It was deja vu all over again.
Two days after allowing Stanford to drain 9 out of 13 3-point attempts, Washington State gave up 8 of 12 behind the arc to California. That mark fueled a key Pac-10 victory for the Golden Bears, (18-6, 7-4 Pac-10) who defeated the Cougars (12-11, 4-7), 71-63 at Haas Pavilion.
Cal was led by a trio of sharpshooters - Patrick Christopher with 20, Jerome Randle with 20, and Theo Robertson with 17.
Washington State hung on for most of the game despite numerous scoring runs for the Bear offense. After jumping out to an early 16-5 lead, the Cougars surrendered 20 of the next 22 points to Cal. But the Cougs charged back themselves with a 15-5 run to close out the half. The Cougars led by three at the break thanks to a NBA-range three-pointer by Taylor Rochestie as time wound down.
After that, Cal did most of the damage with an 11-2 run to open the second half, and fought off two consecutive Klay Thompson three-pointers that later tied the game at 60. On the next possession, Patrick Christopher was fouled and made the first of his free throws. The second was missed but rebounded by Harper Kamp. The two Jerome Randle free throws that followed expanded the lead to three, and Cal never looked back. They earned the ensuing stop, and an easy bucket by Theo Robertson on the other end.
The Cougars lost despite shooting 56.3% for the game.
WSU has lost five of their last six contests.
Player of the Game: Rochestie. A valiant effort, and one that could have saved the season for WSU had the Cougs been able to make a few more plays down the stretch. Taylor finished with 19 points on 7 of 12 shooting, including 4 of 7 from distance. He also chipped in 5 boards and 6 assists.
Unsung hero: Nikola Koprivica. A lot of people may be scratching their head at the decision to insert Nikola in the starting lineup, but he is starting to prove his worth. He had 4 points on 2 of 3 shooting, five assists and zero turnovers. Despite a couple of slip-ups (literally) on the floor, Koprivica played decent defense on Patrick Christopher and moved well without the ball. We saw a glimpse of what he could be able to do on offense with a pretty drive to the basket for a lay-up.
Play of the game: I know, the Forrest tip-in was cool, but sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. My favorite was the Rochestie three at the end of the first half. It takes some serious cajones to take - and make - that shot.
It was over when... Theo Robertson made a jumper with :26 left to give the Golden Bears a 69-63 lead.
Stat of the night. WSU shot only one free throw in the entire game.