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Basketball: A big win in Florida

A big night in Orlando for the Golden Bears.

(Disclaimer: I did not make the trip to Florida; watched on TV from home after Thanksgiving dinner. Hope you all enjoyed your day).

What we know: Cal improved to 3-0 by beating No. 21 Temple 57-50 in the first round of the Old Spice Classic.

What we don’t know: Just how good Temple really is. The Owls beat two mediocre teams to start the season, having earned their ranking based on 29 victories a year ago and three returning starters. But are they actually the 21st-best team in the country?

What we know: On a night when they played 2,500 miles from home, did not shoot the ball well and turned the ball over 18 times, the Bears showed the toughness and resourcefulness to beat a very solid and far more experienced team.

I thought Cal played better in its 89-64 win over New Mexico, but that was at Haas Pavilion and the challenge here was greater. Cal once again demonstrated we should not settle on a ceiling for this team’s potential.

“Since day one, we just told people that we’re going to surprise a lot of people,” center Markhuri Sanders-Frison told reporters afterward. “Everybody thought that we didn’t have that much firepower coming back because we lost a lot of our good players last year. I think this win opened a lot of eyes to people around the world.”

Added coach Mike Montgomery: “I don’t know what a rebuilding is. All I know is we start two freshman and come off the bench with a whole lot more, and I’ve never done that before. . . . Again, I thought we’re showing some signs of toughness and that part is nice to see.”

 The Bears trailed 45-38 with less than eight minutes left when they took charge with a 16-1 run. Temple, which shot 2-for-19 from 3-point range, too often showed impatience and settled for perimeter shots.

“They defended us well those last seven minutes and they made the shots that they needed to make,” Owls coach Fran Dunphy said.

For the Bears, there were lots of contributors. Junior forward Harper Kamp had 13 points and seven rebounds, Sanders-Frison had eight points and nine rebounds and freshman Allen Crabbe scored a career-high 12, including 5 for 6 from the FT line, and grabbed eight rebounds. Freshman Gary Franklin added 10 points.

The Bears won despite a tough offensive night for PG Jorge Gutierrez, who had 10 points, but just one assist and four turnovers. Gutierrez was his usual hard-nosed self on defense, helping to limit Temple star guard Juan Fernandez to nine points on 2 for 14 shooting.

The freshmen showed more growth in Game 3. Besides Crabbe and Franklin, forward Richard Solomon gave the Bears four points, five rebounds, two steals and two assists in 16 minutes. He was the only Cal reserve to score — the rest of the bench was a combined 0 for 7 shooting in 28 minutes.

“It was a great win for us (but) it was kind of an awful game, there were a lot of mistakes both ways,” Montgomery said. “I don’t know what prompted that, obviously I thought both teams played hard, but it wasn’t very pretty.”

HISTORY LESSON: The win was Cal’s first over Temple since a 49-43 victory during the 1935-36 season. The Owls had won the past three, most recently in 1973-74.

WHAT’S NEXT: The victory moves the Bears into today’s 2 p.m. semifinal (ESPN2) against Notre Dame (5-0), which beat Georgia 89-83 in double-overtime. The Irish got 25 points from senior forward Tim Abromatis.

Cal and Notre Dame have met just once, with the Bears winning 63-59 in Hawaii during the 1966-67 season.

A victory today and Montgomery would reach 50 wins at Cal in 72 games — faster than any coach at Berkeley since Nibs Price won 50 of his first 60 games from 1924-25 through the start of the 1928-29 season.

Jeff Faraudo

  • David

    Awesome job, bears! Showing that Berkeley is no push-over on national television, and neither is the Pac-10!

    GO BEARS!

  • SteveNTexas

    We aren’t a pushover but Stanford lost to Murray State.

    We showed lots of poise even when down and there were more Temple fans there than Cal fans so it was a bit hostile. Temple looked bad though – especially for a ranked team.

