Cal misfires in 9th straight defeat

Please keep reading, even if you’ve seen this before.

Cal was crushed on the glass and looked listless on defense in losing 82-64 to Utah on Saturday night at Haas Pavilion.

The Bears (5-15, 0-8 Pac-12), swathed with defensive problems and learning new offensive mistakes by the day, lost for the ninth straight time and are one loss away from tying the school’s worst-ever streak.

Cal lost 10 straight in 1962, when it played in Harmon Gym and in the Athletic Association of Western Universities. The Bears will defend against joining that team’s space in infamy Sunday, Feb. 3, when they host Stanford.

Until then, they’ll get some time away from each other. With the coaches scheduled to be on the road for recruiting Monday and Tuesday, the players will have individual workouts. Wednesday will be a day off. They’ll reconvene for practice Thursday in hopes of fixing a defense that was so bad that it bled into the offense.

“We’re all competitors,” Cal head coach Wyking Jones said. “We all have pride. This doesn’t feel good. We’ll hit the re-set button, come back together and figure it out.”

Utah (11-8, 5-2) was led by Sedrick Barefield, who scored 21 points and had five rebounds. Timmy Allen added 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Both Gach chipped in 18 points as the Utes shot 55.9 percent from the field.

Utah connected on 13 of its 31 3-point attempts, matching the most 3-pointers allowed by Cal this season (St. Mary’s hit 13 on Dec. 1).

Cal got 35 points from Justice Seeing (20) and Darius McNeill (15), but the rest of the team combined for just 29 in 129 minutes. The Bears not in jersey Nos. 10 and 1 shot 12-of-33 (36.4 percent), including point guard Paris Austin. The junior transfer from Boise State had two points on 1-of- 7 shooting and four turnovers to two assists.

Cal was outrebounded 42-25, but Jones said it wasn’t the team’s shoddy defense or lack of size that concerned him most about the loss, it was the offense. He said the Bears didn’t attack enough, evidenced by their total of 10 foul shots.

“When you can’t score, when you go through a drought, the energy and effort on defense takes a toll,” Jones said. “I saw fight and effort, but we couldn’t score.”

Cal, which hasn’t won a conference game since Feb. 3, 2018 against Oregon State, has never had a winless conference season. The Bears won one conference game in 1943, 1944, 1949 and 1955.

Having lost the nine games before its last Pac-12 victory, Cal has dropped 25 of its past 26 conference games.

“Going into the game, we thought we had a really good chance,” Sueing said. “… We thought that we could execute our stuff, but we struggled to make shots and Utah made theirs. We were missing, and they were making.

“We have to keep pushing forward. We have a big game against Stanford coming up. We have to get back into film and break some stuff down.”

Coach John Ricksen, who led Cal to an NCAA title in 1959, was honored at the game with the Pete Newell Career Achievement Award.

Rusty Simmons is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: rsimmons@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @rusty_sfchron

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/collegesports/article/Cal-misfires-in-9th-straight-defeat-13564874.php.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *