Still winless on the season, California tackles a San Francisco Bay Area opponent for the first time this season when it visits Santa Clara for a nonconference game Sunday.
The Golden Bears (0-11) became Division I’s lone remaining winless team when Louisville beat Western Kentucky on Wednesday and seek to end what has already become the school’s longest season-opening skid.
Cal nearly stopped the run at nine losses when it took Eastern Washington to the wire before a 50-48 home defeat Dec. 7, then took another step backward in an 82-58 blowout at home against Butler last Saturday.
Seven of the Golden Bears’ losses have come at home. The visit to Santa Clara, in a 50-mile trip across the bay, will be Cal’s third true road contest of the season, having lost earlier at UC San Diego and at nationally-ranked Arizona.
Cal was missing its leading scorer, Devin Askew, due to an illness in last week’s loss to Eastern Washington. He returned to score 17 points against Butler, then took an optimistic view of the team’s future.
“It can’t rain forever,” Askew said. “We’re going to get around the corner and get through this. Once we figure everything out, we’ll be good.”
Cal won 72-60 at home over Santa Clara last season, but that was before the Broncos really got rolling toward a 21-12 finish. Santa Clara (10-3) has continued that kind of play this year, with seven wins in its last eight games.
Brandin Podziemski (18.2 points per game), Carlos Stewart (14.8) and Keshawn Justice (12.8) are all having big offensive seasons for the Broncos. Stewart had 29 points and Justice 26 in an 86-74 home win over UC Irvine on Thursday night.
No doubt, the Broncos believe they are in a better position to beat their regional rival than last season.
“I don’t want to sit here today and put any limitations on this team,” coach Herb Sendek proclaimed. “I’m really excited about their possibilities.”
Santa Clara prevailed the last time it hosted Cal, 71-52 in December of 2019.
–Field Level Media