January 21, 1999
OAKLAND - Thursday's game at the Arena in Oakland was turned out to be a battle of the big men. Unfortunately for Cal, Washington's Todd MacCulloch was virtually unstoppable as the Husky center scored a season-high 31 points and grabbed a game-high 17 rebounds to lead Washington past Cal, 87-73.
The victory improved the Huskies to 10-6, 3-3 Pac-10, while Cal fell to 11-5, 2-4 Pac-10.
"We talked about trying to keep Todd MacCulloch off the low block," said Cal head coach Ben Braun. "Most of his scores were out of the post position. We just allowed him to get to the rim too much."
Cal center Francisco Elson, who drew the tough task of defending MacCulloch for the majority of the evening, did his best to keep up with him, posting his first career double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
But Washington's supporting cast proved to be too much as Senque Carey, Donald Watts, Deon Luton and Chris Walcott all finished in double figures to give the Huskies their highest point total of the season.
After leading 36-34 at the break, the Huskies used an 11-3 run midway through the second half to take their first double-digit lead of the game at 61-51 with 10:05 remaining. Washington's lead reached as much as 15 with 6:17 before the Bears began chipping away.
With 1:07 to play, a Sean Lampley lay-in cut UW's lead to seven. However, the Huskies proved to be up to the task down the stretch, connecting on 11-of-14 foul shots, and Cal could get no closer.
Thomas Kilgore was the Bears high-point man on the night with 19 points, while Michael Gill chipped in with 12 points and five rebounds.
The Bears started Raymond King and Dennis Gates at the guard spots, as regular starters Kilgore and Geno Carlisle were held out for being late for the team's shoot-around earlier in the day.
Cal will try to get things back on track on Saturday when the Bears take on Washington State. Tip off is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Cal-Washington post-game quotes
CALIFORNIA HEAD COACH BEN BRAUN:
"We talked about trying to keep Todd MacCulloch off the low block. Most of his scores were out of the post position. He does such a good job of passing that he's always just a pass away. He hurt us significantly on post-ups. We allowed him to get to the rim too much."
"I didn't think our help defense was as good as it was last game."
"Their post guys got loose on us. Collectively, I thought our team defense broke down. We've been holding teams below 40% all season long, but we sure didn't do it tonight."
WASHINGTON HEAD COACH BOB BENDER:
"I'm really proud of the way we played tonight. It was an important win for us. We were able to do the things we needed to do in order to put us in a position to win."
"We are starting to do the things that made us successful earlier in the season, like shooting freethrows. We went back to being a good freethrow shooting team and that helped us tonight."
"We have been playing better in the last three weeks. It is a matter of us knowing what we are and establishing our identity. We have got to be a very precise team in order for us to be successful."
"In the first half Todd MacCulloch had a about as good as of performance as I've seen from him. Cal has always caused a problem for Todd because of their quickness and athleticism."
CAL PLAYER QUOTES:
On Todd MacCulloch: "He has a really soft touch around the basket, and that makes it very hard to play defense against him. I did a bad job at guarding him around the basket. His teammates made it easy for him to score whenever they penetrated."
On Saturday's Game: "Coach Braun said that our next game is the biggest game of the season, and that we need to establish ourselves."
Off the Bench: "(Thomas Kilgore) and I tried to make the best of our minutes. Coming off of the bench you come in and try to play hard."
On Performance: "I felt like I shot bad. I played a good floor game, getting people involved."