With Theo Robertson and Harper Kamp on the shelf trying to get healthy, the onus falls on a couple complementary players to hike up their production and help take the heat off senior guards Jerome Randle and Patrick Christopher.
The Bears, who face Jacksonville on Tuesday night at Haas Pavilion, need something more from sophomore guard Jorge Gutierrez, now starting in place of Robertson, and from junior center Markhuri Sanders-Frison.
Mostly, the Bears need them on the floor.
The two have combined for 43 points, 36 rebounds . . . and 31 personal fouls through Cal’s first four games.
Sanders-Frison is averaging just 20 minutes per outing as a starter, mostly because he has been in foul trouble every game. He accumulated four fouls in each of Cal’s first three games, then fouled out last Friday night against Ohio State in the third-place game of the Coaches vs. Cancer event at Madison Square Garden. Gutierrez also fouled out of the Ohio State game.
The Bears simply don’t have the depth to afford either of these guys spending long stretches on the bench, nursing foul trouble.
“Markhuri is over-helping, getting himself in foul trouble with needless reach fouls,” coach Mike Montgomery said. “Jorge played (about) 24 minutes (per game) last year and could could go in and be very, very aggressive knowing that you were going to have some time off because you’re not a starter.
“If he’s going to play (more), then he’s got to recognize he can’t be as aggressive, perhaps, in the first part of the game. Save your fouls, then go after things,” Montgomery said. “If you’re down some people, you have to start thinking in terms of, `How do I stay on the floor?’ ”
Montgomery said it’s primarily a matter of displaying more sound fundamentals on defense. While Sanders-Frison may be guilty of reaching, Gutierrez was out of position on several fouls against Ohio State, Montgomery said.
JACKSONVILLE SCOUT: The Dolphins (0-1) of the Atlantic Sun Conference lost 87-61 at Florida State in its only game to date . . . Jacksonville played non-conference games against FSU, Georgia Tech, Georgetown and Ohio State last season, losing by an average of fewer than seven points per game, to the way to an 18-14 overall record . . . Senior guard Ben Smith was named preseason Atlantic Sun Player of the Year after averaging 17.0 ppg a year ago. Smith enters Tuesday’s game with 1,336 career points . . . Senior forward Lehmon Colbert has scored 1,127 career points . . . The Dolphins are “small, quick, athletic, real good at point of attack,” according to Montomery. “They play four-out, pass and cut, some pressure, probably some zone.” . . . Jacksonville was voted by both the coaches and media as the Atlantic Sun favorite.
ETCETERA: This is the first meeting between Cal and Jacksonville, which is not to be confused with Jacksonville State, the alma mater of former ABA/NBA star center Artis Gilmore . . . Randle ranks 15th on Cal’s career scoring list with 1,275 points and needs 17 to move past Dave Butler . . . Although he has not started a game, sophomore Omondi Amoke entered the week tied for sixth in the Pac-10 in rebounding at 7.3 per game, owing in part to his career-high 15-rebound performance against Ohio State . . . Even given the Bears’ difficult schedule, here’s a stat that won’t make Monty happy: The Bears rank last in the Pac-10 in scoring defense at 75.5 ppg allowed.
IN QUOTES: “He was probably nervous. I would be, too. A freshman in the Garden. He’s used to being guarded every day by Jerome, who is 5-8. Now he’s going against guys 6-7.” — Montgomery on freshman guard Brandon Smith’s rough time at Madison Square Garden.
TIPOFF: 7:30 p.m.
Starters Ht Yr Pts Rebs
PF Jamal Boykin 6-8 Sr. 9.8 7.0
C Markhuri Sanders-Frison 6-8 Jr. 4.5 5.8
SG Jorge Gutierrez 6-2 So. 6.3 3.3
SG Patrick Chrstopher 6-5 Sr. 13.8 3.5
PG Jerome Randle 5-10 Sr. 22.8 3.5*
F Omondi Amoke 6-7 So. 5.0 7.3
C Maz Zhang 7-2 So. 3.7 3.7
Starters Ht Yr Pts Rebs
SF Lehmon Colbert 6-6 Sr. 5.3 3.0
C Glenn Powell 6-5 Fr. 0.0 2.0
SF Ayron Hardy 6-5 Jr. 2.0 2.0
SG Travis Cohn 6-2 Jr. 9.0 1.0
PG Ben Smith 5-10 Sr. 17.0 1.0*
SG Chris Edwards 6-1 So. 6.0 1.0
PF Chris Rozier 6-6 Fr. 6.0 3.0
* – Assists