The Washington State Cougars again struggled mightily on offense and the result was a disappointing 66-57 loss to the California Golden Bears, who hadn’t won a road Pac-12 game all season.
The Cougs (14-13 overall and 5-9 in the Pac-12) played for the second consecutive game without their second-leading scorer, Isaac Bonton, who injured his hip at the end of last week’s overtime loss to the UCLA Bruins. It showed: WSU scored just 0.88 points per possession behind one of their worst shooting nights of the season — just 17-of-57 overall and 5-of-23 from 3-point range.
The Golden Bears led from wire to wire, extending the lead to double digits within the first eight minutes. At that point, trailing 15-4, it was clear that it was going to be very difficult for WSU to keep up, even against Cal; without Bonton, and with CJ Elleby struggling mightily, there just was nobody else to pick up the slack.
The lead reached 17 points with just over five minutes to play in the first half, but the Cougs were able to cut the lead to just 12 with a little 7-2 spurt heading into the break as Cal went into a long scoring drought in the final five minutes.
Throughout the second half, the Cougs would put a little bit of pressure on Cal, making it seem as if a significant run to get back into the game was on the horizon. That was largely due to the play of Tony Miller, who led the team with 18 points off the bench.
But the run that would truly threaten Cal never game, as WSU never got any closer than six points down the stretch.
Miller added two rebounds, two steals and a block to his stat line, while Elleby scored just 13 points on 4-of-18 shooting. He did grab 10 rebounds, however.
The Cougars will next be in action on Sunday against Stanford at 5 p.m. It is not known whether Bonton can play; the Cougs definitely could use him.