EUGENE — Jordan Mathews’ shooting touch was a big surprise to Oregon, which was caught off guard again when facing California.
The freshman guard scored a season-high 32 points and California beat No. 17 Oregon 96-83 on Thursday night, defeating the Ducks for the 12th straight time.
“We have to do some soul searching,” said Oregon coach Dana Altman, who kept coming back to his team’s failure to make stops on defense. “We have a lot of work to do. Defensively we’re not very good.”
Justin Cobbs had 20 points and 11 assists for the Golden Bears (11-4, 2-0 Pac-12), who shot 52.6 percent and had five players in double figures. Richard Solomon added 16 points and nine rebounds.
Oregon players acknowledged Matthews wasn’t a big part of the scouting report.
“His first couple of shots were wide open, and he got it going,” Altman said. “For a guy averaging seven points to score 32, he had a great night.”
Joseph Young scored 29 points for the Ducks (13-2, 1-2), who went 5 of 19 from 3-point range and dropped their second consecutive game after opening 13-0. Oregon was held to 40.6 percent shooting overall.
Young went 16 for 17 at the free throw line, but for all the good things he did on offense, Altman said there were just as many mistakes on defense.
“That was a total team breakdown defensively,” Altman said. “It just wasn’t one guy.”
Matthews scored 20 points in the first half and kept up his strong shooting in the second, knocking down his third 3-pointer a minute in to give Cal a seven-point lead. The Ducks started chipping away, though, going on a 10-0 run to take a 52-49 lead with 16:12 to go, capped by a 3-pointer from Mike Moser and a jumper from Young.
“Thirty-two points on the road for a freshman, that’s pretty good stuff,” California coach Mike Montgomery said. “He kept us going in the first half.”
Oregon took a one-point lead with 11:56 to go, but Cal went on an 8-0 spurt and led 67-60. Cal took its first 10-point lead on a dunk from Solomon with 2:52 remaining, and the Golden Bears held on down the stretch.
Cal kept Oregon at bay in the first half. The Golden Bears led 14-11 just 5 minutes into the game, thanks to five early turnovers by Oregon that led to eight points.
The Ducks took the lead with 11:25 to go after a fast-break layup from Damyean Dotson and a putback by Moser, who finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
The momentum was short-lived, though, with Cal going on a 9-2 run. Cobbs hit a pullup jumper, then Tyrone Wallace followed with a quick 3-pointer with 10:30 left in the half. Richard Amardi briefly stopped the run with a basket, but two free throws by Solomon and a layup from Wallace pushed Cal’s lead to 32-26 with 8 minutes left.
Oregon tied the score twice more, but its nine first-half turnovers helped the Golden Bears take a 46-42 lead into the break.
Johnathan Loyd scored 14 points for Oregon.
Wallace finished with 14 points and four steals for Cal, which last lost to the Ducks on Feb. 9, 2008.
“It gives us some confidence to know we are capable of beating a good team, first and foremost,” he said. “I thought we did a good job, by and large.”
Cal has won six straight games in Eugene.
Montgomery tied Gary Williams for 26th on the Division I wins list with 668. He also has won his last 15 games against the Ducks, dating to when Montgomery coached at Stanford.