Basketball: UC Davis postgame

 A somewhat peculiar game, I thought. Statistically, Cal did a lot of things right — shot a season-high 53.7 percent, had a season-high 20 assists, a season-low 13 turnovers and got career nights from several players,.

Yet, the Golden Bears struggled much of the night to separate themselves from a UC Davis team that arrived in Berkeley having beaten a Pac-10 team just once in 54 previous attempts. Cal didn’t take charge until an 11-0 run midway through the second half that stretched the margin to 18 points.

Coach Mike Montgomery acknowledged the Aggies scouted his team well, and were able to crowd the lane and take certain things away. He also said passers made poor decisions at times and his defense more than once lost track of shooters in transition.

But Montgomery also saw things he liked, starting with freshman guard Gary Franklin, who rebounded nicely from a rough time at the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla. After missing 28 of 36 shots in those three games, Franklin made better decisions, shooting 4 for 8, including 3 for 6 from the 3PT line, while totaling 13 points and four assists.

“Gary’s a good basketball player,” Montgomery said. “He’s not going to have games like that all the time. Hopefully never. Got to let the game come to you. That’s the case for a lot of our guys. I thought he did a lot better job of that.”

Franklin played with a badly blood-shot right eye, the result of being poked by the finger of a Temple player last Thursday. He quickly added the poke in the eye was no excuse for his poor shooting in Florida.

“I was maybe a little over-eager,” he said. “Tonight I came in with the mindset I was going to take shots in rhythm and shots I can make.”

Meanwhile, the Bears got a season-best 27 points from their reserves. In three games in Florida, the backups totaled just 18 points.

“The bench really saved us tonight,” Montgomery said.

Sophomore forward Bak Bak had career-bests of 12 points (on 6 for 6 shooting) and six rebounds, all in 14 minutes off the bench. He had scored just three points all year.

 “We talked after the trip. He said he thought he could help and we wanted to give him a chance to help, and he did,” Montgomery said.

Junior walk-on guard Nigel Carter made both his 3-point shots for a career-high six points. “They were shots that came out of offense,” Montgomery said. “He got his feet set and jumped up and shot ’em in. I thought he did a great job with that.”

Freshman forward Richard Solomon, who provided 12 of the Bears’ 18 bench points in Florida, had another solid game off the bench with a career-best seven points and six rebounds.

 — Montgomery, in his third season, recorded his 50th win in 74 games with the Bears, the fastest a Cal coach has reached 50 wins since Nibs Price did it in 60 games from 1924-29. Montgomery also moved within three wins of 600 for his career. 

— Cal has won 21 consecutive non-conference home games and 41 of its past 42. The Bears are 34-3 against all opponents at Haas under Montgomery.

— Harper Kamp tied his career high with five assists.

— Franklin, who had inexplicably made just 2 of 10 free throws this season, said he took 100 after practice Tuesday and converted his only two attempts.

Jeff Faraudo

  • Uh Oh

    First thing I see in the box score is that Monty got 9 guys at least 10 minutes or more. THANK GOD!

    2nd good box score sign is that all of those 9 guys took at least 5 shots from the floor, with the exception of Nigel Carter who was 2-2 from 3 in his 10 minutes. Now THAT’S more like the rotation I would have expected for a team of a bunch of newbies. You’ve got to get them comfortable on the floor thru playing time. The schedule would preferably be full of a bunch of cupcakes early this year, but that has been, and will unfortunately NOT be the case. A tough SDSU team is coming to town. Still – you gotta let the kids grow. Pac10 season isn’t going to be much easier. That’s why I suggested you not focus on the wins so much as just getting your guys used to playing D1 ball for the rest of their careers.

    3rd: a couple of sad signs. Kamp only 4 rebounds in 31 minutes, and Gutierrez 6 turnovers in 28 minutes. That’s not going to get it done. I was sitting front and center for the 2nd half (arguably the 2 best seats in the entire house) and got to observe Monty’s reaction to Gut’s sloppy 1 handed passes into traffic. Gut deserves that and more. This isn’t a circus show, ya know!

    4: Smith was only 1-5 from the floor last night. More ouch. If you’re going to play D1 ball at 5’11”, you’d better be able to shoot the ball! It’s early, but he’s at only 32% FG and 57% FT. This is beginning to look like a repeat of last year. I believe Smith can shoot the ball well. De La Salle kids are well schooled. I’m just surprised it hasn’t happened yet. Here’s a radical off-the-top-of-the-head idea: try starting Smith and have him focus only on penetration and assist-making. See if that gets him to settle down, rather than sitting on the bench getting nervous about his upcoming time on the floor. If you are thinking about the shots, they don’t go in.

  • joey

    When Montgomery leaves thank god we have Uh Oh ready to step in and coach.

  • jeh

    Is Jorge OK? I mean physically or mentally. Lately, it seems that, particularly this game, he has not had his usual energy or focus. He looks a bit tired or blase or something.

    Does Jeff know anything about this?

  • rollonubears

    i think he’s trying to do too much. last year, he was a defensive specialist. now he’s trying to do all that, plus pick up the slack on offense. he’s also handling the ball a lot more than he used to, often running the point. i’m not sure that’s really the best for him, but it’s probably the best for the team. anyway, that’s why he has so many TOs, and those probably get him down because he seems like a perfectionist. he’s still my favorite player. we need some big guys. i know there aren’t a ton of 7ft guys out there, but there have got to be a few that are super smart and good at bball, and want to play at cal. we’ve gotta branch out a little to find one. maybe internationally. i mentioned there are 2 great ones out here in PA. only big east schools are recruiting them. they’re good students. they might jump at the chance to play here. oh well.

  • Uh Oh

    Thank You for the recommendation!
    It’s true that I’m ready and willing to take on the assignment! And at a mere fraction the current cost I might add. You know, Sandy has been looking for ways to save money within that athletic department.

    Sandy: JF knows where to find me and can arrange for a secret meeting!