Corvallis, OR – The Cal Golden Bears have been one of the surprise teams in the start of the Pac-12 season, winning their first two road games against Stanford and Oregon. They tried to make in three in a row on Corvallis tonight against Oregon State.
Oregon State (9-7, 1-3) came out strong and took 14-point lead in the first half and was ahead 45-35 at halftime. In the second half Cal’s Justin Cobbs picked up the pace, and for the third straight game led Cal (12-4, 3-0) to the win. Cobbs had five assists but did not score in the first half. That changed after halftime with Cobbs scoring 20 points as California topped the Beavers 88-83. Cobbs finished with nine assists against only three turnovers. Roberto Nelson (26 points) led the Beavers. Richard Solomon (15 points, eight rebounds), Tyrone Wallace (17 points, six rebounds) and David Kravish (16 points, five rebounds) all played well for California.
In Cal’s win over Oregon on Thursday the surprise performer was Jordan Matthews (32 points). Matthews was held to 2 points tonight on 1-of-8 shooting. Tonight Cal’s surprise player was 6’7 redshirt senior Jeff Powers. Powers came into the game averaging 2.7 points. Tonight he scored 14 with four three-pointers, three coming in Cal’s second half rally.
Cobbs is the type of senior point guard any team can use. He make the right play at the right time, runs the offense very efficiently, and performs exceptionally well at the close of games. Cobbs leads Cal in scoring (14.8 ppg) and in assists (6.3 apg). He’s second in the conference in assists and his assist to turnover ratio is almost 3-1.
Cobbs can create space for himself off the dribble and has a very efficient mid-range jumper. If there is a weakness to his game its is long-range shooting consistency. Coming into tonight’s game he was shooting only 22.5 percent (9-of-40) on three-pointers. That’s probably low for him and those percentages should recover some. He shot 32.5 percent last year on three’s and his form and range are solid. But the main thing about Cobbs is his ability to perform well in the clutch, when it matters most for his team. He’s done it in three straight Pac-12 games now.