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WSU vs. Cal basketball final score: Cougs fade down stretch again, lose 67-54

The Cougars played close for most of the game again, but faded down the stretch for a third-straight conference game.

William Mancebo

The Washington State Cougars fell to 0-3 in Pac-12 play on Saturday with a 67-54 loss to the Cal Golden Bears at Haas Pavilion. WSU held a lead in the second half, as they did against UW and Stanford, but they simply could not finish.

The game was close most of the way, with Cal opening a two-possession lead late in the second half. The Cougs struggled to score all game long, despite what was likely their best offensive rebounding night of the year. Putting the ball in the basket was the problem, and that will continue to be a problem all year as the team is full of inconsistent shooters.

Mike Ladd played well again, grabbing nine offensive rebounds (12 total) to go along with 12 points. He didn't shoot all that well (5-15), but no one on this team does. WSU posted just a 37 effective field goal percentage.

I said in the pregame that WSU would have problems with the blocked shot on offense, and they did. The Cougars just don't take the ball hard to the rack, and it leads to a lot of blocks for the opposition. Wazzu generally fades away from the defender, instead of leaning into the body to cut off their ability to block the shot.

Brock Motum was invisible in the last 10 minutes. He finished with 16 points on just 5 of 14 from the floor, and had plenty of trouble with Cal's length in the frontcourt. DaVonte Lacy was held scoreless as he spent time on the bench with four fouls in the second half.

The Cougs will still be looking for their first league win when they host Utah in Pullman on Wednesday.