The loss kept Washington winless on the road, dropping them to 0-5 in Pacific-10 games away from home and 0-7 overall. It also significantly hurt the Huskies' chances of contending for conference title. Washington (16-8, 6-6) drops two games behind Cal (16-8, 8-4) in the conference standings.
"We're going to need some help now," admitted Washington coach Lorenzo Romar. "Prior to tonight's game, we didn't need anyone's help. Now we need someone's help. Someone else is going to have to knock off the people that are ahead of us."
Especially disappointing for the Huskies was their inablity to remain in contact with the Golden Bears given all that was riding on the game. In recent weeks, UW coach Lorenzo Romar had mentioned to reporters that another conference loss could mean that the Huskies would have to win the Pac-10 Tournament in order to make it to the Big Dance in March.
Needing the win, Washington simply couldn't hang.
"We played the league-leaders tonight and they did a tremendous job," said Romar.
Jerome Randle, the diminutive senior guard out of Chicago, led all scorers with 33 points, 21 coming in the first half. When Randle's first long 3-point attempt swished through the twine, it seemingly gave him the hot hand for the rest of the night.
Thursday was a monumental shift from the performance Randle turned in last month in Seattle, when he was held scoreless in the first half en route to 5 points on 2-of-9 shooting. In the rematch, Randle hurt UW from all areas of the court. He drained a trio of deep 3-pointers from well beyond NBA range, used his quick dribble-drive to beat Husky defenders to the rim on several occassions, and even managed to score from mid-range.
"He probably had a little bit of added motivation after how he played against us last time," said Washington forward Quincy Pondexter. "He played great tonight. He got his teammates involved and when he's on it makes it hard to guard him because he can shoot from just about anywhere on the floor."
"(Randle) is a really good offensive basketball player, and what happened in Seattle for him was something that rarely happens. He was zeroed in and focused and just played really efficient basketball. He was hard to stop."
Jamal Boykin chipped in to the Bears' cause with 20 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. In all, five of the players in Cal's seven-man rotation finished the night scoring in double-digits.
The Huskies were paced by Isaiah Thomas' 25 points and Pondexter's 17. Venoy Overton scored 15 and Matthew Bryan-Amaning chipped in 13.
For the game, Washington was outrebounded 37-30, and shot just 43.3 percent from the field to Cal's 51.7 percent.
Cal used two different runs to break away and distance itself from UW before halftime. The first, a 11-3 burst, came shortly after Justin Holiday subbed out of the game at the 14:33 mark. A botched Husky in-bounds pass created a transition opportunity for the hometown Bears, and 3-point specialist Theo Robertson made Washington pay by drilling a wide open 3-pointer.
The Bears kept on running.
Randle scored on a dribble-drive and a putback runner, Jorge Gutierrez added a fastbreak layin, and the Huskies had seemingly no answer. Patrick Christopher added a pair of free throws as the Bears moved ahead 22-15.
Washington managed to regain its composure, but only temporarily, after a Tyreese Breshers layin and free throw pulled them to within 29-25.
That's when the Bears kicked it into another gear offensively behind the Randle's hot-hand. He poured in 10 of the Bears final 19 points in the half as the teams headed to the locker room with Cal comfortably ahead, 48-34.
Washington never pulled closer than eight the rest of the way.
The Huskies were abused on the glass over the first 20 minutes, outrebounded 25-12. This, on a night when Jon Brockman, Washington's all-time rebounding leader and current member of the Sacramento Kings, was on hand watching from the crowd while on the NBA's All-Star Break.
"They really hit the boards hard, and I thought that was the difference in the entire first half," said Romar. "Their ability to go out and get second-chance points. They had 16 of those in the first half, and that was the difference."
Washington blew out Cal in Seattle back on Jan. 16, 84-69. But the road, as the Huskies keep finding out, proved to be a whole different animal. This time, it was a Golden Bear.
Up Next: The Huskies head to Maples Pavilion to face Stanford on Saturday. tipoff is set for 5 p.m. Stanford has struggled this season, but lost in that is the fact that they've played very well at home. In fact, they entered Saturday 4-0 at home in Pac-10 play.
After that, UW returns to Seattle to face the Los Angeles schools for its final two home games of the season. The schedule continues with road games at Washington State, Oregon and Oregon State.
Points: Thomas 25, Pondexter 17, Overton 15, Bryan-Amaning 13, Holiday 6, Breshers 3, Gaddy 2
Rebounds:Thomas 6, Bryan-Amaning 6, Holiday 5, Pondexter 4, Breshers 2, Turner 1, Suggs 1, Overton 1, Gaddy 1
Assists: Holiday 3, Thomas 1, Gaddy 1, Overton 1, Turner 1
Steals: Pondexter 3, Thomas 1, Overton 1, Bryan-Amaning 1
Blocks: Bryan-Amaning 2