Despite shooting 47 percent from the floor, No. 10 Oregon turned the ball over 22 times and lost a three-point halftime lead in its 58-54 loss to California Saturday at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, Calif.
Oregon’s E.J. Singler had a good look from three-point range to take the lead with 0:08 remaining, but the shot was off the mark. Cal grabbed the rebound and two free throws from Cal guard Justin Cobbs made it a two-possession game, putting it out of reach.
The Ducks now fall to 1-2 as starting freshman point guard and leading assist man Dominic Artis sits with a foot injury, having missed a win over Washington and losses in the Bay Area to Stanford and now Cal.
Without Artis directing the offense, back-up Johnathan Loyd struggled. Despite his seven assists, he turned the ball over six times and was 3-of-7 from the floor. An Oregon team that typically averages 75 points per game was held to just 54, one game after posting 52 points in that loss to Stanford.
For Cal, the win gives coach Mike Montgomery and the Bears their first signature win of the Pac-12 season and their first win over a ranked team.
The scoring duo of Allen Crabbe, the Pac-12’s leading scorer, and Cobbs combined for just 21 points, but the Bears were able to get contributions from elsewhere to fill in the gaps offensively. Forward Richard Solomon had a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds, while Tyrone Wallace added 12 points and three steals.
Oregon is now just half a game (for the time being) over Arizona State, who plays Saturday at 9 p.m. ET against Washington, and No. 8 Arizona, who tips Saturday at 10 p.m. ET against Washington State.
Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_