    Hopefully Notre Dame will be tired from double OT

  • Rollonubears

    It looked like there were about 100 people in attendance but we pulled it out. Monty has these guys rebounding and playing solid d. I have to see anything positive from bak bak, and msf continues to make poor decisions in the post, particularly after getting one-time put back opportunities. He keeps going down for the “power dribble,” and then getting stuffed. We can’t shoot free throws and the freshmen are still raw, but this is a very exciting team, and we should be a top5 pac10 team for sure. We get better w every
    Game. Nd is the real deal. Today will be a challenge. Go bears! By the way, we got effed
    By the refs.

  • SteveNTexas

    Notre Dame has had a cupcake schedule until GA last night however they did blow out their opponents GA Southern, Liberty, Chicago State and Maine.

    Not only did we not have fans there but we have almost no support nationwide. I just read the “comments” and everyone aside from me – was talking about who Temple would be meeting today.

    http://www.cbssports.com/collegebasketball/tournaments/old-spice-classic

  • SteveNTexas

    In the most foolish pool I witnessed in a while Cal is ranked #6 in CBS RPI. I’d feel better about it had not Vermont who has already lost were not ranked #7 and #14-16 are Appalachian State 1-1, Kent State and LIU -Brooklyn Campus!

    Finally a pole methodology I can really respect. To hell with sportswriters and coaches – what seems to have been done here is they took all the names – put them in a hopper and drew blindly at random.

    UCLA #75 and Arizona #79 and #131 Washington should obviously pose no problems for an elite team of our ranking.

    http://www.cbssports.com/collegebasketball/rankings/rpi/index1

  • robert lerma

    That was an ugly win but nonetheless a WIN! There is nothing that builds character in 18 – 20 year old kids than to win ugly. We did not shoot well, we did not take care of the ball, we did not hit free throws, we did not appear to be in sync most of the night offensively and still we have yet to see anyone step up other than the 5 starters, plus Smith & Solomon.

    STILL, a win is a win. We played good D, appeared to have good luck and nobody was in foul trouble in the first half. Nice work Bears. You made us proud last night in front of a lot of Non-CAL fans. Thanksgiving became that much nicer…BEAT ND today at 2:00 PM on ESPN-2 I believe.

  • SteveNTexas

    Aside from editing I forgot to include Washington State at #138 Stanford at #219, and Oregon State at #281. A cursory look also found no USC,perhaps they have finally been banned from college sports.

  • C98

    Everyone keeps saying Temple looked bad, but isn’t part of that attributable to strong defense making them look bad?

  • C98

    Just for the record, they are polls. A pool is what you swim in, a pole is what pretty girls in their skivvies swing around on, a poll is a survey of opinions.

  • Rocko

    I think we only play one true road OOC game, Iowa St. Notre Dame is picked to finish 10th in the Big East by SI. I don’t think they are the real thing. BC is picked to finish 11th in the ACC and Wisconsin is probably the best team left in the tounament. We could win the whole thing. If we beat Kansas later on in the month then we will have something. Even though we had a great team last year€, I don’t think the seniors truly bought into the type of defense Monty expects. This team seems to be playing it. Go Bears!

  • Uh Oh

    Wow, Rocko! That’s really taking the upside.

    I was going to say nothing, b/c I feel everyone, including JF, had said it all already. Yes, let’s not place a ceiling on these guys. But let’s also be realistic about the game, which Monty was. That was a pretty ugly game.

    I give Monty lots of credit for having his kids be ready to WIN the game at the end and I downgrade the Temple coach for having his kids be MENTALLY UNPREPARED to put away Cal. It was very similar to Johnny Dawkins’ teams’ performance in Anaheim last night. Pathetic! And this is why, I told myself, beat writers picked Cal 7th and Furd 9th. Sure, guys will have a bad shooting night, as did both Temple’s Fernandez and Stanford’s Green. But Furd simply did not take care of the ball. They were sloshing it around like an afternoon pickup game. I can’t believe Dawkins was the heir apparent at Duke with that performance. Maybe I didn’t watch them enough last year. I dunno…
    And Temple was nearly as bad.

