February 16, 2012; Berkeley, CA, USA; California Golden Bears guard Justin Cobbs (1) celebrates after a play during the second half against the Oregon Ducks at Haas Pavilion. The Golden Bears defeated the Ducks 86-83. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

Oregon Ducks and California Basketball

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Allen Crabbe and Jorge Gutierrez made just two shots each and shot 20% and 28.6% from the floor respectively, but the third man in the big three, Justin Cobbs, more than made up for the lack of production from the other two. His career high 28 points combated Devoe Joseph’s career high 33 for the Oregon Ducks, and the California Golden Bears came back after losing for most of the second half to win 86-83 in a crushing road loss for the Oregon Ducks.

Cal has now won nine straight against the Ducks and have further cemented themselves as the team to beat in the conference. The home court advantage played a crucial role in this victory, because the team got behind the home crowd and put forth an emotional final five minutes to take this game.

Cobbs and Joseph were both nasty, as both stars put in top performances in an important Pac-12 game. The Cal star had four steals, three rebounds, and eight assists to supplement his 13 for 19 shooting performance. Meanwhile, the clutch Joseph came through with 33 points on perfect free throw shooting (9 for 9) and 4 for 9 three point shooting. Joseph also went 10 for 17 overall, but he was less efficient than Cobbs, despite the higher point total. He also did not contribute as much in the other facets of the game, so Cobbs had the better overall game (+37 EFF to +26 EFF). Through all those possessions, Joseph had three turnovers compared to none from Cobbs. That’s right, he had an insane +37 EFF and did not turn the ball over once.

Although Carlos Emory and Olu Ashaolu both had good games off of the bench and went 5 for 8 and 3 for 4 from the field respectively, despite the fact that each of them had three turnovers. Emory had four assists and four rebounds, and he also made his presence known defensively with three steals. In fact, Garrett Sim was the only other player on the Oregon Ducks to have a steal.

Last week’s Pac-12 POW E.J. Singler had a poor game, and he and Sim both went 3 for 9. Another thing in common between Devoe Joseph’s and Justin Cobbs’s career-high performances was the fact that the two other players in their respective big three’s had down games. Singler was playing so well recently, and Sim has always been a great shooter, so their disappointing games were somewhat of a surprise. Emory and Ashaolu helped to make up for some of that lost production, but it is difficult to replace the missing outputs from two three-win players.

David Kravish and Harper Kamp, however, made up for the lost production from Crabbe and Gutierrez by scoring a combined 33 points. Kravish went 5 for 6 with eight rebounds, but things could have been better for him had he made more than three of his seven free throw attempts. Kamp was even better, as he hit 20 points on just 11 shots and made all of his six shots from the charity stripe. Kamp did have four turnovers, but he made up for it with six rebounds.

Both of these teams were killing it on offense, but the Ducks held the advantage with their terrific 59 eFG% (57.4% for Cal). However, turnovers were the difference in this game, because the Oregon Ducks turned the ball over on about a quarter of their possessions. This is unacceptable, and it makes the usually consistent Singler’s performance look even worse. In a crucial game, your star cannot afford to have as many turnovers and fouls as points. The Golden Bears committed a turnover on 15.5% of their plays, and thus finished with 1.13 points per possession compared to 1.09 for the Ducks. Both are high efficiency rates, but the more efficient team almost always wins in a close contest. That slight advantage was enough, and the turnovers were certainly the difference.

Anyway one wants to slice it, the California Golden Bears proved that they were the better team by coming back and not dropping one at home. Again, this is the paramount team in the Pac-12 and a team that needs to get ranked in the top 25. The Oregon Ducks put forth an encouraging performance, but they will be disappointed with the fact that they let this game slip by. It’s difficult to beat a great team on the road, especially when said team is nearly unstoppable at home. The Ducks missed a glorious chance to put their name into the NCAA tournament list, and some are saying that this loss proves the Ducks aren’t a tournament team. Whatever the case, the Ducks played well, but they didn’t play well enough to win. At this point in the season, there is no such thing as a quality loss or a moral victory. Unless, of course, a team has a losing record. The Oregon Ducks don’t, so there is no way that this loss sits well with the players and fans in Eugene.

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Tags: Allen Crabbe Basketball California Golden Bears Carlos Emory David Kravish Devoe Joseph E.J. Singler Garrett Sim Harper Kamp Jorge Gutierrez Justin Cobbs Olu Ashaolu

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