Basketball: Duke game thread

FINAL SCORE: Duke 68, Cal 53. Bears finish with a season-low point total — previous was 62. Boykin led Cal with 13 points. Randle (12), Robertson (10) and Christopher (2) combined for 24 — got to be their combined season low. Bears finish 24-11. Duke goes to Houston and the Sweet 16.

1:00 2nd H: Monty is letting his five seniors, including Knezevic, play it out.

4:29 2nd H: Sanders-Frison has fouled out. Max is in. MSF finished with seven points, equaling his best. Zoubek hit one of two and it’s 62-45, Duke’s biggest lead. Gutierrez is back in.

4:50 2nd H: MSF just got his fourth PF. And he’s the only Cal player to score in the past 5 minutes.

5:53 2nd H: Christopher just got his third foul. Singler gets three shots: FT, FT, miss. It’s 58-45.

6:35 2nd H: Duke leads 56-45. Sanders-Frison has Cal’s last seven points and has seven for the game. Cal is battling but cannot get over the hump because offense comes so hard. Christopher has two points, Robertson has four fouls and time is running down on the Bears. The Blue Devils are maintaining their hold on things despite the fact that Scheyer and Singler are a combined 2-for-14 from the 3-point line. Robertson is coming back in.Why not?

8:36 2nd H: Gutierrez just went down hard — seemed a bit out of it for a few seconds. He’s come out for Knezevic.

9:26 2nd H: Foul No. 3 on MSF — he’s trying, but he just can’t help it. Duke leads 54-40 after two FTs by Scheyer.

10:42 2nd H: Robertson just picked up No. 4 and is out for MSF.

11:32 2nd H: Duke just extended the lead to 48-37, thanks to a tipin by 7-1 Zoubek, then a layup by the Duke center. Singler and Scheyer are not making shots (each just 1-for-6), but Duke has too many ways to attack you, and the Bears are finding too few.

13:10 2nd H: Robertson just got PF No. 3.

13:41 2nd H: Duke has missed six straight shots but Cal cannot make a move and still trails 44-35.

15:02 2nd H: Duke leads 44-35 after back-to-back 3-pointers by Randle and Robertson. Gutierrez drew his third foul on what appeared (on the replay) to be a charge.

HALFTIME GUEST: Roxy Bernstein has ex-Cal player Solomon Hughes on his halftime show right now on 1550-AM. Hughes is attending Georgia, working on a PhD in educational psychology and playing golf. A good guy.

HALFTIME SCORE: Duke 37, Cal 24. It’s not over, but Duke is doing pretty much what it wants. Cal’s first-half point total equals its lowest of the season. Duke is shooting 50 percent and has a 17-9 rebounding edge. New, official halftime stats have Duke with a 17-14 rebounding edge, and show Cal with three offensive boards, instead of just one. Bears have seven turnovers. Randle has nine points, but Christopher and Robertson are each 1-for-4. Cal does not win when two of those three are off their games.

3:04 1st H: A couple other numbers that are telling — Cal has one offensive rebound and is 1-for-6 from 3-PT.

3:25 1st H: Duke leads 31-19 and is taking charge a bit. These next 3 1/2 minutes are critical for the Bears. They can hang tough or let Duke pull away before the half. Bears have missed five straight shots, two of them by Christopher, who has come up short on three attempts. Very few open 3-point looks, just as Montgomery predicted. Duke has a 16-9 rebounding edge. Gutierrez, MSF back in for Randle, Max.

7:52 1st H: Duke leads 22-17. Randle has seven points for Cal, but Christopher has missed the only shot he’s taken and Robertson has two points. Cal is shooting 57 percent (8-for-14) but trailing because it has six turnovers. Nolan Smith hurting Cal with nine points, including a couple strong, quick drives to the hoop. Max Zhang is checking in for MSF.

10:12 1st H: Gutierrez came out with 10:22 left after getting his second personal foul. The refs just warned Monty about something.