    Yesterday morning I had written answers to the 5 questions JF posed, but my browser crashed before I hit send.

    Among other things I said I thought Manhattan would be the only victory for Cal and that I felt Gut and Smith would be a “serviceable” point guard tandem. I was wrong on both accounts. Cobbs is in waiting…

    Anyways, HAPPY DAYS! WE WON! BRING ON NOTRE DAME. GO BEARS!!!!

  • Bob49

    Don’t know how big Temple was but Cal, as usual, will be undersized against most good teams this year. They only have three big men (only one who is over 6’8″ — Soloman) who play and Frison is foul prone. Would love to see Bak Bak, their only other big man play. Perhaps he can get in to get some experience when we have a game that we are winning big on.

    We could have really used Max Zhang (7’3″) this year. Having Omoke (about 6’7″) would have been even nicer. Think of the better chances we would have had against Duke if Omoke had played and Christropher had not got hurt at the start of the game. I think we could have won that game.

    But the freshmen are playing well, so we should win our share of games this year.

  • Rocko

    If we had Lebron & Kobe we would have done even better against Duke but they probably still would have won!

  • SteveNTexas

    C98 LOL I deserved that! No more 7AM posts -till tomorrow.

  • Uh Oh

    Pathetic start for Cal vs. Notre Dame. 2 points in more than 5 minutes projects to us scoring 16 points in the game. Nice.

    Jorge had 2 early turnovers.
    Crabbe shot the 3 only after hesitating and telling himself not to.
    Franklin fires up 2 brick 3′s with NO hesitation.
    Kamp is undersized against bigger bodies.
    The only good thing is that we are blocking out ND’s own misses.

  • Uh Oh

    What do you know?
    We’ve scored 4 points after 10 minutes, just on pace for 16.

  • Rollonubears

    There is no reason for the bears to be this nervous. Just sloppy all around. Horrible ball movement and poor selection. This is not a great Irish team. Kamp is really out if it and the Irish are flopping all over the court. We will come back in the second half after monty yells at em. IF we can keep it close.

  • Uh Oh

    Oh, bummer, we can’t keep up with our pace.
    We got only 5 points and we’re less than 5 to go in the first half.
    Maybe that leaves room for someone to hit a 3 before the break to get back on track for 16.

  • Uh Oh

    Yep – you and Rocko are right.
    We will come back in the second half and win the whole tournament. And then once we do that, we’ll have a good shot at upsetting Kansas. Remember, we’ve got them at home, so that’s worth at least 50 points right there!

    We missed all our other shots, so the estimate of 16 for the game is looking a little high.

    Maybe ND’s defense will soften up the last 10 minutes of the game as it turns into junk ball with the 3rd string walk-ons. Fear not. I guarantee we hit 25!

  • SteveNTexas

    No we won’t come back – this looks horrible.

  • K1W

    Some of you are too negative about the Notre Dame game. For a team that is so “inexperienced,” preparation is very important. Cal knew they were playing Temple first, and could get ready for that game during the past week. After yesterday’s late evening win, there was very little time to prepare for Notre Dame.

    The first half was pretty bad on offense, but the defensive effort was good. They did not fold and get blown out in the second half.

    The Bears now have an entire day to prepare to play Boston College instead of a few hours.

    And after just four games, these Bears already have more “quality” non-conference wins than last year’s Pac-10 champs had through December.

  • Dave

    Jorge or Smith have no real shot at looking like an impressive PG. Speaking from experience, you can not run an offense with a 2 guard who just jacks up any shot that looks close to being open. Smith particularly will have trouble seeing he is a pure 1. Jorge can at least be a slasher, which if you notice, is when he shines….he does not and will not shine as a PG if Franklin is allowed to continue disrupting the offense with these CRAZY shots. I think Franklin will be great for us, but he needs to be more judicial with his shot selection.