Washington State holds off late California surge for 68-64 win
Don’t look now but here come the Cougars.
Michael Flowers scored 21 points and Washington State used a 14-5 edge in free throws to help hold off California and win Saturday’s afternoon affair, 68-64. The win earned Wazzu its first Bay Area sweep since the 1993 season and marked the fifth consecutive win for the program.
“We were looking at the scoreboard too much probably, but we’ll take it. We’ll learn from that,” said head coach Kyle Smith after the game. “Let’s go back to when we were losing those games to Eastern Washington and New Mexico State, I think we’ve grown up a lot since then.”
After a 3 from Tyrell Roberts with 7:24 to play, the Cougars held a 12-point lead. But as Washington State’s shot went cold, Cal started chipping away.
The Cougars missed their final eight shots.
A 3-pointer from Cal’s Jalen Celestine brought the Golden Bears within two, 66-64, with 35 seconds to go. After an intentional foul by Cal, WSU’s Noah Williams went to the line with 25 seconds to play and missed the front end of a one-and-one. Cal would have a chance to tie or take the lead, but a jumper from Joel Brown was off and Flowers secured the rebound. He stepped to the line with five seconds left and sank both to seal the win.
The Cougars were out-rebounded 41-30 and out-shot 43% to 40%. The 3-ball and the free throw line were the equalizers, though. Washington State connected on 10 of its 21 triples, and took 17 shots from the charity stripe to Cal’s five.
Efe Abogidi finished with a 17-point, 11-rebound double-double. Roberts added 12, and forward Mouhamed Gueye had 10 points to go with five boards.
For Cal, Celestine scored 20 points on 7-for-11 shooting off the bench. Grant Anticevich came off the bench as well to put up 16 on 11 shots. Jordan Shepherd was the only Bears starter to reach double-figures scoring, though he took 18 shot attempts to get 10 points.
The Cougars (14-7, 7-3 Pac-12) will host No. 7 Arizona on Thursday at 6 p.m. PT. Cal (9-15, 2-11 Pac-12) will look to snap a 10-game losing streak when it travels to Corvallis to take on Oregon State on Wednesday at 8 p.m. PT.