Colorado is a very good team and belong in the NCAA Tournament. California is a decent team playing in the tournament they deserved to be in. Add those two things together and include the fact the game is played in Colorado, you got a recipe for disaster. The Bears fought admirably, but they ultimately ran out of gas midway through the second half and fell apart.
Cal really seemed to fall apart after the break, as a 3 point game was blown into a double digit one very quickly. By the 14:24 mark, Cal was down 12. Jorge Gutierrez would get hurt at the time, and for all intents and purposes the season was over. The deficit would be briefly cut to single digits, but by the end the Colorado bench had been cleared.
I’m not going to harp too much on the negatives, just try to focus on the positives. Emerson Murray played another solid game. Bak Bak played fantastically and grabbed 11 rebounds, including 5 on the offensive glass. He won’t be Sanders-Frison, but he could be a very good third big. Kamp played pretty well. Smith took great care of the ball. Gutierrez kept the team afloat with 16 points in the first half. Allen Crabbe had 9 points; to say that we’re disappointed with that shows how far he’s come.
Now it’s time for a bit of a post-mortem. I’m sure I’ll write a lot more words about this season, but here it goes. This team had nothing going into the year. A defensive stopper, a single dimensional big guy, and a point guard who was completely overmatched were the only players that returned from a year ago. A big guy who couldn’t score very much earlier in his career coming off knee surgery was expected to be among the team’s stars. A solid but not overwhelming recruiting class came in. With that, the Bears would be happy to get out of the cellar. Instead, the team won 18 games and achieved fourth in the conference. That’s a testament to the job Montgomery and the players did. Congratulations on a great season.
A tough loss, but it was largely expected and shouldn’t put any disappointment on a great season. Next year should be a great one for Cal basketball. For now, we shift our attention to Cal baseball. Go Bears!