11:51 1st H: Duke leads 16-11. Cal is shooting 5-for-9, but has four turnovers . . . and played most of the first 7-plus minutes without one of its best players. Duke is shooting 7-for-13 and has three offensive rebounds.

12:44 1 st H: Christopher at the scorer’s table, waiting to come in. Apparently suffered a cut above his left eye.

15:21 1st H: Duke jumped out to a 6-0 lead and was killing Cal on the offensive glass. But it’s 6-6 now and Cal has the ball after Gutierrez forced a turnover. Still no sign of Christopher, who went to the locker room, apparently to get some medical attention. Markhuri Sanders-Frison is coming in (for Gutierrez) to provide a little muscle. Duke is brutally physical, especially Zoubek, who nearly separated Knezevic’s head from his body with a wicked pick. 

19:24 1st H: Christopher just came out because he is bleeding. Nikola Knezevic in.

STARTING LINEUPS: No surprises. Cal goes with Jerome Randle, Patrick Christopher, Jorge Gutierrez, Theo Robertson and Jamal Boykin. Duke will start Nolan Smith, Jon Scheyer, Kyle Singler, Lance Thomas and Brian Zoubek.

THEY’RE ON THE FLOOR: Both teams have just taken the floor for warmups. The PA man has informed the crowd that tipoff will take place at 5:25 p.m. EDT. So 2:35, if you’re scoring from home.

GREETINGS: Back here at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, watching the final few moments of Cornell’s very impressive dismantling of Wisconsin. Final score: 87-69, and it wasn’t that close most of the second half.

Here’s something you probably did not know — heck, I didn’t know it until checking a few minutes ago: If Cal beats Duke this afternoon, it will become the only school to have an unbeaten record (with more than one game) against the Blue Devils in NCAA Tournament. The Bears would be 2-0 vs. Duke if it happens.

There was an Artis Gilmore sighting in the arena a few minutes ago — the 7-foot-2 former All-America center for Jacksonville is one of history’s most underrated college big men. Along with Omar Samhan, of course. (Omar and the Gaels are featured on AOL’s Fan House site: “Coolest Cinderella Ever.”)

I’ll be back  in a few minutes with lineups and other stuff you simply cannot live without.

Jeff Faraudo

  • Rollonubears

    I cat believe we’ve only taken 10 3s against this team of tree trunks.

  • Rollonubears

    You gotta play your a game to be a sweet 16 team. We’re just not doing it. Come on bears. Just once, surprise somebody.

  • joey

    Singlar looks like a ghost.

  • Rollonubears

    Did the announcer really just say msf is at fault for “the extra chest?” eff this whole tournament.

  • joey

    Great season Bears! Unfortunate Harper was out this year and Jordan didn’t come back. Also too bad all the other injuries we had earlier in the season but for the most part Cal was a great team lacking some inside size. They definitely worked hard to get where they are.

    Jeff, thanks for your outstanding coverage and insight all year. Go Bears!

  • Dan

    Also, we’re in the penalty early. If we can the right guys to the line, we score with the clock stopped.

    I’m sorry, Boykin, though stinking alot, is at least working his tail off. The “Big” 3 are the little 3 today. Bad way to end their careers. A loss isn’t the end of the world, but at least go out playing well.

    I guess we shouldn’t be surprised- this team laid plenty of eggs this season- UCLA, @$C, @OSU, etc.

  • milo

    Well lads, Duke is good. Cal got shafted on the un-called foul to Christoper in the opening play. That stole any momentum needed.

    Still, Cal had a great season.

    Go Bears!

  • The Wisdom Cow

    Anyone watch the ref count to six while Jorge was all over the Duke PG. No 5 second call. I usually don’t buy into the crap east coasters say, but, my god, Duke is treated like spoiled princes by the refs.

  • Dan

    Oh, well- a LOT of work to do to get ready for next season. All these returning uys need to improve a LOT. I also hope the incoming freshmen are really good.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    rollon, that “extra chest” was into an extended elbow, no less. Duke is a better team, but that doesn’t mean the refs didn’t screw us.

