12

Basketball: UCLA post-mortem

Here’s my game story from this morning’s editions and some leftovers worth chewing on:

– Jorge Gutierrez’s career-high 34 points were the most scored by any Pac-10 player this season other than Washington State’s Klay Thompson, who’s had games of 35 and 36 (the latter against Cal).

– Gutierrez became the 34th player in Cal history to score at least 30 in a game. Teammate Harper Kamp had 33 against Arizona.

– Cal teammates hadn’t each scored 30-plus points in the same season since the the 1976-77 campaign when Gene Ransom had his 36-point effort in the five-overtime win over Oregon and Ray Murry had a pair, including 41 points against Stanford.

– The Bears snapped a six-game home losing streak to UCLA, beating the Bruins at Haas Pavilion for the first time since 2004. They had knocked off UCLA five times in L.A. in the meantime.

– Cal is now 1-3 against the top two teams in the Pac-10 standings, losing twice by two points to first-place Arizona, losing once by two points to the second-place Bruins, and beating UCLA by four points.

– Among the many ways Allen Crabbe’s return helped the Bears: He played 43 minutes, allowing Mike Montgomery to minimize use of reserve players who aren’t as prepared for a game of this level. Harper Kamp and Brandon Smith also each played 43 minutes, Gutierrez played 41 and Markhuri Sanders-Frison 37. That left just 18 (out of 225) for the bench.

– Nice pregame decision by Montgomery to go with man-to-man defense. The ploy, which he sprung on his players 10 minutes before tipoff, clearly fired them up. They switched back and forth to zone often later in the game, but the man defense set an aggressive tone.

– UCLA couldn’t possibly have responded more poorly to Cal’s defense of choice. The Bruins played into the Bears’ hands by hoistng up 12 3-point shots in the first half — they made just one of them — instead of attacking. When they got smart and began using their quickness to drive the ball in the second half, the game got closer and Cal was forced to mix in some zone.

– UCLA convered on just nine of 35 possessions in the first half to score 18 points, the Bruins’ season-low for the opening half.

– Curious decision by UCLA coach Ben Howland to go away from the three-guard lineup that was causing Cal trouble in the second half. The arrangement forced Cal to defend the quicker Tyler Honeycutt with Kamp. Kamp was going to have a physical edge when he posted up on offense, but Honeycutt had made back-to-back 3-pointers over him when Howland switched back to his more usual alignment.

– Yes, Cal was trying to foul, ahead by three points with 6.6 seconds left in regulation. Here’s how Montgomery explained it afterward:

“We tried to foul. We actually changed our strategy. We took the second timeout (to decide). We wanted to cushion them down the floor, see if we could make them use as much time as we could. At some point we wanted to foul them. We were up 3, knowing they were going to shoot a 1 and 1. We decided to go for it.”

But Sanders-Frison simply knocked the ball out of bounds when he reached in on Reeves Nelson along the left sideline and didn’t get the foul call the Bears wanted. That gave UCLA another inbounds play with 3.3 seconds left. Malcolm Lee got the ball and made his difficult 3-pointer over Crabbe.

“We just fell asleep at the wheel and he made it,” Montgomery said. “And I was not happy.”

– Brandon Smith on Gutierrez’s low-key post-game reaction in the locker room: “His demeanor stays the same. Just smiles, high fives and crack a little joke like it wasn’t a big deal. Just another day.”

– Smith on having Crabbe back in the lineup: “It was definitely big to have Allen tonight. You could tell he’s not completely back, but it was great to have someone you’re comfortable with out there.”

– Crabbe said he went through his first contact practice on Saturday, when he found out he would play. “It felt good to be out there. I got a lot of rest,  took it slow, made sure all the symptoms were gone.”

Jeff Faraudo

  • Bob49

    After watching last night’s game, I came away with the thought that Gutierrez may make it in the pro’s as a point guard. His defense has always been top notch, probably among the best in the country, but the way he passed in the paint yesterday was something to behold. He is the ultimate team player. He doesn’t have a very good outside shot, but he probably doesn’t have to, and perhaps that can be acquired, anyway, with practice. And he can drive the basket and get off shots there with both hands, as he did repeatedly last night.

    I’d say a second or third round pick. Anybody agree?

  • The Wisdom Cow

    I kinda wrote this on the last thread late – on the last 6 seconds of regulation.

