Cal’s Randle singes Cougars for career-high 39 points
PULLMAN, Wash. – There’s some question about Jerome Randle’s height, but not about his game.
Randle scored a career-high 39 points as California beat Washington State 93-88 on Thursday night to retain first place in the Pac-10.
Afterward, Randle was questioned about the truth of his 5-foot-10 listing in the program.
“I’m 5-8 and three-quarters,” Randle said with a grin. “Put 5-9. Give me a break.”
He didn’t give the Cougars much of a break. The senior made 7 of 12 3-pointers, 10 of 11 free throws and added nine assists, two steals and five rebounds.
California (11-5, 3-1 Pac-10) jumped out to big leads at the beginning of each half, then held off Washington State rallies to win for the fifth time in six games.
The Golden Bears rushed to a 28-8 lead in the first eight minutes. The Cougars were able to get within four points at halftime, but they fell behind by double digits again at the start of the second half.
“We’ve never come out and attacked a team like that in the four years I’ve been here,” Randle said.
The Bears made 13 of their first 18 shots.
“It was like we couldn’t miss,” added Patrick Christopher, who scored 21 points.
The Cougars (12-5, 2-3) outscored Cal the rest of the way, but the veteran Bears made free throws in the closing minutes to preserve the win.
“From the 12-minute mark on, we were pretty good,” WSU coach Ken Bone said.
The Bears finished with 51-percent shooting, including 11 of 20 3-pointers. They added 20 of 25 from the free throw line, all in the second half.
Jamal Boykin scored 16 and Theo Robertson 13 in Cal’s balanced attack.
Washington State’s Klay Thompson, the Pac-10’s leading scorer at 23 points per game, struggled to get to 18 on 6-of-16 shooting. He scored just nine in the previous game, a loss at Arizona State.
Reggie Moore led the Cougars with a career-high 25 points. Nik Koprivica, the team’s only upperclassman, added 15.
Koprivica said the Bears, who start four seniors and a junior, had a sizable experience advantage on the Cougars, the nation’s youngest team with 15 underclassmen on the roster.
“They know that games start with the tip-off,” said Koprivica, a senior. “You can’t let a good team get up by 20 and then try to catch up.”
Cal rode 10 points by Randle to a 59-45 lead with 13:30 remaining. The Cougars got within nine at 65-56, but Randle scored nine points as the Bears rebuilt a 76-62 lead with 7:13 left.
Washington State closed to within 80-71 with 4:16 left, but the Bears sank free throws to hold the Cougars at bay.
Cal made 10 of its first 13 shots in the game and hit four consecutive 3-pointers for an early 16-3 lead. Robertson made consecutive 3-pointers for a 26-8 Cal lead, as the Bears sank six of their first seven from beyond the arc.
Moore’s steal and stuff launched a 16-4 WSU run as the Cougars closed to within 32-24 with seven minutes remaining in the half. Washington State made 11 of its last 15 shots of the half to cut Cal’s lead to 41-37 at intermission.