  • Dan

    CBS just mercifully saved us from watchiong more of the implosion.

    You know, those bad losses hurt becuase you only get an 8 seed. If we won a few more and hadn;t gaaked the Pac 1- Tourney final, maybe we are a 5 or 6 seed, maybe we are in San Jose. We definitely don’t have to play a 1 seed like Duke this early.

    St. Mary’s, with their lower seed, definitely got the better draw. But they also showed up and played their game, they have some some big guys. and their guys didn’t wilt under the pressure like Cal did today.

    But Duke is sure good, but why wouldn’t they be? They get anybody they want, kind of like SC in football- but you have to actually go to class at Duke, and they don’t pay the kids.

  • MikeD

    well, CBS and the NCAA get their team into the next round.

  • abe

    we need size. we need depth. we have a one dimensional offense and that is too easy to defend. we need interior presence. so Mike go get some big bodies.

  • joey

    Cal’s 5 seniors are total class!

  • Will

    Thank you Jamal, Jerome, Nikola, Patrick and Theo. Class acts who have brought basketball back to Berkeley. Next year will be tough, but with the great recruits coming in, I fully expect to be in contention within 2 or 3 years. GO BEARS

  • MikeD

    thanks Bears, quite a ride this season

  • Larry

    I’m proud of my Bears. This is a good foundation for a new Mike Montgomery Era! We’ll be better in the next few years. We do need a solid big or 2, but Cal had a good season. I wish we could have beat Duke and gotten to the sweet 16, but overall, this season was a success!

    Now, let the football season begin!


  • TakeOffThatRedShirt

    a great season for the bears. 24 wins and beating slick rick in the tourney.

    great job staying classy and fighting hard in a very unfairly called game.

  • Larry

    Oh yeah, thanks Jeff.

  • Dan

    We were so outclassed and outsized today, and the 3 other Duke participants in the zebra stripes just made it all the more frustrating. We looked like a bunch of munchkins out there today. Who would have believed that Duke would shoot 3 of 17 on threes and still dominate us? Oh well.

    I suppose we will have to listen to St. Mary’s talk smack now. I hope they aren’t as bad as the tree or the cheater$.

    I’m sorry the seniors went out this way, but they have much to be proud of. They will forever be remembered and appreciated for doing what no team in 50 years could do at Cal, and they made hoops relevant at Cal for the first time in many years.

    I’m not sure how we will stack up next year talent-wise, but I choose to be optimisitic and I know we have a pretty good coach- so much better than Braun. It’s been a lot of fun and satisfaction this year. Looking forward to more next season.

    Go Bears!

  • SteveNTexas

    Everyone refers to the 5 seniors but did Amoke play at all?

    We lost to a better team. Dan is correct we got that seed because we lost games we shouldn’t have. Still it was an ok season. I’m not concerned with St Mary’s, in fact I’m never concerned with colleges that have worse academics than we do .. and that’s about every college.

    Over the next ten years Cal will get to the NCAA’s way more than St Marys’ or whoever is the fad team this or next year.

  • joey

    Amoke is a soph. Nikola is the 5th senior.

    The only game that really impacted our seeding was New Mexico. That was a game we could have won with Theo or the other guys who were out with the flu. Winning that game would have put us in lock status earlier and possibly the rankings which would have influenced the selection committee. Losing to UCLA and Oregon St. didn’t hurt much because we still won the Pac 10 by two games and our RPI was very high anyway but not reflected much in our seeding. If we won more Pac 10 games I don’t think we would have moved up since the Pac 10 was considered “weak” by the committee.

    I don’t think there were any other games we “should” of won that we didn’t that would have helped our seed.

  • milo

    This is only the beginning. Monty will build Cal into a power over the next few years. Yes, we need big men and we will get them.

