For coach Mike Montgomery, the number that most dramatically jumped off the stat sheet: 44.
“To give them 44 points in a half was a little bit discouraging,” he said, reflecting on the first half of the Bears’ 106-76 exhibition win over Sonoma State. “I thought first half was pretty rugged. We didn’t really defend. We were passive. They shot the ball extremely well, I’ll give them credit for that.”
“Kind of awful,” junior Harper Kamp said of the first-half defensive effort. “Credit to them, they came in ready to shoot. They played hard and executed their offense pretty well, which gave us some trouble. We have to be able to lock in on guys who are hot, recognize shooters, fight through screens.”
The defense was somewhat better in the second half, when Sonoma State shot just 32 percent, including 4 for 12 from 3-point range. In the first half, the Seawolves converted were 9 for 18 frm beyond the arc.
“We challenged them at half and did a much better job,” Montgomery said. “We just are learning how aggressive we have to be. They’re tentative because they don’t know what they’re supposed to do. Sonoma screened well and we didn’t react well to it.”
When asked if he was surprised by the problems, given he played five freshman a total of 84 minutes, Montgomery wasn’t in a forgiving mood.
“We’ve just got a long way to go,” he said. “I’m trying to get them to be a little more aggressive. The same thing happened in our scrimmage (against Saint Mary’s). We kind of let people do what they wanted to do. I think it’s young people feeling their way.”
GUTIERREZ UPDATE: Exhale, it was just a cramp. Junior point guard Jorge Gutierrez left the game 90 seconds into the second half, but it was merely a cramp in his right calf. He did not return, but is fine.
Gutierrez had 11 points, six assists and zero turnovers in 18 minutes.
Montgomery said he thought Gutierrez did a decent job at the point, but allowed, “I thought he made some passes that were trickier, more difficult than they needed to be.”
THE UNDERSTUDY: When Gutierrez sat down, sophomore Brandon Smith got the chance to play big minutes. He wound up contributing eight points (on 8 for 8 FTs), three assists, two steals and just two turnovers in 23 minutes, and earned praise from his coach.
“I thought Brandon Smith did a real good job of going in and running the club,” Montgomery said.
Kamp was likewise impressed. “He played great. When Jorge got hurt it probably kind of worried everybody — he’s fine. (Smith) came in and really just slowed the game down for us. He facilitated everybody and got us executing our offense.”
Kamp said he sees a big difference from a year ago, when Smith struggled as a freshman playing on weak ankles.
“He’s great now,” Kamp said. “He’s real calm with the ball. He’s got a great handle, a great feel. As long as he can keep doing that, coach said after the game he doesn’t have to be a prolific scorer.”
THE FRESHMEN: The five rookies had some trouble on defense, but combined for 58 points without a turnover. Here’s the breakdown:
— Allen Crabbe started and scored a team-high 22 points on 6 for 7 shooting. He made all four of his 3-pointers, all six of his free throws. He grabbed three rebounds in 21 minutes. “I think I did OK,” he said. “I just did the things they told me to do: shoot the ball, attack the basket, rebound. . . . It gave me a little confidence. I wasn’t hesitant on my shot — that’s why I was making them.”
— Gary Franklin started at the other wing spot and had 17 points, 14 of them in the second half. He shot just 1 for 5 in the first half, then made 6 of 10 after the break.
— Forward Richard Solomon had eight points, four rebounds, a block and a steal in 17 minutes off the bench.
— Guard Emerson Murray had eight points, two rebounds, a steal and an assist in 10 minutes.
— Guard Alex Rossi made 1 of 4 shots from 3-point range and scored three points in 11 minutes. Even a couple of the shots he missed, though, looked good. The guy has a nice stroke.