BearTalk

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Basketball: Depth, execution Cal’s biggest failings

By Jeff Faraudo
Thursday, December 23rd, 2010 at 2:48 pm in Basketball.

Cal coach Mike Montgomery warned early in the week that Kansas’ biggest advantage Wednesday night might be its depth. The roots of Jayhawks’ 78-63 victory proved he was right.

The Jayhawks’ bench outproduced its Cal counterpart by a whopping 46 points to 11, and 23 rebounds to 10.

That’s a little misleading because Markieff Morris (21 points, 10 rebounds) was a starter the first nine games, but has come off the bench the past two, and freshman guard Josh Selby (18 points, 4 assists) remained a reserve in just his second college game but will be a starter someday . . . in the NBA.

The game was lost in a second-half span of just under 3 minutes when fouls forced both Jorge Gutierrez and Harper Kamp to the bench. During that stretch, KU transformed a shaky 50-47 lead to 61-49. The 11-2 run took the last wind out of the Bears’ sails.

Kamp picked up his second and third fouls in a span of six seconds. Both were inadvertant fouls, simply a case of him arriving a second late.

But Gutierrez got his fourth foul on a technical with 16:19 left after wrestling with KU’s Thomas Robinson. It took both Kamp and Montgomery to drag the enraged Gutierrez from the pileup.

Montgomery was asked later if Gutierrez’s fiery approach needs tempering, or if it’s the key to his effectiveness. The answer, of course, is both. 

“You’ve got to love Jorge. He’s just the best,” Montgomery said. “But he’s a stubborn son of a gun, and if you attack him he’s going to come back at you. It’s his natural reaction.

“That’s what makes him so good. But there are times you’ve got to recognize you’ve got three fouls and you can’t afford to get a fourth. He takes things personally is what he does. It’s not a bad thing, except there are times and circumstances.”

The Bears’  problems vs. the Jayhawks weren’t limited to the shortcomings of their bench:

   — They shot 4 for 22 from the 3-point arc
   — They missed 14 free throws
   — They turned the ball over 17 times
   — And in the second half, they were 7 for 28 from the floor until hitting two meaningless shots in the final minute.

 The 19 for 33 effort at the foul line was particularly distressing to Montgomery.

“The free throw situation is scary because we were getting to the basket, getting foul calls and were’t getting anything out of it,” he said. “Against a team like that, you can’t do that.”

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  • Uh Oh

    I’m enjoying this season a lot, and am going to continue to enjoy it for the next 3 months. However, I also can’t wait until the spring signing period. I count a roster of 14 with 3 walk-ons (Carter, Thurman, Powers). That leaves 11 scholarship players, 2 of whom we haven’t yet seen (Rossi and Cobbs). With Kravich set to take MSF’s spot, that leaves 2 more possible signings this spring.

    And then I’m also very much looking forward to next season to see if Cobbs is able to add anything to the PG position. And if Rossi is able to help improve our 3FG%.

    That’s 5 new players we could see on the court next year vs. what we have been seeing lately! Cool! Add to the fact that this year’s players will be even better next year and hope spring’s eternal!

  • jeh

    I fully agree with Uh Oh. This team is really fun, as they play so hard, and I think will prove better defenders than last year’s team. This is not to say that they are better than last year’s team. After all, they are young and inexperienced.

    Their competitiveness and energy are impressive. Add some players to provide the depth now missing, along with the experience of this entire season, and next year’s team should be still be great fun, but much better equipped to win some games that are now a bit out of reach.

  • Yoda

    I’d say the same thing. This team already is better defensively than last year’s, though not in the same ballpark offensively. However, last year’s seniors weren’t worldbeaters as freshmen.

    We need one big man from a JC in the spring – a banger. I doubt they use two rides on late signers.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    I miss Max.

  • Bob49

    Cal has enough guards and swing men (when Rossi gets healthy, though I think he may have to redshirt this year, though nobody has said that). They need to be deeper at power forward and center, especially with Sander-Frison being a senior and Kamp a junior. Unfortunately, there’s a serious drop-off when Soloman and Bak Bak are playing in place of Sanders-Frison and Kamp.

    But the addition of Soloman hopefully starts a new trend for Cal. Has anyone noticed that, for years, Cal never had a true power forward who was 6’9″ or taller. We were always playing power forwards at 6’7″ or smaller (except for Anderson, who played away from the basket a lot, and thus did not play like a true power forward).

    Cal really misses Omoke, who was a very good inside player, and getting better all of the time. Max would have helped a lot in depth department up front.

    Perhaps I shouldn’t play “what if,” but what if, against Duke last year, we had Omoke and Kamp and Christopher didn’t get hit in the eye at the start of that game. I think we could have taken Duke if we had those additional two players and Christopher was not disabled for half of the first half.

  • Uh Oh

    Absolutely, Bob49!
    On all points!
    Que lastima!

  • unBearable

    yeah, if only these guys could shoot, because they have no height.

  • Uh Oh

    So, Unbearable – you’re saying they can’t shoot, they aren’t tall…. hmmm. What do they have?