    Total side note: only wishful thinking but if Kamp played this year and Ryan Anderson never left for the NBA, Cal would have been a top team. Cal will get there.

    Thanks JF for great coverage this year. Look forward to next season.

    Go Bears!

  • uh oh.

    Steve – where ya been?
    Amoke was suspended for breaking a team rule. Didn’t travel.
    Stay tuned.

  • uh oh.

    Read a lot of the comments – they said what I would say.
    Duke is WAY bigger and played well, getting easy looks inside and easy looks outside. The better team won.
    However, the refs totally had a bias and Cal was kinda sunk from the get go with that. I mean, if we stood a chance in this game, we needed to have the refs call it even.

    That 2nd foul on Gut? The guy squashed him like a giant to a child. Come on!

  • SteveNTexas

    Uh oh I knew Amoke was suspended before the first NCAA game I just didn’t know why and I mistakenly thought he was a senior. Sorry.

    I do think if we didn’t have a horrible losses to UCLA and OSU that we might have been seeded higher, but who knows. Joey didn’t we lose to UNM because of the refs?

  • The Wisdom Cow

    I posted this eslewhere but it has to be said, even though I am certain we when no more than 3 out of 20 against Duke regardless.

    I never bought into the conspiracy theories about Duke getting calls until today. I always thought it was biased eyes, even thinking so of my own eyes through the first half. Then, I watched Jorge completely cover the Duke PG for what seemed like forever with no 5 second call. I rewound the DVR twice. The ref counted off 6 seconds and was moving his hand for number 7 before the Dukie got rid of the ball. Sad.

  • uh oh.

    Steve: Oh, we definitely would have been seeded higher without losses to any of the teams we lost to. The one UW game in the Pac 10 Tourney file probably cost us a 6 seed.
    The UCLA and OSU games cost us, as did NM, Ohio St., etc….

    Yes, Wisdom, I have heard people complain about Duke favoritism and today I side with them.

  • covinared

    Duke has the better bball success, bbLL grad rate and btter looking women, but we can kick their *** in football.

  • joey

    If we didn’t lose any games we would have been a 1 seed but the only game we could have won with our missing players was NM which would have been a big help in seed. The only games that were bad losses were UCLA and OR St. The rest of the losses were what they were. If we could have won great but weren’t games we shouldn’t have lost.

  • Rollonubears

    I think the refs are all all hard core bball fans, and the problem is, they get starstruck. They’re mesmerized by the talent on the court. Happens in every sport, at every level. The sad thing is, they’re paid to be indifferent. I don’t think they’re fixing games. Maybe a few do, but they just get caught up in the action. Still, it’s unacceptable, and the fact that the NCAA stands idly by is proof that to them, it’s all about $. Also sad. Just look at how they do sec football.

    I am so proud of my bears. They played with such class. I couldn’t have done it. I would have walked off the court and said eff it. Robert Morris coach almost did when they got hosed, repeatedly. I just wish more coaches would speak up. It’s ruining the game. Hoops is too influenced by officiating. Golf and bowling are about the only things you can warn these days without worrying about officials. Sad. Go bears.

  • uh oh.

    Did you copy and paste one of my prior rants from years ago? Just Kidding, but yeah, I LOVE basketball, but completely agree that refs play too big a role in the outcome. There are too many bodies flying, arms hitting people on the eyebrow, causing them to get stitches and miss the first 7 minutes, just too much going on to call everything correctly. Same in football, where it’s been said you could call holding on every play.
    So, the sport is what it is.
    How do you think Ireland feels, by the way, with the Thiery Henry had ball goal that got France past Ireland and into the World Cup. What a ripoff.
    You make a good point about the refs being fans and thus subconsciously affected.
    The better team won yesterday – that’s for sure. But it would have been nice to see it called 50-50. We needed 50-50 if we were going to be able to give it a serious go. Nolan Smith was pushing off big time. Zubek squishing Gut on the rebound. Whatever. At least it wasn’t a 1 pt game.