Washington State can clinch just its second .500 Pacific-12 Conference season in a dozen years Saturday afternoon when it visits last-place Cal in Berkeley, Calif.
The Cougars (14-15, 9-9) have just two conference games left, including their regular-season finale next Thursday at rival Washington.
A pair of wins would give Washington State a second straight 11-9 league campaign following 10 consecutive seasons of double-digit defeats.
The Cougars have put themselves in this position by winning their past four games, including 67-63 at Stanford on Thursday. TJ Bamba hit four 3-pointers to account for a majority of his game-high 22 points, while Mouhamed Gueye contributed a 15-point, 15-rebound double-double.
Bamba’s jumper with 44 seconds remaining broke a 63-all tie.
“He was a stud,” Cougars coach Kyle Smith said of Bamba afterward. “He was really poised, picking his spots, getting guys up in the air, taking them to the rim. Had some nice post moves.”
The win over Stanford completed a two-game sweep of the season series for the Cougars, who will shoot for the same against Cal (3-25, 2-15), having thumped the Golden Bears 66-51 behind a strong defensive effort at home last month.
That loss began Cal’s 12-game losing streak. The Golden Bears broke a school record for losses in a season Thursday when beaten at home by Washington 65-56.
The Golden Bears suffered through another poor offensive performance against the Huskies, missing their first 14 3-point attempts on a night when they shot just 31.3 percent overall.
“We missed seven free throws (14-for-21) and (shot) 2-for-16 on threes,” Cal coach Mark Fox said. “Things like that leave a gap in the game and allow teams to get away from us.”
Sam Alajiki, who made both of Cal’s 3-pointers, came off the bench to pace the hosts with 13 points.
–Field Level Media