The Golden Bears competed for twenty minutes on Saturday morning in Kemper Arena but that was hardly enough against the energized Kansas Jayhawks. Using a paint clogging defense to hold down sophomore forward Leon Powe, Kansas went on a 20-4 run to begin the second and broke open a 34-31 Cal halftime lead. The Jayhawks coasted from there to secure a 69-56 victory.
Freshman Brandon Rush scored eight points during the run. Sophomore center C.J. Giles stole some of the spotlight from Powe, adding six points during the spree, which turned California's halftime lead into a 51-38 advantage for Kansas (4-4), which looked terrible while missing nine of its first 10 shots.
Giles, a 6-foot-11 sophomore, also spent much of the game guarding Powe, Cal's 6-foot-8 sophomore who had been averaging 25 points and nine rebounds. Powe, sidelined by injury all last year and the first four games of this season, had eight points in the first half and 16 points and 11 rebounds for the game. Giles matched him by scoring 17 and 9. The Jayhawks outrebounded the Bears 41-32.
Omar Wilkes, who spent one year at Kansas before transferring back to his native California, got a nice hand from the Kemper Arena crowd during pre-game introductions and finished with 13 points.
The loss was the first in seven games for the often impatient Bears (6-2), who had won six straight at home after losing their opener at Eastern Michigan.
The play of freshman Julian Wright kept Kansas close in the first half. After posting 7 points in the opening 20 minutes, Wright, one member of the Jayhawks extremely talented freshmen class, kept Kansas ignited in the second. The Chicago Heights (Ill.) native pulled down some key rebounds, scored on tough passes, and shifted his play from defense to offense nicely.
Rush got the second-half surge started with a bucket and then made a nifty pass inside to Wright for another basket.
After Rush's three-point play and another Rush-to-Wright bucket, Kansas had a 40-38 lead. Then Rush canned a 3-pointer and Kansas outscored the Bears 11-0 and was never threatened again.
The mistake-prone Jayhawks had six turnovers and only three points at the 13:03 mark of the first half. But they trailed only 7-3 because the Golden Bears, rarely working hard to get open looks, were not much better.
The free-throw line, where the Bears have outscored their opponents 124-58 while playing six of seven at home, was not nearly as kind on the court where Kansas won the 1985 NCAA championship. Cal was 12-for-17 from the stripe while Kansas was 11-for-14.
A.W Prince is the senior writer and publisher of BearTerritory.net. He pens numerous recruiting features on some of the most talented and highly sought after student-athletes in the country. Along with his recruiting work, Prince has made radio appearances with Rivals Radio and Bay Area college basketball pre-game, halftime, and post-game in-season shows.