    I like fouling in the situation of up 3 with 6 seconds left and the ball being inbound from their end, especially with UCLA shooting one and one. However, I would have much preferred Monty not calling a TO after Jorge made the second free throw, making UCLA do it without a plan or time to set themselves, especially when Monty has always been a “play it out” coach in that situation.

    Changing strategies rarely works out well. Here, I believe the initial TO was prompted to consider the situation. As if gun shy with his preferred approach, he should have been pleased to let UCLA try to get 3 with no TOs in that situation just letting the clock run.

    Look. I love Monty as Cal’s coach. I think very highly of him. But I have also thought his end of game coaching strategies have been his one drawback. He can do wonders with smart players, but most of his end of game victories rely on players stepping up on the offensive side (think Randle last year or Jacobson at Stanfurd). I still think he is a great coach. It’s just that this squad, missing that clutch offensive threat (Crabbe is close), has been unlucky to find themselves in situations Monty does not excel with.

  • LR

    Jorge’s not enough of an athlete to compete in the NBA. Now Stef Curry’s not much of an athlete either, but he’s a scorer, and Jorge’s not.

    My wish is that Jorge makes a good amount of money playing in Turkey, Spain, Italy or Greece. Not sure how they pay in Argentina; that would probably be the best fit. All those countries are top-10 in the FIBA rankings, and I’m sure their professional leagues pay reasonably well.

  • milo

    Jorge has an outside chance to make the NBA if he develops more next season, does a Jerome Randle (assists and scoring) and plays lock-down D. Most likely however he’ll land in Spain where his native language skills will be a natural and his style of play appreciated.

  • rollonubears

    jorge’s not a scorer? he’s leading the pac10 in scoring for the month of february, and continues to get better every night.

  • wehofx

    Roll, True dat. JG’s not a pure jump shooter but given time and his work ethic, his j will improve.

  • JSML

    If Jorge makes it to the NBA, he would instantly be my favorite NBA player. He’s enough of an athlete, but size and scoring is a concern at the next level. There are plenty of NCAA scorers who can’t score consistenly in the NBA. Look at Evan Turner.

    6′ 3″ is also smallish for the NBA as an off guard. Jorge will need to be a point guard.

    However, I do beleive he’ll make it. He has more heart and determination than any one in the Pac 12. NBA is also about focus and work ethic and attitude. He has the most intangibles of any player I’ve seen since Jason Kidd.

  • Bob49

    JSML, If you read my post, you will see that I said Jorge would have to play point guard in the NBA. Fortunately, point guards don’t have to be the best shooters on the team.

    Rollonubears, typically it is understood that a “scorer” who is not a post player has a good jump shot, which Jorge does not. That is how what the NBA demands. Jorge gets most of hist points on layups and drives to the hoop, not from his jump shot, and those types of shots will not very available in the NBA game. I’ll bet his current jump shot percentage is really bad and he needs to work on that to play in the NBA.

    To add another subject to comment on, I say that, with an expected continued development, Crabbe will be drafted in the first or second round in the NBA and will play shooting guard.

  • milo

    I’m glad Jorge is scoring well in Feb, shows he can do it. He’ll need to more consistent over a full season, average in the high teens and 6-7 assists a game, to get a serious look from the NBA. He can do it but he has to show it for a full season.

    If you want comparables, look at Jerome Randle’s senior year stats. Jerome’s issue was height, not skill. Jorge gets similar stats and plays D, he can make it.

    He could get to the NBA via Europe and the Development league but it will be more difficult.

  • JSML

    Bob49,

    Just to nitpick.. there’s only 2 rounds in the NBA draft and you never said he had to play PG in the NBA. You said he might make it as a PG in the NBA.

  • Bob49

    JSML,

    As an astute observer of Cal basketball, I’m sure that you realize that Jorge making it in the NBA as anything other than a point guard is out of the question. Everybody knows his jump shop is not very good and thus he can’t make it in the NBA as a shooting guard. So I thought it would be understood, especially by an expert such as yourself, that he could never make as a NBA shooting guard.

  • Yoda

    I love Jorge. I don’t think he’ll be drafted and I don’t think he’ll play in the NBA. I’d love for him to prove me wrong.

    Crabbe, on the other hand, probably will.