CAL’S Eric Vierneisel defends against Washington State’s Robbie Cowgill on Saturday.
CAL'S Eric Vierneisel defends against Washington State's Robbie Cowgill on Saturday. (KODY WHITEAKER - Associated Press)
PULLMAN, Wash. — Cal coach Ben Braun had a long talk with starting point guard Ayinde Ubaka after Saturday's game at No.14 Washington State. It seemed to last about as long as it took for the Bears to take a shot on offense.

Cal tried to preserve its energy on defense by using clock on offense, but the tactic backfired in a 59-46 loss to the Cougars. It was the Bears' sixth defeat in a row.

Cal (12-12, 4-8 Pac-10) shot 35 percent from the floor, its third-worst performance of the season, and it boosted that mark with some hot shooting essentially during garbage time. The Bears also committed 16 turnovers, one less than their season high.

Daven Harmeling led the Cougars (21-4, 10-3) with 26 points on the strength of 5-for-7 3-point shooting. Ryan Anderson had 13 points for Cal.

"We didn't want to be on defense the whole time," Braun said. "They were on defense a little more than us. I thought we accomplished most of what we tried to do, but we hurt ourselves with turnovers."Ubaka, who has had a rough few weeks because of an intestinal virus, added 11 points, but nine came after the Bears had fallen behind by double digits late in the game. Ubaka was clearly frustrated afterward.

"I'm just mad," Ubaka said. "I'm just frustrated saying what we should have done or could have done. It is what it is. That was the game plan coming in, and we had to stick with it."

Ubaka, the Bears' second-leading scorer coming in at 14.2 points per game, didn't score until converting a tough runner inside with 10:22 remaining.


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"Ayinde is frustrated," Braun said. "He made some plays at the end of the game, but we ran out of time. Ayinde is a tremendous competitor. He'll get down when things don't go well. There's nothing wrong with being upset. There's no way I'd want a coach or player that didn't get upset when things don't go well. I've never seen a great player not get upset."

The Bears' deliberate tactics helped defensively in the first half, when the Cougars shot just

39 percent. The problem was Cal never had much time to find a good shot after running the shot clock down. The Bears didn't break into double digits in scoring until Omar Wilkes' 3-pointer cut Washington State's lead to 20-12 with 2:36 left in the first half.

"(The Cougars) are a different team than any other team we play in the Pac-10," Anderson said.

"It's not necessarily the best shot to jack up a (3-pointer) with 28 seconds left on the shot clock. I think you play into their hands if you do that."

Wilkes' 3-pointer began a 9-0 run that closed the gap to 20-18. Anderson followed with his own 3-pointer, and Wilkes was fouled on a 3-point attempt and made all of the free throws. All three scoring opportunities came in transition.

The Bears trailed 24-18 at halftime, but Wilkes began the second half with another 3-pointer. Anderson followed with a putback to make it 24-23.

Cal didn't score again for eight minutes, as the Cougars went on a 24-7 run to lead 48-30 with 3:29 remaining.

The Bears have six games remaining in the regular season — four against teams ranked in this week's top 25 — before the Pac-10 tournament. A National Invitational Tournament berth seems to be Cal's most realistic postseason goal.

"We need to sit down and wonder where we want to go with the season," Anderson said. "We need to play like we did at the beginning of the season. It's not like we're not trying."