Washington visits Cal in battle of winless Pac-12 teams

NCAA Basketball

One of the two remaining winless teams in the Pac-12 will finally get a conference victory Saturday.

The question is which team will get off the schneid when Washington visits California for an afternoon game in Berkeley.

It’s been a rough start to the season for both teams, especially in conference play.

Washington enters with a 1-8 record overall and 0-4 in Pac-12 play following a 91-75 defeat at Stanford on Thursday.

Despite the loss, there was at least half of a silver lining for the Huskies. After scoring a season-low 21 points in the first half, Washington scored a season-high 54 points in the second half, which is something the Huskies hope they can build on going forward.

“We are getting behind and that’s not good,” Washington coach Mike Hopkins said. “In the second half, I felt like we fought. We played with a courage, with a confidence and a fight in us — that was something I haven’t seen. I was proud of the guys.”

The biggest weakness for Washington has been scoring.

The Huskies are averaging 61.7 points and shooting only 38.3 percent as a team, including just 24.6 percent from 3-point range. Washington also has a minus-11.5 rebounding margin.

Senior guard Quade Green, at 15.4 points per game, is the only player averaging double figures.

California (5-7, 0-5) hasn’t been much better offensively, averaging 67.6 points on 44.8-percent shooting and 32.6 percent from 3-point range.

Leading scorer Matt Bradley (17.8 points per game) has missed three of the last five games with an ankle injury. After missing two games, Bradley tried to return at Oregon State on Jan. 2, but was able to play only 13 minutes and scored five points in a 73-64 loss. He missed Thursday’s 71-60 loss to Washington State.

California coach Mark Fox said he’s not sure when Bradley will return.

“It’s hard without Matt, no question,” Fox told Cal Sports Report. “Without him, we’re probably going to have to play a little bit more like we played last year and make the game ugly and low possessions and try to be great defensively.”

The Bears did get a slight boost against Washington State when third-leading scorer Grant Anticevich (10.1 ppg) returned to the lineup after missing the previous four games because of an appendectomy. Anticevich finished with nine points in 20 minutes of action against the Cougars.

–Field Level Media

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