Cal looks to rebound against NAIA's Northwest

·2 min read

California will be seeking to rebound from a season-opening loss 24 hours earlier when the Golden Bears take on Northwest University on Thursday afternoon in Corvallis, Ore.

Northwest, an NAIA school from Kirkland, Wash., will be tipping off its schedule one day later than expected. The Eagles were slated to face host Oregon State in their season opener on Wednesday, with Cal taking on Colorado State.

But Colorado State had to withdraw from what was designed as a two-day event because of positive COVID-19 tests, leaving the three remaining teams to scramble and pit Oregon State against Cal on Wednesday and then Northwest on Friday, with the Bears and Eagles squaring off in between.

Cal got 21 points from top returner Matt Bradley but just 17 combined from its other four starters in a 71-63 nonconference loss to Oregon State on Wednesday.

The Bears shot only 33.5 percent on 3-point attempts a year ago, and they didn't show any improvement in this season's opener, going just 6 of 25 from beyond the arc, with Bradley missing 6 of 7 attempts.

If there was a positive for Cal, it was that graduate transfers Makale Foreman and Ryan Betley -- brought in to resolve the team's long-distance issues -- combined to shoot 5 of 13 from beyond the arc. Foreman finished with 10 points off the bench, while Betley had nine -- all on 3-pointers-- as a starter.

Cal coach Mark Fox believes his team will show improvement overnight.

"We started the game poorly offensively just because we were so excited to play," he noted after Wednesday's loss. "Just because we were so excited to play, I thought we were disorganized. There will be a lot to learn from this one."

Northwest is coming off an 18-12 campaign, but suffered serious graduation losses, with its top three scorers and rebounders all clocking out.

The goal this season, according to coach Jeff Drinkwine, is to replace quantity with quality.

"Our depth is our strength this year," he insisted. "We have a little more depth, and it's from top to bottom. Everyone can play; that part's nice. We have two or three guys who can play multiple positions."

Guard D.J. Walker (10.7 ppg) and forward Tanner Davis (10.5 ppg) are the club's leading returning scorers.

The Eagles haven't played a Division I school in basketball since losing 82-65 at Seattle in 2016. Northwest had never previously scheduled a Pacific-12 Conference opponent.

--Field Level Media