost the game with a horrific stretch in the 1st half in which its offense consisted of reckless 1 on 3 drives to the basket and low-percentage jumpers.
And then, it was as if Ben flipped a switch. Hardin established good post position, the Bears set very solid screens, and players moved much more quickly without the ball. A 20-6 stretch featured some of DeVon Hardin's best minutes of the year, and inspired play by freshman PG Jerome Randle.
And then the circuit breaker flipped. Nevada came out of a timeout in zone, and the Bears looked like they had never seen one - no cutters to the middle, just passes around the perimeter at 24 feet and a low-percentage three. Cal switched to zone as well, and Nevada cut it to ribbons with an easy two. It's not just experience, either - the Pack's point guard is a true sophomore. Cal simply forgets what it's doing on offense. Once Nevada started rolling with less than three remaining, the Bears stopped moving without the ball and Ayinde Ubaka and Randle had several terrible series of bad shots and turnovers. Game over, opportunity missed.
We've never been in the Braun-bashing camp, but it would be nice to see the juniors and seniors on this team run a consistent offense for forty minutes. Someone - Ben? Ubaka? Robertson? - needs to establish control of this team after bad possessions and remind them to move, screen and work for high-percentage shots.