Basketball: ASU tickets nearly gone

It’s possible . . . drum roll, please . . . that Cal could have a sellout for Saturday’s Pac-10 showdown with Arizona State.

Cal tells me they have about 200 tickets left and the ticket office is hoping to sell the rest before the noon tipoff.

By the way, Mike Montgomery was pleased with the atmosphere Thursday after being occasionally frustrated by smaller crowds at times this season. The Arizona game drew 10,545 — the second-biggest crowd of the season at Haas Pavilion.

“There was clearly a difference because the students showed up and they filled the section up,” Montgomery said. “It’s not a push to put people in the stands. Look, we’ve got a chance to win the conference championship, `Why don’t you come out?’ We’d like to get to the point where people appreciate good basketball, they appreciate the effort being put in and it may get to be something they do every game. That’s where you’re trying to get with the thing.

“I think we could feel the energy last night — there were just more people,” he said. “It’s tough with a 6 o’clock game. Let’s face it, you’ve got to try to get through the tunnel, across the bridge, find a good place to park. It’s just hard. They were late getting here, but the crowd was better. It was good.”

Cal is 30-3 at home the past two seasons, but has sold out just one game in the 11,877-seat Haas Pavilion. That was the UCLA game a year ago.

Jeff Faraudo