No. 22 Cal Clamps Down On Washington St.
By GREG BEACHAM
AP Sports Writer
BERKELEY, Calif. - Joe Shipp scored 20 points and Brian Wethers had 16as 22nd-ranked California scored the final nine points for its 16th straighthome victory, beating Washington State 63-53 Thursday night.
Amit Tamir scored 14 points as Cal (17-4, 10-2), off to its best start since1960, won for the 11th time in 13 games. The Golden Bears never held a largelead, but they withstood a late Washington State rally and never trailed in achoppy victory over the Cougars (5-16, 0-12).
Washington State played tough defense and often slowed the action to a crawlin an attempt to stay with Cal, but the Golden Bears improved to 11-0 thisseason at Haas Pavilion despite their lowest scoring output of the season. Itwas Cal's best defensive game of the season as well.
Thomas Kelati had 12 points for the Cougars, who have lost eight straight inBerkeley.
Cedrick Hughey hit an open 3-pointer with 2:11 left to pull Washington Stateto 54-53, capping a 15-6 run in less than five minutes - but it was theCougars' final basket of the night.
Tamir hit a 3-pointer with 1:40 left, and Wethers stole an inbounds pass,got an offensive rebound and hit two free throws with 36.2 seconds left. A.J.Diggs made another steal, and Shipp made two more free throws to seal it.
Shipp, the Pac-10's leading scorer with more than 21 points per game, had 13by halftime. But he struggled along with his teammates in the second half: An82-percent free-throw shooter, he went 5-for-10 from the line.
Shipp, Wethers and Tamir account for nearly 70 percent of the Bears' pointsthis season, and the trio carried them again. Richard Midgley, a freshmanbackup point guard from England, had seven points, six rebounds and fiveassists.
Despite another strong performance following last weekend's narrow loss toArizona, the Cougars have lost 12 straight overall, all nine of their roadgames this season, 18 straight Pac-10 games since last season and six in a rowto Cal.
Washington State has dropped 38 consecutive games to ranked opponents since1997. The Cougars were struggling even before leading scorer Marcus Moore waslost for the season on Jan. 24 to ankle surgery.
Ezenwa Ukeagu had eight points and eight rebounds for the Cougars, who shot41 percent and committed 17 turnovers.