No Jabari Bird?
No Ricky Kreklow?
No problem for Cal, not when Jordan Mathews is on fire.
The 6-foot-3 freshman entered Thursday night’s trip to Eugene averaging 7.4 points on the season. He had only managed 33 points over his last five games. But on Thursday, he scored 20 of his career-high 32 points in the first half as the Bears notched a huge victory over No. 17 Oregon on the road, 96-83.
Justin Cobbs chipped in with 20 points and 11 assists for Cal.
Who knows if that kind of production from Mathews is in anyway consistent — he’s gone for 22 points in another game this season but also has 10 games in the single-digits — but it is comforting for Mike Montgomery to know that he has that kind of scoring pop coming off of his bench. And regardless of whether or not that kind or performance ever pops up again, it earned the Bears a marquee win on the road over a team that many thought could compete for the Pac-12 title five days ago.
That notion seems silly now.
Because the Ducks don’t appear to want to play any defense.
The Bears scored 96 points on 82 possessions tonight, good for 1.171 PPP, just five days after Oregon conceded 100 points on 78 possessions — or 1.282 PPP — in a loss at Colorado. Now, losing in Boulder is one thing. The Buffaloes are good. But getting drubbed at home by a short-handed Cal team that doesn’t have any depth up front? That’s a concern.
This performance will likely drop the Ducks out of Kenpom’s top 100 in terms of defensive efficiency, and given the kind of athletes they have on that roster, that’s just not acceptable. There’s no questioning Oregon’s ability to put in the ball in the basket, but in their two losses this season, they are averaging 87.0 ppg.