No. 22 Cal Clamps Down On Washington St.

Feb 13, 2003

AP Sports Writer

BERKELEY, Calif. - When Joe Shipp finally made a couple of free throws in the final minute, he was ready to think ahead - not to California's next game, but to the repercussions from a poor effort against Washington State.

Shipp scored 20 points and Brian Wethers had 16 as 22nd-ranked Cal scored the final nine points for its 16th straight home victory, beating the Cougars 63-53 Thursday night.

The Golden Bears' 11th win in 13 games was far from the easy night suggested by Washington State's 12-game losing streak. Instead of blowing out the struggling Cougars, Cal (17-4, 10-2 Pac-10) made execution mistakes, rebounded poorly and allowed Washington State (5-16, 0-12) to stay close all night.

Shipp, the Pac-10's leading scorer with more than 21 points per game, missed five of his first six free throws but made two late tries that put the game away.

Shipp normally shoots 82 percent at the line, but his lapses in concentration were part of an effort that will have inevitable consequences.

'I was thinking we're going to have an intense practice tomorrow,' Shipp said. 'You know it's going to be bad. ... I'm glad this happened. We need to rebound and regroup now.'

Amit Tamir scored 14 points as Cal improved its best start since 1960. The Golden Bears never held a large lead, but they withstood a late Washington State rally and never trailed in a choppy victory over the Cougars.

'They used most of the shot clock every time down,' Wethers said. 'I think that's why we lost some of our concentration, because we were on defense for so long. We were playing like they were a last-place team, and that shouldn't matter. We didn't come with the same approach as every other game.'

The Golden Bears improved to 11-0 this season at Haas Pavilion despite their lowest scoring output of the season. It was Cal's best defensive game of the season as well - but it didn't please coach Ben Braun.

'It'll probably be different than the Friday practices we've had in the past,' Braun said. 'We typically have a light practice. This one will probably be a different kind of practice. That's all I'll say. It might not be long, but it's going to be of an intense nature.'

Thomas Kelati had 12 points for the Cougars, who have lost eight straight in Berkeley.

Cedrick Hughey hit an open 3-pointer with 2:11 left to pull Washington State to 54-53, capping a 15-6 run in less than five minutes - but it was the Cougars' 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.

Brian Wethers goes up for a layup during the Bears' win over Washington St.

'We were with them all night, and that's another positive step for this young team,' Washington State coach Paul Graham said. 'We had good efforts from a lot of guys, but we couldn't get the one defensive stop or big basket that we needed at the end. Cal had a lot of poise in the final minute or so.'

Shipp, Wethers and Tamir account for nearly 70 percent of the Bears' points this season, and the trio carried them again. Richard Midgley, a freshman point guard from England, had seven points, six rebounds and five assists, but the rest of Cal's lineup combined for six points.

So far, that lack of distribution hasn't hurt the Golden Bears, who stayed one game behind top-ranked Arizona in the Pac-10 standings.

'It's human nature,' Braun said. 'I don't think our preparation was as good as it was for (last week's victory over) Oregon - not that it was horrendous or terrible, it wasn't the same. It should be the same.'

Despite another strong performance following last weekend's narrow loss to Arizona, the Cougars have lost all nine of their road games this season, 18 straight Pac-10 games since last season and six in a row to Cal.

Washington State has dropped 38 consecutive games to ranked opponents since 1997. The Cougars were struggling even before leading scorer Marcus Moore was lost for the season on Jan. 24 to ankle surgery.

Ezenwa Ukeagu had eight points and eight rebounds for the Cougars, who shot 41 percent and committed 17 turnovers.

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