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Basketball: Arizona game thread

FINAL SCORE: Arizona 76, Cal 72. Robertson lost the ball out of bounds on a baseline drive on Cal’s possession after the timeout with 14.5 seconds left. Robertson then fouled Wise, who made two FTs. Randle’s long 3-pointer missed. Wise finished with 30 points, including 9-for-9 from FT line. Williams had 15 points and 11 rebounds. Robertson scored a career-high 27 points and had six rebounds, Christopher scored 19, but shot 5-for-19, Randle also had 15, but shot 1-for-8 from 3-PT. Teams are now tied for first place (6-3) at the halfway point of the Pac-10 schedule. Cal plays Thursday at USC.

0:14.5 2nd H: Cal is inbounding under the basket after a driving layup and free throw by Wise gave Arizona a 74-72 lead. Robertson missed a 3-pointer for the Bears, but Boykin grabbed the rebound. Az knocked the ball out of bounds to Cal.

0:40.4 2nd H: Randle just made three FTs for a 72-71 lead after coming around a screen and drawing a foul call against Wise on the 3-point try. Replay didn’t show a lot of contact, and the fans were not happy. Arizona timeout.

0:45.6 2nd H: Arizona just took a 71-69 lead on a drive by Wise, who has 25 points. Williams tied it previously with a dunk off a no-look pass from Horne. Cal has not scored on its past three possessions. Monty took timeout. Cal has 28 seconds on the shot clock.

2:41 2nd H: Wise just made two FTs, cutting Cal’s lead to 69-67. Robertson had hit two of his own eight seconds earlier — he’s 10-for-10 from the line with a career-high 27.  Cal is 17-for-21 from the FT line — only misses by Amoke, who is 0-for-4.

3:48 2nd H: Oh, this is getting good.  Cal leads 67-65 after a layup by Amoke off a feed from Boykin. Robertson playing a super game — under control and he has a career-high 25 points. Christopher has 15 and eight rebounds, Randle 12 and six assists, Amoke eight points. Wise has 21 points, but zero assists. Williams has 13 points, 10 rebounds — he is quite a freshman.

6:54 2nd H: Arizona back in front 59-57 after a 3-pointer by Wise and a pullup jumper by Jones, then a driving layup by Robertson, who has 20 points. Randle is going back in for Gutierrez, who just picked up his third foul.  Randle is 5-for-13 (1-for-7 from 3PT) and Christopher 5-for-17, despite making those two 3-pointers. Cal is shooting 39.6 percent and only down 2 points. Can a veteran team make big plays on the road when it matters against a fired up, but young team and a very loud crowd?

8:15 2nd H: Cal trailed 52-47 when Christopher suddenly came to life on offense. He hit back-to-back 3-pointers to get the Bears within 54-43, then Amoke converted a fastbreak layup off a feed from Gutierrez and Cal leads 55-54. Randle is resting.

11:58 2nd H: A short jumper by Randle tied it at 43-all. Game is getting tense. Fans all over the refs. Players begging for calls. Coaches working it. Cal is shooting 33 percent, Arizona 35 percent. Cal is 3-for-14 in the half, Arizona 3-for-13. But one or both of these teams will be in first place in about a half-hour.

12:59 2nd H: Gutierrez appears to be hurting — and he’s coming out for PC. Arizona leads 43-41 after a long 3-pointer from the right corner by Kevin Parrom, who had made one all year.

14:46 2nd H: Max to the rescue — just converted a pass from Randle for a layup, got fouled and made the FT for a 40-39 score. And he quieted down the place, at least for now. Gutierrez is in for Christopher.

15:43 2nd H: Cal cannot make a shot. The Bears are 1-for-10 in the half. They are taking some bad shots, but also misfiring on shots they usually make. Arizona leads 40-36. Max continues to be a defensive influence and has three blocks and three rebounds. But Randle is shooting 4-for-12, Christopher 2-for-14 and Boykin 1-for-5. Those three guys had 71 points at ASU. Robertson is 5-for-8 and has 16 points. And even he just missed an open shot in rhythm.

