Before the Huskies practiced today, coach Lorenzo Romar said that Cal poses a unique defensive challenge, primarily on the strength of senior starters Jerome Randle, Patrick Christopher and Theo Robertson.
He gave this roundup of challenges posed by the trio:
"Patrick Christopher is very streaky. When he’s on a down streak, he’s good. When he’s on one of those high streaks, he’s almost impossible to guard. He’s 6-4, 6-5, very athletic, extremely quick. You just start watching college games: Not many college players can make a step-back from the 3-point line. But he’ll step back from the 3-point line and really get it going. Amazingly quick first step. He’s just a tough, tough cover."
"Jerome Randle gets 39 (Thursday at WSU). I’d like to see the guy who can handle the ball as well as he does going at top speed and still be able to stop on a dime and hit the three – I’d like to see that guy somewhere in the country that can do that. There are not many, I can guarantee. And he’s got the ball in his hands the entire time, he seems to never get tired. He’s a really tough match-up."
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"But the heart and soul of the team is probably Theo Robertson. He’s maybe their best defender. He’s got a high, high basketball IQ. He’s the guy thatis a glue guy, but he’s not a glue guy that is just a role guy. He’s capable of getting 30 himself."
A look ahead to the game:
CALIFORNIA (11-5 OVERALL, 3-1 PAC-10)AT WASHINGTON (11-5, 2-3)11:30 a.m. Saturday, Hec Edmundson Pavilion.TV: FSN. Radio: 950-AM
Series: Cal leads, 75-74. The Bears have won three straight in the series, including an 88-85 triple-overtime win last season in Seattle.
Statistical leaders: For Cal – G Jerome Randle, 20.4 ppg and 5 apg; F Jamal Boykin, 6.5 rpg. For UW – F Quincy Pondexter, 20 ppg and 8.1 rpg; G Venoy Overton, 3.4 apg.
Scouting report: These are the Pac-10’s highest-scoring teams, with UW averaging 80.5 ppg and Cal averaging 80. They also represent two of the top three teams in rebounding margin. Cal leads with plus-6.1, while UW is third at plus-5.2. The Huskies lead the league in offensive rebounds, the Bears lead in defensive rebounds. Cal also leads in assist-turnover ratio (1.25) and free throw percentage (.75). … Four of the Bears’ five losses have come away from home. However, they beat Washington State in Pullman on Thursday, 93-88, as Randle scored a career-high 39 points. … UW coach Lorenzo Romar said junior forward Justin Holiday will get his second career start tonight. … Donations will be accepted at the door to benefit earthquake-relief efforts in Haiti.
Next: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, at UCLA, Pauley Pavilion; FSN.