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Instant: Stevenson can't power Washington to first conference win

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Junior guard Erik Stevenson drives toward the basket in Washington's matchup against Arizona at Alaska Airlines Arena on December 31, 2020. Stevenson was dominant from range against California Saturday, Jan. 9.

A Joel Brown three-pointer sunk the Washington men's basketball team, who lost 84-78 to California, despite a 27-point performance from Erik Stevenson. 

The Huskies (1-9, 0-5 Pac-12) started well offensively, shooting 41.7% from the field and 44% from three-point range in the first half. Washington got scoring from five different players, including six points from sophomore J’Raan Brooks off the bench, and seven points from junior Jamal Bey, who finished the game with 18. The guard from Las Vegas also grabbed four rebounds before the break, while senior Quade Green added three assists despite going 1-of-6 from the field. 

However, Stevenson truly stepped up in the first half, scoring 12 points on 3-of-5 shooting, including a 2-of-3 performance from beyond the arc. After just 20 minutes Saturday, the junior already had a season-high. 

While Washington thrived offensively though, Cal tore apart the zone, mainly through junior forward Andre Kelly, who started the game a perfect 7-of-7 from the floor to lead all scorers with 14 points. Despite missing leading-scorer Matt Bradley, who was averaging more than 17 points per game, the Golden Bears (6-7, 1-5 Pac-12) shot 46.7% on field goals, and took a 40-32 lead into halftime. 

It was Stevenson again who rallied Washington out of the break. After an assist on a fastbreak to Green, the junior hit three-pointers on consecutive possessions to power an 11-0 run for the Huskies early in the second half. Bey converted an and-one at the 13-minute mark, before Stevenson nailed a contested three-pointer to give Washington the lead. 

The Huskies couldn’t make its lead last long though. Cal went on a 12-0 run with 10 minutes left thanks in part to three Washington turnovers forced by the Bears’ zone defense, and two big three-pointers from graduate transfer Makale Foreman. 

But the Huskies and Stevenson stormed back again, with the junior scoring his sixth three to pull Washington within two, and Green hitting a runner in the lane with two 2:58 on the clock to tie the game. 

Washington returns to the hardwood Thursday, Jan. 14 when it takes on USC at the Galen Center in Los Angeles. Tipoff is currently scheduled for 6:30 p.m. 

Reach Sports Editor Andy Yamashita at Twitter: @ANYamashita

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