Junior Harper Kamp is not worried about his freshmen teammates. Not even after decisive losses to Notre Dame and Boston College last weekend at the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla.
“I think mentally we’re all right,” Kamp said on the eve of Wednesday night’s game against UC Davis at Haas Pavilion. “That’s one of the advantages to having guys that are young. Like coach says, they don’t know what they don’t know. So far they’ve taken the losses well.
“They’re ready to get back on the floor and take it out on someone else.”
After victories at home against Cal State Northridge and New Mexico, Cal played three times in four days in Florida, upsetting Temple — then ranked No. 21 nationally — before losing twice. The Bears scored just five first-half points vs. Notre Dame, then came apart in the second half against B.C.
“It was a tough tournament for us. Very good teams,” Montgomery said. “I think we got tired. When things weren’t going real well, we still defended. We played a good first half against Boston College. Then a couple kids made a mistake, then we missed a couple wide-open shots, they hit some 3s and there was just this huge turnaround. We were visibly tired in the second half of that game.”
Montgomery said the five-point first half against the Irish perhaps unnecessarily colored the team’s overall performance.
“We had two bad halves, for sure . Other than that, we played pretty good,” Montgomery said. “All we did was lose to good teams. We can play. We’re a little bit fragile. We have to be able to get confidence from our veteran players.
“Both Harper and Jorge (Gutierrez) kind of got down on themselves in the Notre Dame game and kind of disappeared a little bit, and we need them to play well and be a steadying influence for us.”
No argument from Kamp.
“That was one of the first things me and Jorge talked about after the Notre Dame game,” he said. “We were both caught up in the mistakes we were making and I think that really kind of let down the rest of the guys, particularly the younger guys who needed some guidance at that point. As a leader out there on the floor, I knew the situation were in and I didn’t go about it the right way. So that affected everybody.”
GOOD SHOTS: Freshman guard Gary Franklin had a rough trip to Florida, shooting 8 for 36 in the three games. That’s not an equation that works, Montgomery conceded.
“The person who’s shooting the ball the most can’t have our worst percentage,” the coach explained. “I think he got frustrated. He’s one of those guys who always feels like the next shot’s going to go in. The reality of it is we’ve got to get better shots so he can get some confidence.
“He’s learning what he can and can’t do. He drove to the basket a couple times, and it’s just not something he’s going to be able to do under the circumstances. At the same time, in the Temple game late – bang, bang – he hits a couple and gets us ahead. So we’ve just got to continue to work with him on getting him in a rhythm.
“He’s always been streaky. Sometimes he takes a shot that’s not as good, thinking it’s just going to go in. But generally it doesn’t work that way.”
Montgomery said Franklin and his teammates need to learn how to contribute in other ways than scoring.
“Really the issue for us is getting everybody to understand how to help others, how do I make our team better,” he siad. “That’s just going to be a work in progress.”
DAVIS SCOUT: The Aggies have won two in a row, beating Sacramento State 61-54 and Seattle 80-58 . . . They are led by the senior duo of Mark Payne and Joe Harden, who earlier this season cracked the 1,000-point career barrier. Payne sits at 1,052 with Harden at 1,007 . . . Payne is also third all-time at UC Davis in assists at 375 and fourth in steals with 152. . . Former Antioch HS star and Cal walkon Eddie Payne Miller (duh!) is coming off a career-high 20 points vs. Seattle. He has scored in double digits in four of the Aggies’ seven games . . . Senior guard Ryan Silva, a De La Salle HS grad, is averaging 13 minutes and 2.7 points per game . . . The Aggies will play in front of their largest crowd of the season tonight, having attracted no more than 1,855 fans to any of their first seven games.
ROSSI UPDATE: Montgomery said freshman wing Alex Rossi, who has yet to play this season because of groin injury, remains out indefinitely.
“Not sure he’s going to make it back,” Montgomery said. “We’re going to try to get him back. We’re not sure that’s going to work. He can’t get down in a stance, he can’t really move, and when he starts doing stuff it gets pretty painful.
“So we’re trying to calm it down, see if we can’t rehab and get him back.”
HOMECOURT: Cal has won 21 consecutive non-conference games at Haas Pavilion and 40 of the past 42. The Bears are 33-3 at home in all games in two-plus seasons under coach Mike Montgomery.
THE SERIES: Cal leads 30-0. That’s not a typo. (In fact, Davis says the series is 31-0). The teams played for the first time during the 1917-18 season, with Cal winning 32-7. Only one of the 30 games has had a final margin of less than double digits — a 69-63 Cal win during the 1984-85 season. The most recent meeting was during the 1986-87 season, won 90-71 by the Bears. Cal is 73-6 all-time vs. teams from the Big West Conference.
ETCETERA: Montgomery’s next victory will be his 50th at Cal. He is 49-24 as the Bears’ coach . . . Montgomery (596-268) needs four victories to reach 600 for his career . . . After averaging just 49 points in their three games at the Old Spice Classic, the Bears have skidded to last in the Pac-10 in scoring at 63.2 ppg . . . Cal is eighth in the Pac-10 in FT accuracy (61.9 percent) and last in FG shooting (40.1).
TIPOFF: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Haas Pavilion. TV: None. Radio: 910-AM.
|PF Harper Kamp||6-8||Jr.||12.6||5.6|
|C Markhuri Sanders-Frison||6-7||Sr.||7.8||8.6|
|SF Allen Crabbe||6-6||Fr.||8.0||6.2|
|SG Gary Franklin Jr.||6-2||Fr.||9.4||2.2*|
|PG Jorge Gutierrez||6-3||Jr.||13.4||4.0*|
|F Richard Solomon||6-9||Fr.||5.2||4.4|
|G Brandon Smith||5-11||So.||4.4||2.6*|
|G Emerson Murray||6-3||Fr.||0.8||1.2|
U.C. Davis (3-4)
|C Mike Kurtz||7-0||Fr.||3.3||2.3|
|SF Joe Harden||6-8||Sr.||14.1||7.3|
|SG Eddie Miller||6-5||Jr.||8.0||3.6|
|SG Todd Lowenthal||6-3||Sr.||1.9||5.6|
|PG Mark Payne||6-8||Sr.||12.6||5.4|
|G Ryan Sypkens||6-4||So.||8.0||0.9|
|F Josh Ritchart||6-9||Fr.||5.0||1.0|
|F Alex Tiffin||6-9||Fr.||3.0||1.0|