18:06 2nd H: Second half starting very badly for the Bears. Wise hit a 3-pointer to open things, Williams made two free throws, Robertson was whistled for his third foul (18:22 left) on a charge, and Williams just scored again on a postup. It’s 39-34 Arizona. Boykin, who is defending Williams and is just 1-for-5 from the floor, is coming out for Max.

CELEBRITY SIGHTING: Bill Murray is sitting courtside. His son is a grad assistant for Arizona.

HALFTIME: Cal 34, Arizona 32. Cal scored the final six points of the half, four of them by Robertson, who has a game-high 14 points three days after going scoreless at ASU. He broke the 32-all tie with a nice up-and-under move in the lane. A blocked shot by Max led to a fastbreak layup by Randle moments earlier. Randle has 10 points, but is just 1-for-5 from 3-point range. Christopher is just 2-for-11 from the field — the Bears will need more from him. Wise has 11 points for Arizona, including three 3-pointers. Cal got out of the half without Randle, Robertson or Gutierrez picking up his third foul. The Bears converted 38.2 percent in the half, Arizona 40.7. Rebounds are even. Arizona has eight turnovers, Cal just five.

3:53 1st H: Tied at 28-all. Arizona took the lead on a 3-pointer by Wise against Cal’s zone defense, then Lamont Jones converted a fastbreak layup for a 28-26 lead with 4:18 left. Cal badly needed a basket, and Christopher got it for them with a strong drive to the hoop.  Looks like Randle is going back in; Robertson remains on the sideline. D.J. Seeley also in for the first time. So it’s those two plus PC, Boykin and Amoke.

5:09 1st H: Cal leads 26-23, but the offense is stalling. Randle and Robertson each on the bench with two fouls, replaced by Brandon Smith and Nikola Knezevic. Cal has one field goal in the past 4 1/2 minutes. Both teams now shooting 40 percent.

7:45 1st H: Cal leads 24-20. The pace is slowing a bit — hot shooting has cooled. Monty put Max Zhang in a couple minutes ago, perhaps mostly because Sean Miller already has gone nine deep and Cal had used just six players. Can’t risk tiring everyone out for the second half. But Max just blocked a shot, so he’s having an impact. Randle leads Cal with eight points, Fogg has seven for Az.

10:28 1st H: Cal leads 22-17 and was up by seven a moment ago after another 3-pointer by Robertson — yes, he’s back and apparently OK. Both teams are playing well offensively — each shooting 50 percent. Wise has a pair of 3-pointers for Arizona, and Randle has one for the Bears to go with two by Robertson.

15:08 1st H: Arizona leads 9-7. Cats shooting 4-for-8, Cal 3-for-7. Robertson, who was scoreless at ASU, hit a 3-pointer on his first shot of the game, with 16:54 left, but is coming out for Gutierrez. Appears to be dealing with something around his lower right hip. Is flat on his stomach, getting attention from the medical staff courtside.  Williams is impressive — already has two baskets including a physical drive past Boykin for a layup.

MONTY IN THE DESERT: We were just reminded of this interesting but possibly irrelevant factoid — Mike Montgomery has won the past five times he’s coached in this building, last year with Cal, and his final four seasons at Stanford through 2003-04.

STARTING LINEUPS: No surprises. Cal goes with Jerome Randle, Patrick Christopher, Theo Robertson, Omondi Amoke and Jamal Boykin. Arizona’s starters: Kevin Parrom, Nic Wise, Kyle Fogg, Derrick Williams and Jamelle Horne.

THE NATIONAL ANTHEM: A classic rendition by a UA professor who apparently didn’t think Francis Scott Key’s lyrics were adequate and made up a few of his own, including “perilous skies.” Amazing.

GREETINGS: Hi everyone. We’re here at Arizona’s McKale Center after a lovely morning drive through the desert from Phoenix.

Tipoff is about a half-hour away. In the meantime, perhaps some pre-game reading — here’s my story from this morning’s editions.

Will check back when we have starting lineups. Enjoy your Sunday.

