Five players scored in double figures Wednesday and fifth-seeded Washington State never trailed en route to a 69-52 win over 12th-seeded California in the opening round of the Pac-12 Conference tournament in Las Vegas.
TJ Bamba scored 17 points for the Cougars (17-15), who notched their seventh straight win and advanced to the quarterfinals on Thursday against fourth-seeded Oregon. Jabe Mullins came off the bench to add 11, going 3 of 4 from the 3-point line.
DJ Rodman tallied 10 points and 11 rebounds for Washington State. Mouhamed Gueye and Kymany Houinsou also scored 10 points as the Cougars controlled the boards 43-29 and enjoyed a 17-6 advantage in bench scoring.
Monty Bowser scored a game-high 19 points for the Golden Bears (3-29), who finished the season with a 16-game losing streak. Lars Thiemann added 10, but Cal made only 19 of 53 shots from the field and just 3 of 14 from the 3-point line.
Washington State, which has won seven straight against conference foes for the first time in 40 years, led by as many as 21 points in the second half.
Neither team got off to a blazing start offensively.
Bamba’s 3-pointer just before the first TV timeout enabled Washington State to grab a 7-2 edge. The Cougars eventually found a bit of rhythm offensively while using their defense to stifle punchless Cal, which entered the game ranked last in Division I at just 58.5 ppg.
Washington State held the Golden Bears without a point for 6 1/2 minutes, enabling it to take its first double-figure lead at 21-11 on two foul shots by Gueye at the 8:59 mark.
The Cougars then got consecutive 3-pointers from Mullins for a 33-17 cushion with 1:48 remaining.
While Cal got a couple of late buckets from Kuany Kuany, Washington State still got to halftime with a comfortable 35-21 cushion. The Cougars held the Bears to 37 percent shooting from the field while earning a 24-14 advantage on the boards.
–Field Level Media