Oregon-California Preview

The Associated Press

Oregon's perfect start in Pac-12 play is history, and bouncing back may not be easy.

The No. 10 Ducks have dropped nine straight meetings with California heading into Saturday's matchup in Berkeley.

Oregon (18-3, 7-1) fell 76-52 at Stanford on Wednesday, shooting 34.6 percent and finishing with its lowest point total - an uncharacteristic effort for a team second in the Pac-12 in scoring at 75.0 points per game.

"That's the first time we've fell flat on our face this year," coach Dana Altman said. "I'm really disappointed, I'm not going to lie. I'm very disappointed."

The starting five combined for 24 points for Oregon, which suffered its most lopsided conference loss since an 89-57 defeat to California (12-8, 4-4) on Jan. 21, 2010.

Losing to the Golden Bears isn't anything new. California's winning streak is the longest by either team in this series.

Cal is seeking to move over .500 in the conference for the first time, having alternated losses and wins in its first eight contests. The Golden Bears trailed by eight at halftime and for most of the second half before coming away with a 71-68 victory over Oregon State on Thursday.

Coach Mike Montgomery ripped his team during the second half to help spark the comeback.

"We were just getting our butts kicked," Montgomery said. "I explained it to them on no uncertain terms. There was no excuse for setting back and letting them do unto you. We had to be the aggressor."

The Ducks will try to slow down the conference's leading scorer in Allen Crabbe, averaging 19.8 points. Crabbe averaged 21.0 points in his first three meetings with Oregon but was held to eight in an 86-83 win in the last matchup Feb. 16, the Ducks' lone one-possession loss during the skid.

Justin Cobbs averaged 21.5 points to lead Cal in last season's sweep. Crabbe and Cobbs combined to score 12 of the Golden Bears' final 18 points Thursday.

A major weakness for Oregon is its conference-worst 15.9 turnovers per game. The Ducks had 20 miscues Wednesday.

"Turnovers were really a problem tonight," Altman said. "We gave up some easy baskets and Stanford played with tremendous confidence after that. We just got it handed to us, there's no other way to put it."

The Golden Bears may not be poised to take advantage since they only force 11.0 turnovers per game.

Oregon forward E.J. Singler averaged 18.5 points in wins over Washington State and Washington last week but was held to six in 26 foul-plagued minutes against the Cardinal. He is averaging 7.4 in seven career losses to the Golden Bears.

Montgomery was not altogether pleased that his team shot a season-high 26 3-pointers Thursday. Cal ranks last in the Pac-12 in 3-point shooting at 31.6 percent.

"We probably took more than we should have," he said. "It wasn't that we took the 3s, but it was when we took the 3s. We did not spend enough time probing and trying to get a better shot. Some of that was what got us in trouble."

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