Wild­cats go in­side to take Bears apart

San Francisco Chronicle - - COLLEGE BASKETBALL - By Rusty Sim­mons Rusty Sim­mons is a San Fran­cisco Chron­i­cle staff writer. Email: rsim­[email protected]­i­cle.com Twit­ter: @Rusty_SFChron

Ari­zona had two days to prep for Cal.

About 15 min­utes into Satur­day’s game, the game plan fi­nally took hold. The Wild­cats fig­ured out that they could score in the paint any time they wanted and pounded the Bears 87-65 at Haas Pavil­ion.

“We have to im­prove our sense of ur­gency on the de­fen­sive end. It’s a ma­jor, ma­jor prob­lem for us right now,” Cal head coach Wyk­ing Jones said. “We’re an ath­letic team. We’re a quick team. We’re un­der­sized, so we shouldn’t be get­ting taken off the bounce the way we’re get­ting taken off the bounce.”

Ari­zona (13-4, 4-0 Pac-12) ex­tended its win­ning streak to six games by pum­mel­ing Cal in­side, out-re­bound­ing the Bears 38-28, scor­ing 42 points in the paint and shoot­ing 65.5 per­cent in the sec­ond half.

The Bears (5-11, 0-4 Pac-12) ran their los­ing streak to five in one of their worst of­fen­sive per­for­mances of the sea­son. They shot a sea­son-low 34.5 per­cent from the floor and flirted with sea­son worsts in field goals made (20) and as­sists (seven).

It would have been even worse if not for Jus­tice Sue­ing, who had a sea­son-best 27 points on 8-of-13 shoot­ing. The rest of the team went 12-for-45 (26.7 per­cent), in­clud­ing Dar­ius McNeill, who was 0-for-6 from 3-point range be­fore he fi­nally got one to fall with the game out of reach at the 12:13 mark of the sec­ond half.

Cal was hop­ing that its poor start to con­fer­ence play would be al­tered by Paris Austin, who re­turned after miss­ing two games with a sprained an­kle. But the point guard had just eight points on 2-of-8 shoot­ing, two as­sists and three turnovers.

The Wild­cats had four play­ers in dou­ble-digit scor­ing, in­clud­ing Duke trans­fer Chase Jeter, who put up 23 points on 8-of-11 shoot­ing. The Wild­cats’ back­court of Bran­don Wil­liams and Cole­man com­bined for 29 points and nine as­sists.

“Some of that is in­ex­pe­ri­ence, but at the same time, there needs to be more ef­fort and more sense of ur­gency when it comes to get­ting a stop and mak­ing the right de­fen­sive play,” Jones said of fresh­men posts Con­nor Vanover and An­dre Kelly re­peat­edly get­ting schooled by Jeter.

Jeter had eight of his 13 firsthalf points in the frame’s clos­ing six min­utes, in­clud­ing two on a buzzer-beat­ing tip-in that sent Ari­zona into the locker room with a 40-28 lead. Vanover, Austin and McNeill com­bined to go 2-for-19 in the first half as Cal shot 32.1 per­cent.

“At this very mo­ment, ev­ery­body’s un­happy,” Jones said. “We’ve got to re­group. We’ve still got a lot of games to play. Some guys are go­ing to have to grow up quicker.”

Ben Mar­got / As­so­ci­ated Press

Cal’s Paris Austin, who re­turned from a sprained an­kle, loses the ball in the first half of the Bears’ 22-point loss to Ari­zona.

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