BERKELEY, Calif. — Jordan Railey believes Washington State’s ball movement on offense is finally coming together after two months of sporadic outings.
The Cougars finally have a road win in the Pac-12 — their first in nearly two years — to prove it.
Railey scored a career-high 17 points, Josh Hawkinson had 18 points and 13 rebounds for his sixth straight double-double and Washington State beat California 69-66 on Sunday.
“It’s become like a flow and it’s really fun to play in,” Railey said.
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“When I catch the ball in the post, they’re not standing around. They’re moving and I’m hitting guys on the perimeter for wide open jump shots. It’s just really coming along.”
Ike Iroegbu added 12 points, including four free throws over the final 36 seconds for the Cougars (7-7, 1-1), who won despite missing nine of their final 12 shots.
First-year coach Ernie Kent’s team had not won a road game all season and had not won a conference road game since beating Oregon State in Corvallis on Jan. 26, 2013 — a stretch of 15 games.
The Cougars ended both streaks with a stiff defense that held the Golden Bears (11-4, 1-1) without a basket for more than eight minutes late in the second half.
“To be on the road and have the first Pac-12 win in conference on the road is huge,” Kent said.
“You’re getting an opportunity to see some players growing up in front of your eyes.”
Washington State had lost three straight to Cal and had not won in Haas Pavilion since 2008 before stunning the Bears in front of their home crowd.
It wasn’t easy.
The Cougars led by nine with seven minutes left, then had to hold off a late charge.
“They didn’t go away,” Railey said. “But we persevered.”
Jordan Mathews missed a potential tying three-pointer at the buzzer for Cal.
DaVonte Lacy added 14 points and made five free throws in the final 19 seconds to help Washington State overcome its offensive struggles down the stretch.
Mathews had 24 points for the Bears while Tyrone Wallace scored 16 with six assists. Cal, which stunned No. 21 Washington in its conference opener on Friday, led midway through the first half but fell behind 24-20 at halftime.
Cal made only one basket over the final nine minutes of the half, went scoreless for 5:34 during one stretch and was held to 20 points or fewer in the first half for the third time in four games.