basketball Edit

Cal searching for answers after getting shocked by Central Arkansas

On Wednesday, Cal men’s basketball got blown out at home by Central Arkansas 96-69. There’s really no better word to describe this game for Cal than “ugly.” Outside of an early 10-4 lead for Cal, this one was Central Arkansas all the way.

Central Arkansas dominated Cal in nearly every facet of the game, shooting 31-63 (49.2%) from the field, 12-24 (50%) from three-point range, 22-24 (91.7%) from the foul line, had a 20-13 assist-to-turnover ratio, and held their own on the boards 34-37. Cal in contrast shot 21-55 (38.2%) from the field, 3-13 (23.1%) from beyond the arc, and had a 7-22 assist-to-turnover ratio. The only bright spot for Cal was their ability to shoot 24-29 (82.8%) from the foul line. With the loss, Cal falls to 3-6 on the season while Central Arkansas improves to 5-5.

“Obviously, a major major setback today,” Cal head coach Wyking Jones said after the game. “My philosophy has been all year that we try to get better game in and game out. Today we made a major step in the wrong direction. We gotta go back and figure it out.

“We’re young, but we can’t keep using that as an excuse. We have to give better effort than that and we have to figure some things out as a staff of what works and what doesn’t work with this group and just hopefully take this loss and help us go back to the drawing board and get better.”

A common thread between this game and the game against Chaminade is the apparent lack of effort on defense. Their lack of rotations and ability to guard their man led to a lot of easy baskets.

“The effort on defense wasn’t there,” Wyking Jones admitted. “Our guys were hugging their men because they are a great shooting team. I felt like our guys were afraid to leave their men, and we weren’t in help, or helping each other. We were pressuring the ball, but the only way pressuring the ball works is if you have guys on the weak side helping you in case of drives or drives and kicks. It just felt like we weren’t playing defense as a team. It was just more one-on-one defense.”

In addition to struggling on defense, Cal starts to panic once things don’t go their way. Rather than calming themselves down and getting themselves back in a game, they start to play a like a deer in the headlights, which allows 10 point deficits to balloon into 25 point deficits.

“Yeah, it absolutely feels like that,” Wyking Jones said. “I don’t know if that comes with experience, lack of experience or it will get better with time. Hopefully, but yeah we gotta learn how to rally when things aren’t going so well. We’re good when we’re up, everyone is very close and bonded, but when things kinda go south, you start seeing guys kinda splinter off a little bit.”

Up next for Cal is a getaway game at San Diego State on Saturday. The Aztecs are 7-2 overall and 4-0 at home. That game will tipoff at 2:00 PM PST on CBS Sports Network.