Jeff Faraudo

  • Dan

    As I watch the Bears, I continue to see that they do not get the premise of intelligent shot selection. Most troubling is that the seniors are some of the worst offenders. They take outside/3 point shots early in the shot clock that they could easily get later on, without trying to pass the ball around to see if they could get an easier, higher percentage shot (dunk, layup, etc.)

    Most troubling is that they also don’t seem to get that when they have missed several of these and are cold, that they need to work harder to run some offense for an better shot, they continue to fire away early. This is their biggest downside. This surprises me on a Montgomery coached team.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    Part of that, Dan, is because the quick shot is part of Randle’s game, something Monty noticed last season when he took over (don’t think the next point guard will have those liberties). Being small, I think Randle grew up often doing a quick shot because the suprise element prevents blocks or closing defenders. With his shooting percentage, it is acceptable.

    Does anyone else see a little Chris Mullen in Robertson’s game? It took a while for me to realize what was so familiar. It isn’t the shooting. It is the way he can do the seemingly slow dribble in traffic without turnovers because he has great position and shields the ball so well. He has done it a couple times this game already. You expect to see a TO (camera angles making it look like he is surrounded), but he just calmly takes a couple dribbles and gets to where he wants to be, very similar to how Mullin used to get by people on the baseline.

  • SteveNTexas

    Here we are in the 2nd half with 4 seniors down by 5 to a team with 4 freshmen. I still expect us to win but its not fun watching.

  • Dan

    Hey Wisdom Cow- you in pins and needles a bit, like I am?

    I don’t challenge quick shots all the time, especially with Randle. I question that when Cal is struggling on the offensive end and has missed several quick trigger shots, they need to refrain for a few trips and try to run some plays and move the ball. It lacks intelligence you expect from a senior-led team. Randle does it alot, but so does Christopher. Late in the first half today, Patrick is struggling as is the team, and he came down twice a fired up an early 3, both misses.

    Also, the several of the seniors are not stepping up again today- they are shooting and playing poorly. Very disappointing. Thank goodness for Theo today- you knew he wouldn’t have 2 bad games in arow.

    The gamn is still well within reach, but they continue to shoot and play poorly. We’ll see what they’re made of here. A win here is big.

    Cal was ahead in the first half and in control, but mnay trips down the floor they fired up shots very early.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    Yeah, they are certainly struggling. No pins and needles, here. I have tried to articulate my feeling with this squad, but it is hard. I usually have a feel for our team, but these guys are just too inconsistent.

    Nothing can be relied on by anyone really. Normally, we at least knoe Jorge will provide an energy boost and create a run or two in the process. Since his injury, those defense inspired runs have been absent. Our runs are because we string shots together, instead.

    I don’t like the feel to this game at all. The play on both sides is disjointed. Things tend to go the home teams way, usually because of some calls, when that happens.

    Still hoping for a good run, though, but not really expecting it.

  • SteveNTexas

    Wisdom I still expect us to win – we have to be able to beat a young 11-9 team. Still this has to be the worst #1 and #2 Pac Ten teams since its been the Pac 10.

    8 min left and its hard to watch.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    Agreed on all counts but expecting a win. I won’t be suprised if we pull it out at all, but it is betting on 3 point shots, not defense or spacing induced offensive flow. It feels like a game of chance.

  • milo

    WTF – Nic Wise just blatantly hammered Jorge TWICE and no call? Utter BS. Does UA still have homer refs from the Lute days? I guess so.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    I need to go back to Dan’s comment on shot selection. With the game tied and mentions of our shooting percentage suggesting we have played well, but just have not been hitting shots, much of that was because of poor/forced shots. With more patience (which I think we should be able to expect from a 4 senior starter sqaud) would have had this game well in hand.

    Instead, this is all about the last 3 minutes.

  • milo

    Both teams are rushing shots given the urgency and importance of the game.

    Theo is going off!

  • The Wisdom Cow

    Is anyone else going nutz over the continued use of a trap on Wise that he splits and converts on, now what, 6 of the last 7 times down the floor?

  • The Wisdom Cow

    OK, now I am nervous, 45 seconds left.

  • milo

    WTF, Pac-10 officiating again!

