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Basketball: Bears’ post-mortem

I’ll have more looking ahead at next season in the coming days, but here are a few post-game notes and observations after the Bears’ 84-71 loss to Maryland:

— There was much agreement in the Cal dressing room that Greivis Vasquez’s three-point play on the put-back/FT after two missed FTs by teammate Adrian Bowie was the game’s key play. Cal had climbed within seven, but suddenly it was 10, and that play triggered an 11-3 run that put things out of reach.

— The play was a symptom, the players agreed, of a season-long problem: a lack of toughness with the game on the line. Mike Montgomery was OK with the fact that this hurt a bit — he’s hoping it will be a painful off-season reminder as his players are working out for next year.

— Patrick Christopher said he may test the waters of the NBA by entering his name in the draft, attending the camps, and listening to what scouts have to say. If he doesn’t hire an agent, Christopher can withdraw his name and return to school. Smart money says this is what will happen, but he has nothing to lose by letting the scouts tell him what they think.

— Christopher shot just 4-for-14 (and was 0-for-7 from 3-PT). He said it was not the result of fatigue from chasing around Vasquez at the defensive end. Monty speculated that might have contributed. But Christopher has struggled with his shot down the stretch, shooting 30 percent from the field over the final foour games, including 4-for-26 from 3-point range.

— Jerome Randle had 14 points, but only three in the second half. He has moved to 20th on Cal’s career list with 1,184 points. Christopher is 25th at 1,154. Randle also is tied with Ayinde Ubaka for third on the Bears’ career 3-point list with 160.

— Theo Roberton was the Bears’ best offensive weapon in the second half, when he scored 16 of his team-high 22 points.

— The Bears, who obviously rely heavily on the 3-point shot, were 7-for-24. That doesn’t get it done, and they really have no alternatives. Will be interesting to see whether they can diversify next year with basically the same personnel. 

— Sophomore forward Omondi Amoke, who suffered a concussion in practice Sunday, was given clearance to play by the Cal medical staff,  leaving the decision in the hands of Montgomery. Amoke said afterward he wanted to play. He got in for 3 minutes, had 3 rebounds and a blocked shot.

— Everyone else I talked with — including D.J. Seeley and Max Zhang — said they plan to return. No word on third-year sophomore center Taylor Harrison, who has missed the past two seasons with serious knee issues. I’m still thinking he may take a medical retirement, allowing him to finish school and the program to recoup his scholarship.

— Harper Kamp said he might need minor off-season surgery on his right knee, a problem all season. He plans to talk to the medical staff and wants to make a decision quickly, so he can began the rehab process ASAP. In any case, it won’t be anything major, he said.

Jeff Faraudo