Cal men's basketball loses to UC San Diego, again, drops to 0-3 for second time in at least 75 years
The program is at the bottom, and Mark Fox seems to have no answers, but plenty of players to blame.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.
Cal fell into a deep hole with a long scoring drought of an occasional field goal coupled with a parade of turnovers.
Cal made a valiant second half effort to cut into the deficit, but came up short in the end.
This isn’t a terribly interesting game to analyze in the aggregate. The Bears came out, fell asleep at the wheel, and spent the rest of the game trying to make up a very tough deficit.
And that’s the story of how Cal has lost its first three games, culminating with its second straight embarrassing loss to UC San Diego for the second season in a row.
For the second year in a row, the Tritons took control and stayed in control until the Bears made a late comeback, cutting it to a one-possession game in the final minutes. Four Cal starters finished in double-figures.
Devin Askew: 13 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists
Grant Newell: 12 points
Kuany Kuany: 11 points
Lars Thiemann: 10 points, 7 rebounds
Most of Cal’s comeback was powered by attacking the rim. The Bears went 21-24 at the line, with Kuany, Newell and Thiemann each putting six on the board.
But Cal could not overcome their deficient three-point shooting. The Bears shot 1-8 from three and got torched in the first half by UC San Diego, going 9-22. It’s hard to overcome a +24 difference from three, particularly if Cal isn’t going to even bother to run offense to try and set them up (Cal took no threes in the final 9+ minutes until their desperation heave with seconds to go).
Bryce Pope made the game-clinching three with seconds left.
And now onto Mark Fox, at what has to be the lowest point of his tenure.
Cal men's basketball has likely lost its first three games against unranked opponents for the first time in program history. They started 0-4 in 1997, but started at #4 UNC and played no true home games. Aside from that, since at least 1949 (which is the furthest back I can go to find records), Cal has never started a season 0-3. Until now.
Mark Fox has now lost eight games in a row against sister UC schools. Five against UCLA, one at home to UC Davis, and now a two year sweep to UC San Diego, who started playing Division I basketball three years ago. You could easily make the case Cal is the worst UC playing basketball right now—they finished with the worst record last season and are well on their way to that mark this season.
Cal fell to 4-30 in road games in the Mark Fox era. I was a math major awhile ago, but I think that is an average of one road win a year.
The facts are clear. This is year FOUR of the Mark Fox era. Cal is well on their way to their third-straight 20-loss season. There are no instant impact players coming in. The talent Cal has is not being maximized, developed, adjusting, or executing at an even substandard level.
It’s a rather hopeless situation.
One would hope the proper steps are taken sooner rather than later to end this saga of Cal basketball. Because the players and the fans deserve better.