The California Golden Bears wandered into the wrong place at the wrong time tonight at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.
Cal arrived at a moment of desperation for the Washington Huskies, who were back home after a three-game road losing streak that knocked them out of the national rankings and out of the Pacific-10 Conference lead.
And the Golden Bears also might have arrived a little tired and discouraged from a triple-overtime loss in their own previous game against Arizona.
The combination proved disastrous for the visitors, as the Huskies surged away early and just kept draining baskets and swatting shots on their way to a 109-77 win.
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The result improved Washington’s record to 16-7 overall and 8-4 in the Pac-10, a game-and-a-half behind idle Arizona. Cal, which could have caught UW with a win, instead slipped back to 13-11 and 6-6.
The Huskies came out like what they were: a desperate team on a three-game losing streak facing a chance of new life at home.
As a practice matter, they put the Golden Bears away in the first 10 minutes, while streaking to a 30-16 lead.
Over those 10 minutes, Washington had 10 assists on its first 13 baskets. The Huskies shot 67 percent from the field, and the same on their 3-point attempts. They forced six Cal turnovers and blocked three shots.
Then they kept pedal to metal and led 58-34 at halftime. And they never let up.
It was their school-record sixth game scoring 100-plus points. Twenty-three of those came from Isaiah Thomas, who hit six of his eight 3-point tries. MBA had 18, Wilcox 14, Holiday 12, Suggs and Ross 11.
Washington shot .566 from the field, had 30 assists and nine turnovers, blocked 11 shots and out-rebounded the Bears, 37-33.
The Huskies return to league play at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, when Stanford visits Edmundson Pavilion. The Cardinal won the earlier meeting on its home court, 58-56.4:34 UW 106-68. And Brendan Sherrer is in for his earliest appearance that I can recall.
This also is Washington's sixth 100-point game of the season ... a new school record.
7:58 UW 94-59. Washington has 15 3-pointers. School record is 17.
2nd/11:44 UW, 82-50. Huskies have blocked 10 shots.
2nd/14:54 UW up, 73-43. However, MBA has just been called for his fourth foul. And in that sequence, Aziz N'Diaye picked up a technical foul... which also goes down as his fourth personal as well. Looks like Huskies will be going small for a while.
2nd half: ... Has begun.
Halftime: UW 58, Cal 34. Not UW's first-half high for the season, though. They had 61 against both McNeese and Texas Tech.
Thomas has 11 points, MBA 10. Gutierrez leads call scorers with 12.
Washington outshooting Cal 59 percent to 50, and out-rebounding the Bears, 18-11. Washington also 10 of 17 from 3-point range.
I'm actually surprised Cal's shooting percentage is that high. Huskies have seemed solid on defense. Also, UW went zone over the final couple of minutes.
Huskies have 18 assists on 22 field goals with four turnovers.
1st/2:38 UW, 53-28. Thomas has 11 points, but also just picked up his second foul... one of those Pac-10 mystery fouls. MBA has 10, Holiday eight.
1st/7:43 UW, 40-17. And we just got a good example of how they've built that lead. Holiday dives for lose ball, taps it forward to Thomas, cross-court pass to Ross, who nails a three. Energy, energy, energy.
1st/10:00 UW has 10 assists on first 13 baskets, shooting 67 percent from field and from behind arc, three blocked shots and forced six turnovers.
1st/11:58 UW, 26-14.
1st/13:30 Isaiah Thomas' second 3-pointer of the night has just made it UW 21-8.
15:39 UW, 11-6.
Cal opened in a zone.
All Cal points from Jorge Gutierrez. First eight UW points divided by big men MBA and N'Diaye... then a Holiday 3-pointer.
Tipoff: Game has begun.
Lineups It's a familiar UW lineup as Coach Romar promised: Thomas, N'Diaye, MBA, Suggs and Holiday.
Cal going with Gutierrez, Sanders-Frison, Smith, Kamp and Crabbe.
1:20 to tipoff: Terrence Ross first Huskies out shooting ... as he often is.
Huskies in white tonight, Golden Bears in blue.
Gameday: Here's a preview from the Oakland Tribune.
I'll file more once I reach Hec Ed around 4. Then we'll keep the blog open all evening. Tip is 6 p.m., and the game will be shown live on FSN.