Playing one half is usually a very bad idea, especially at the highest level of college basketball. You might get away with it once or twice, but it’s usually something that can come back and bite you. Well, Cal played one half tonight, just like they did on Thursday. And they got away with it again, as they defeated the Oregon State Beavers 87-76.
This game sounds like it was all sorts of crazy ( I couldn’t watch it). There was 5 technical fouls on players, two on Cal and three on Oregon State. The Bears shot 63% from the field and 50% from three point land. The Bears had to make another huge comeback to win. All in all, a game that sounds like it was very emotional and entertaining.
The Bears fell behind 10-1 to start the game, and they spent the rest of the half trying to make up that hole. After a Haynes lay-up with 10:33 left in the first, the Bears trailed by 14, 30-16, and were on the brink of falling out of the game. Instead, they made a few plays and got some help from a technical on Jared Cunningham, which allowed them to cut the deficit to 44-38 at the half. They tied it up soon after at 48, and wouldn’t let the Beavers get any momentum from there on. Tight defense late helped the Bears pull away rather decisively with 87-76 final margin. OSU scored 2 points in the final 4 minutes of the contest.
You know how I dismissed Oregon State guard James Starks, saying that “struggles at shooting the ball but gives them good minutes off the bench”? Instead of doing that, he started and played 33 minutes while hitting 4 of his 9 3 point attempts. This comes from a kid who played 51.8% of the minutes this year, and shot 28% from 3 point land. Sometimes, I’m dumb. But on that note, the Bears played good defense on everybody but Starks. Cunningham wasn’t very efficient, and neither were their other players. They did have some success getting points in the post, but that was it.
The Bears dominated the post when they were on offense. It doesn’t show in the 4 offensive rebounds, but Cal got whatever they wanted on the inside. Kamp, Sanders-Frison, Bak, and Solomon combined to shoot 14-17 from the field. They got to the line 18 times. When you’re getting that much production from your post players, it’s hard not to win.
The 1-3-1 did give the Cal guards some problems, but the backcourt still played well. Jorge turned it over 6 times, which is a big negative, but the other guards handled the ball pretty well. They passed the ball well, with Gutierrez racking up 9 assists while Smith had 8. Gutierrez also gave them big problems on defense, with 4 steals and 2 blocks. But now on to Allen Crabbe, who had a great night. His 3 pointer and jumper late were crucial to taking the Beavers out of the game. He scored 26 points, shot 75% from 3, 66% from the field, and grabbed 5 rebounds. Crabbe was terrific.
This is another big win, as Cal earns a road sweep for the first time since the 2008-2009 season. If Cal can get a victory over Stanford next week, the season has to be a success with a 10-8 conference record, a 17-13 overall, and a likely fourth place finish in the Pac-10. With a loss, the Bears are a less impressive 9-9 and would likely take fifth. So go Bears and beat Stanford!