  • Joey

    Refs hand AZ the win. Theo gets no calls.

  • SteveNTexas

    What the announcers are thinking but can’t say on TV.

    The California Golden CHUMPS! Choking against a .500 Freshmen team,

    God do we SUCK -

  • SteveNTexas

    joey stick up your A– you say the same lame whining excuse every game – the truth is we are an over-rated bunch of chokers

    Repeat after me Joey – WE SUCK!

  • Joey

    Hard to win when Theo drives to the basket and gets fouled with no call.

  • Joey

    You should go to a game once in awhile and learn.

  • SteveNTexas

    NO Joey its hard to win when we can’t beat a team of 11-9 freshmen. This shouldn’t have been even close- its hard to win we SUCK

  • SteveNTexas

    Joey you dumbass I’ve been to 100′s of games at 5 different colleges.

    You should stop being a 5 yr old whiner- “Oh the refs made us shoot worse than a freshmen team, the refs made us play dumb the refs made us choke”

    You probably make the same excuses for your job and your idiocy. By the way did you go to the game ? No you saw it on tv

  • The Wisdom Cow

    First, the announcers seem to think AZ pulled the greatest victory known in sports, on their home floor, when they are now tie-breaker in first still needing to visit Haas.

    Second, I blame Monty for this one. Poor defensive scheme from 6 minutes to 2 minutes (that trap failed too many times and should have been scrapped after the first 3 failures).

    Third, with the refs showing the were not going to call a foul on a drive, Robertson should have elevated and shot another 3 on that last possession. If you are going to live or die by the 3, shoot the 3, don’t do a forced drive that is not your game (as I said earlier, he does a nice slow penetration, not a head down drive).

    I was bummed for Boykin, who missed 4 of those 15 footers (the last one wide open) that he has been so good with this year.

    Still a split on the road. Still tied for first. Next week is the biggest road challenge yet. A lot of games still to be played.

  • SteveNTexas

    wisdom – of course there are more games- not much wisdom there. Look at the big picture – Arizona’s freshmen will get better we will stagnate and next year be worse, not because the seniors showed us anything today but because Arizona and other younger Pac 10 teams will gain experience for their freshmen,

    Its February and we can’t beat a young 11-9 team that in any other major conference would have no chance of playing post season. The Pac 10 definitely doesn’t deserve more than one berth.

    Look at poor Conference USA which only gets one berth each year. The following teams are better than Cal

    Memphis, Houston Tulsa UAB and UTEP but only one will go- is that fair?

  • Dan

    Very pathetic. The only senior that stepped and delivered huge in crunch time was … Nic Wise.

    Randle turns the ball over, Boykin travels (he did- watched it slow twice), even Theo, who played great, just choked on that last drive.

    But I leave my final player-specific comments for Christopher. He was terrible. He shot really poorly, but that happens. But you know what? When you’re outside shot is off, STOP SHOOTING IT!! Which leads to decision making. His was awful all game. His defended 3pt shoot from the corner with 2:13 left and 32 seconds left on the shot clock when he is missing wide open shots all day, in additon to the just flat out dumb choice of situational shots he tooks all day, is really inexcusable. All game long, he stood out with his “What in the world is he thinking” decisions made this one just brutal to watch slip away.

    This was a very winnable game, they blew it. In fact, if this team was intelligent and fairly consistent and didn’t shoot so recklessly- I think Cal could have and should have won this game easily, by 10+ points. If they could have established an 8-10 point lead, which they had many chances to do so i9n both halvess, the crowd is out of it and this young UofA team likely doesn’t make a run. But, I keep going back to the fact Cal is just really not that good. If they were, they win this game.

    I read the complaining about the refs, and yeah I saw all that. But if you have watched Cal hoops for along time, what do we all expect. The Pac 10 refs are the worst, they always are. There were tons of just flat out bad calls/non-calls today- the missed elbow to Jorge’s face, then the ridiculous ensuing foul on him, the “and one” foul on Randle when Wise initiated contact on the drive and threw himself into Randle as Randle is moving and retreating- the worst I thought was the weakside block on Theo’s inside shot- the weakside defender’s (who blocked it) midsection hit Theo’s shoulders- that is a foul at any stage of the game. And it goes on. But they left it in the refs hands.

