California and host Oregon State will meet for the second time this season when they are scheduled to tip off in a Pac-12 game Saturday afternoon in Corvallis, Ore.
The clubs walked on eggshells Friday in the wake of the postponement of Thursday's Stanford-Oregon State game because of COVID-19 issues within the Beavers' program.
But as day's end approached Friday, the Pac-12 still had the green light shining, setting up a rematch of an earlier game that, coincidentally, was the product of COVID-19 problems at Colorado State.
The Bears (5-5, 0-3) and Beavers (4-3, 0-1) had been scheduled to open the season in a four-team, two-day event hosted by Oregon State in which the Pac-12 teams would not be paired.
But because Colorado State had to pull out at the last minute, Cal and Oregon State agreed to open the season against each other.
The Beavers prevailed 71-63 in the nonconference affair, getting 15 points, seven rebounds and six assists from standout holdover Ethan Thompson, and 16 points and eight rebounds from Nicholls State transfer Warith Alatishe.
Cal's top returning player, Matt Bradley, led all scorers in the game with 21.
The win was Oregon State's third straight at home against Cal and began a run of four wins in six home games this season for the Beavers. One of those wins came on Dec. 22 -- the last time Oregon State played -- when the Beavers walked away disappointed in a 67-62 triumph over Portland State.
Senior Zach Reichle admitted he and his mates had upcoming Pac-12 games on their minds as they watched the Vikings make the game more competitive than expected.
"That's on us," he said of a tightly contested second half. "We kind of let them keep getting back in the game. That's not on the coaches to kick-start it. That's on us."
The numbers through seven games indicate the Beavers are having a better season than the 4-3 record would indicate. Alatishe leads the Pac-12 in rebounding at 9.1 per game, Maurice Calloo is tops in the conference in 3-point field goal percentage (56.3) and Oregon State as a team is No. 1 in the Pac-12 in assists per game (17.1).
Cal's leading rebounder in the earlier meeting was Grant Anticevich with 10. He didn't make the trip north this week -- the Bears lost 82-69 to Oregon on Thursday -- because of an appendectomy.
Bradley had 15 of his 21 points in the first half of the loss to the Ducks.
"I thought Matt played great," Cal coach Mark Fox noted afterward. "Matt played like an upperclassman. But let's give Oregon a little credit for slowing him down."
--Field Level Media