Arizona State hopes to continue its recent dominance over California when the Pacific-12 Conference schools meet in a hastily scheduled game Sunday afternoon in Berkeley, Calif.
The Sun Devils (5-7, 1-1 Pac-12) were supposed to spend New Year’s in Los Angeles, but had games against Southern Cal and UCLA postponed because of COVID pauses in the Trojans’ and Bruins’ programs.
When Stanford, which was slated to host Cal (8-5, 1-1) on Sunday, likewise had to take the week off due to COVID issues, the Pac-12 grabbed the two healthy clubs and rerouted them to Berkeley to salvage one game out of the mess.
The Pac-12 season already has been a roller coaster for Arizona State, which rebounded from an embarrassing 51-29 home loss at Washington State with a shocking 69-67 win at Oregon last month.
The Sun Devils have since won two of three, but saw a three-game winning streak come to an end in their most recent contest, a 66-65 home nonconference loss to San Francisco last Sunday.
Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley pointed to failure at the free-throw line, where his team went just 5-for-11 and was outscored 8-5, as the momentum-killer.
“We got to close the game out,” he said. “Got to make free throws late in the game to put a team away. Didn’t do it. Opened the door and the rest is history.”
History says the Sun Devils will have an advantage on the road at Cal, where they have won each of the last four seasons.
The Golden Bears would like to believe this time will be different. They are 8-1 at home so far this season, including a 73-61 victory over Oregon State in conference play.
They’ve won eight straight at home and four in a row overall.
Cal hasn’t played since a 73-53 home triumph over Pacific on Dec. 22. Grant Anticevich had a career-high 25 points, including seven 3-pointers, in the win, which had his teammates asking for more.
“Grant’s capable of doing this,” point guard Joel Brown said, “and I’m looking forward to (him) doing it again sometime soon.”
–Field Level Media