    As a final thought- they may win the Pac 10 reg. season championship, which would be awesome even in a very, very, very down year. But I would not be confident that they could win the tourney given their inconsistency and “dumb-ness” (don’t want to call it something worse, though it would be accurate). I could see a scenario where win the reg. season, don’t win the P10 Tourney and get left out of the dance. Wouldn’t that be so “Cal”? The UCLA Home loss and this one do not help. A good team would have won both those games and have a 3 game lead right now.

  • Dan

    Wisdom- Interesting take on Monty. I can’t really argue. If you can’t stop Wise with all those attempted half court traps, and all he does is split them and create an AZ offensive advantage leading to many high % AZ shots and made baskets…why keep doing it?? May not have changed the final result, but we will never know. When something isn’t working, change it- right?

    I really blamed Monty for the UCLA loss, which is the first time I have ever found anything to criticize about him. He never changed his D that game as Roll and Dragovich ran their defenders through 2 or 3 picks and were on fire shooting 3′s- that was the only way the Bruins could have gotten back in the game. Switch to a zone that extends on Roll and Dragovich so they can’t set up for wide open 3′s. Try anything- but he just sat there and changed nothing. Monty was out-coached by Howland badly in that 2nd half.

    Perhaps there is some merit- but I’ll still take Monty 100 times out of 100 over Braun.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    Gee Steve, not I like I was being a roses about our performance. If you chose to claim “we suck” than what do you call the eight teams we are ahead of in the Pac 10? We arn’t good, but we don’t suck.

    The refs kept us in this game. Both the fouls on the 3 point shots were questionable enough that I was suprised we got them on the road. One, sure, but both? AZ got away with some things, but so did we.

    I am just really dissappointed with our offense. Last year, you could see the spacing and execution. We are much more reliant on individual effort this year. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Overall, it just isn’t really enjoyable to watch. It was a close game throughout, but I did not see much good basketball.

    True to form, every time we had an advantage we pissed it away. It would be so nice to see execution when we have the lead instead of risks that invariably give the lead up.

    One last thought, I really do not know why Max doesn’t get more time. Does anyone know where we can find his splits? The defense overall is exceptionably better when he is on the floor, if only because the other team fears being blocked. He, and the D, still needs work, but it is better than the sieve they tend to be otherwise.

  • SteveNTexas

    Wisdom Cow- glad you asked “What do I call the 8 teams below us in the Pac 10?” First about half of them are only game or so behind us.

    The answer – Most of the teams below us are having off years- Arizona – all freshmen. Do you think ASU, UCLA, Stanford, USC Oregon Washington and WSU will not be better next year? They will be better and we will be worse. I call those teams younger and somewhat rebuilding. Washington is an underachiever just like us.

    Yes I know I was angry and I apologize, but the fact is we are not a good team. There is no one in our conference that deserves an NCAA berth at this point in the season.

  • Dan

    Wisdom-

    I agree with your confusion on Max’s minutes. Max has a LOT of work to do, but for him to get consistently better, he needs consistent minutes. The fact that Montgomery will never even get him off the bench in some halves of even in some games is confusing.

    Max brings the ball down too much- he brings his arms down too much- both on D, when rebounding and when he has the ball. Also, he slaps at the ball alot instead of trying to grab the ball. Though he is not real slow or really uncoordinated, he is still methodical and a step or count slow in reaction time. It is like his body and brain need to react more quickly. I think he can and will improve, but he needs gametime. Based on how he has played this year, I think he deserves minutes in every half of every game- even if just for a couple minutes, or a couple 2-3 minute stretches. I think even now if you used a +/- scoring system like hockey, the team is plus with Max on the floor.

    I think now that Montgomery has been here for awhile and the real recent comparisons to Braun are fading, we now have higher expectations of the team and of Montgomery. He is a good coach who has had alot of success, so we expect alot from him and his team. So when we see what we saw today, or what we saw vs. UCLA, or even in the win at home vs. OSU last Saturday, it is confusing and we want to comment.

