Cal gearing up for final push for Pac-12 title 

click to enlarge Justin Cobbs and Cal have three games to separate themselves from Washington atop the Pac-12 Conference. - US PRESSWIRE FILE PHOTO
  • US Presswire file photo
  • Justin Cobbs and Cal have three games to separate themselves from Washington atop the Pac-12 Conference.

With only three games left, the Cal men’s basketball team is in control of its own destiny in pursuit of the Pac-12 Conference regular-season championship.

Cal (22-6, 12-3 Pac-12) and Washington are tied in first place, but the Golden Bears hold the tiebreaker, having won the only matchup between the two teams on Jan. 19.

“It looks like Washington is not giving in, at all,” Cal coach Mike Montgomery said. “They’ve got three road games and we’ve got three road games. You can argue all you want who’s got a tougher road. It’s really kind of up to us to do our job and take care of our business and not worry so much about what they do.”

Sophomore Justin Cobbs, who was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week on Monday, averaged 19 points and 10.5 assists in Cal’s wins over Oregon and Oregon State.

“These were pretty big games for us,” Montgomery said. “He did a good job. He kept his cool. He played a lot of minutes.”

The Bears will be on the road for their final three league games and will face Utah on Thursday and Colorado on Sunday.

The last games against these two were complete opposites from each other.

Cal had one of its worst offensive games against Colorado back in January when it shot 35 percent from the field and Jorge Gutierrez was held to 2-for-17 shooting with five points.

The Bears followed that game with a convincing 81-45 win over Utah, where they shot 59 percent from the field and five players scored in double figures.

Stanford slipping: Stanford (18-9, 8-7) has continued to slip further down the standings and, with three games left, will need a bit of help to move back up and get a higher seed in the Pac-12 tournament.

The Cardinal sits only a half game behind of UCLA for fifth place but have struggled on the road in play.

Stanford is 2-5 on the road against the Pac-12 with its two wins coming against USC and Oregon State, who have a combined record of 6-23.

One last test for USF: USF (18-11, 8-7 West Coast Conference) is coming off its third straight home win against Gonzaga.

The Dons have only one league game remaining before the WCC Tournament next week and it comes against St. Mary’s.

The Gaels hold a 12-game winning streak against USF, dating back to 2006.

Ogwumike’s clock at Stanford winding down: No. 2 Stanford (24-1, 15-0 Pac-12) has three home games remaining, which also means senior Nnemkadi Ogwumike plays her last home game next Wednesday against Seattle.

Ogwumike, who is likely to win the Pac-12 Player of the Year, is nine points short of passing Kate Starbird for second on the school’s all-time scoring list.

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Zack Farmer

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