A few things that got lost in the wild finish, late hour or my brain Thursday night at Haas Pavilion:
– The Bears’ 66-62 victory over the Sun Devils was the definition of the team that’s accustomed to winning beating the team that’s been losing. A total of eight points has separated these clubs in two games, and Cal is five games ahead of ASU in the Pac-10 standings.
– Want more evidence? ASU made three 3-pointers in a span of 56 seconds to lead 59-52 with 7:24 left, then missed its final eight field goal attempts and scored only three more points.
– The play that turned the game around? How about Ty Abbott, a senior who ought to know better, fouling Cal freshman Allen Crabbe behind the 3-point arc with 4:56 left when Crabbe had made just one of eight shots to that point. Crabbe makes the first two FTs to get a little confidence, and when he misses the third, Cal gets the rebound and . . . Jorge Gutierrez, falling out of bounds under the basket, finds Brandon Smith for a 3-pointer that gives Cal the lead for good. A five-point play.
– Was the zone a failure? Well, the Bears gave up too many 3-pointers and when they switched the man they were much more aggressive. But in the first half, while playing exclusively zone, Cal committed just three fouls and stayed fresh. Harper Kamp had one foul and Markhuri Sanders-Frison none in a combined 36 minutes in the first half. They both finished with four after long stints of man in the second half.
– During Cal’s four-game win streak — its first of the season — Gutierrez is shooting 13 for 45 from the field. And he has 20 rebounds, 25 assists, eight steals, made 26 of 31 free throws, and played 141 of 160 minutes.
– The Bears had all five starters in double figures for the first time all season.
– Still no help from the bench: Four points and just 17 minutes. The starters were on the floor an average of 36 1/2 minutes apiece. Maybe that carries a pricetag on Saturday vs. Arizona, maybe it doesn’t. But Mike Montgomery said he’ll play the guys who can win the game and worry about the consequences later.