    It is interesting, I have seen several comments on other forums/blogs (i.e, Wilner’s)from Stanford fans warning Cal fans to just wait and see that Montgomery isn’t as good as the general perception of him is, that he as good as I/we think he is- at least how good he was at Stanford. I watched Monty mostly vs. Braun and the Bears, and I witnessed him absolutely coach circles around Braun. I somewhat attributed these recent comments I have read to perhaps being sour grapes that Montgomery is at Cal. But who knows, maybe there is some merit to those Cardinal comments. I know I was scratching my head vs. UCLA, and your comments about trapping Wise unsuccessfully over and over and over were insightful and makes a lot of sense.

    So maybe Montgomery isn’t an “A” quality coach. But it seems like he should be making better decisions than he does at times. Still, no cpmparison to Braun, right? Huge improvement, right? I would still like to see him step it up, along w/ the players. They all had a hand in the choke job today.

  • Bears

    Montgomery is a very good coach and his depth is limited this year and a lot of the guys have nagging injuries but they could have and I think should have won this game. It was right there for them and they could not do it. A play here or there down the stretch and it’s a Bear win and 2 game pac 10 lead. Very tough to swallow. The loss to ucla and this one were games we have to win in the back stretch or these guys are going to miss their shot to win the Pac 10.
    Why was Randle in the game to let Wise abuse him again when we are up one with under 30 seconds left? Two senior PG’s in the game today and ours was outplayed. That was the main difference in the game. Wish we had Randle out and another guard in plus Max in to guard the middle during that crucial possession down the stretch. Problem is it should have never come down to that. We did not score a bucket the final 4 minutes. Free throws and that’s it. Cal had their chances and blew it. 9 games left, it’s crunch time. Every game is huge. Do these guys have it in them to raise their game? Why can’t they put it all together and have more than one or two guys play well? Very strange, I really thought this senior laden group would get better and better, they have stagnated. Guys better figure it out or you’ll miss your chance.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    Honestly Steve, I am not sure we will not be better than most of those teams next year. Much will depend on the play of Franklin as a freshman, of course, but MSF, Amoke and Max should be able to hang with every front court in the conference. The guards will be young, but talented, with Jorge having a leadership role for the team that should prove invaluable.

    Monty gets to start from scratch with players he brings in. I have ridiculed our inconsistent play all year. If any consistency appears next year, we may very well improve overall, possibly a lot.

    As for your NCAA’s venting. The Pac 10 “deserves” their auto bid. One team may squeek in as well. Vent about the 14-16 seeds about not deserving if you are really serious (I think you are more showing understandable frustration). If Cal gets in, even if they play as they did today, they would be better than at leat 12 teams in the field.

    Now, if the NCAAs were like the BCS bowls (limited spots), with our conference getting millions for poor play, I would be right next to you screaming we don’t deserve an entry.

    Right now, Cal probably gets an invite as long as we are at least #2 in the reg. season and runner up in the conference tourney. If we win both, I think it is very possible the conference only gets the auto bid, which would be embarrasing enough for the conference that we would not live it down for some time.

  • Bean

    Such negativity. Mistakes are part of basketball. No basketball team is so “smart” that they don’t make mistakes, and “smart” teams do lose to others all the time. It is easy to look at a few bad plays or a few bad matchups and condemn the players and coaches as losers and chokers. That is unduly harsh.

    Cal is not a particularly talented or deep team, but the team succeeds by giving its shooters the green light when they feel like they have a good shot, regardless of when that opportunity arises in the shot clock. Most of the time, that is a good coaching strategy for this team. On several of the turnovers, you can see what happens when players try to create opportunities that just aren’t there. Having the guard-heavy Cal rotation play free and loose is what normally works for this team. (A “smarter” armchair coach than Montgomery would have advised Jorge not to take that 3 that beat ASU and would have advised Randle not to take the 3 at UW last year that sent the game into overtime, since by some of y’all’s logic, they should have “known” that their shooting “sucked” those days.) Sometimes, especially in opposing gyms, shots don’t fall as they normally do. That has little to do with smarts or effort. It’s the way the game goes. Hard work, determination to win, and “smarts” are good values but are no guarantee of a W.

    That is why it is puzzling why so many of the comments here make it sound as though Cal should be able to dominate every opponent. How many teams with a 5’9″ point guard and no NBA talent on the front line dominate? Not a lot. As far as I’m concerned, Cal has a great bunch of characters who have worked hard on their game to maximize the talent that they have. They are overachievers, not losers. Actually, the team is meeting my expectations; not matching up well against the most athletic and long opponents (Syracuse, Kansas) but still playing well enough to win 12 or 13 games in the conference regular season. Yes, I get aggravated and frustrated by the losses and can reflect on game-changing mistakes by some player or coach, but I recognize that it’s not realistic to expect these guys to play flawlessly all the time.

    Arizona may be young, but they do not lack talent, and it’s not surprising they are 6-3 in conference. This was the first encounter with several of Arizona’s players, and I’m sure the coaches and players will take lessons from this game.

  • uh oh.

    Hey, Nic Wise is very good and nobody should have been surprised by his performance. We’d have like to see Randle be able to do a better job on him down the stretch, and keep Wise in front of him, and out of the paint. But Nic Wise is a premier point, no doubt. Credit Wise for winning his matchup of two good players.

    Also, Williams is a very athletic and big man. He was advertised as being good, and lived up to that reputation.

    Throw in some decent role players and AZ is not a bad team.

    Every time Cal is up there on the standings/rankings, everyone (including me) gets inflated expectations for this team, but it is well understood now that Cal has it’s flaws just like everyone in the Pac-10 this year. So, I’m getting used to it, and it didn’t take long to forget about the loss. We are a bit precarious with this team. I thought we could barely hang on to the lead, barely do anything.

    Not a bad team, not a bad game. Just keeping playing and we’ll be fine.

    If that game was at Haas, we win.

  • uh oh.

    Right on, Bean!!!
    Well said.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    Bean, I have to disagree only with respect what I consider a gross error by Monty in keeping with the trap scheme against Wise when it was not just ineffective, but leading to easy AZ baskets down the stretch. Was the team trying? Yes. Am I mad that they did not execute? Not mad, it happens, just disappointed. But when a strategy isn’t working at all, you do not stick with it, especially come crunch time, especially on the road.

    I think of this mistake in the same regard as when Tedfors needed to call a TO to figure out he needed to go for 2 when down by 16 near the end of the game. It was the type of unneeded mental mistake by the coach (who we expect more from) that put our squad in a more difficult position then they should have been.

  • GoldenBV

    Great post Bean.

  • rollonubears

    basically, theo was fouled and didn’t get the call. that killed the momentum and took the heart and fight right out of the bears. there was a mental lapse from that point on. monty needs to better prepare these guys for the mental aspect of the road game. also, when the bears get a big lead, you can just feel the momentum slip away. usually it’s a missed shot followed by an open 3 from the opponents. i wish coaches would call TO immediately, when that stuff happens. regroup, and tell the kids to pretend they’re DOWN by 10 instead of UP by 10. tell them to play tougher, not play to lose. that’s the biggest problem with the football and basketball programs. we don’t put teams away. when you get up big on the road (and we almost always have), you can’t shift into protect mode. keep playing relentless D. if you get called for a foul, fine. that keeps the momentum from shifting the same as a timeout. but more than anything, in the pac10 on the road, if it’s close, don’t expect any calls to go your way. we let AZ play with us for too long in the second half, and we had to rely on the officials near the end. that’s a bad strategy. by the way, i am tired of the bears getting called for traveling when they’re dribbling the basketball. the officials always seem to think “wow, that was too good of a move to be legal, so it must have been a travel.” you reply in slomo, and you’ll notice we almost always get screwed on that. also, how can zhang be over the back, ever?

  • David

    Az Fan here…..As a hoop fan, it was a good game. Several tie scores and lead changes. Cal is a good team and will represent the Pac-10 in the NCAA tournament. Good luck the rest of the season.