With coach Mike Montgomery, the priority is always defense.
The 23rd-ranked Golden Bears, who resume play in the CBE Classic on Tuesday night at home against Austin Peay, will be able to score the ball.
But how effective will they be stopping the other team from scoring?
Through two games, the Bears have gotten solid marks on defense. In wins over UC Irvine and George Washington, Cal has allowed just 38.6-percent shooting and holds a plus-17.5 rebounding margin.
Not surprisingly, the Bears’ two seniors — Jorge Gutierrez and Harper Kamp — form the club’s defensive foundation.
“You all know about Jorge and how good he is defensively,” Montgomery said. “Probably the guy you don’t notice as much, who’s doing a tremendous job, is Harper. He’s always helping (on defense) and he’s just physical enough to take you out of your rhythm.”
Montgomery said point guard Brandon Smith is a solid on-ball defender and that Allen Crabbe and Justin Cobbs are improving. Questions remain, including how the Bears will fare against taller, more physical opponents.
There will be far tougher tests ahead — starting next week against Georgia and either Notre Dame or Missouri — but so far so good.
ABOUT THE GOVERNORS: The Clarksville, Tenn., squad returns four starers from a 20-14 team that tied for second in the Ohio Valley Conference. Lindy’s and Athon magazines both picked Austin Peay to win the OVC this season. Coach Dave Loos, in his 22nd season, has guided the Governors to 18 consecutive non-losing seasons . . . The Governors opened their season last Friday with an 80-71 road loss to Middle Tennessee State. The Governors missed 17 free throws, shot 39 percent from the field and committed 19 turnovers. A clear recipe for defeat . . . The team’s best player is senior shooting guard TyShwan Edmondson, who had 20 points in the opener. Edmondson was a first-team all-Ohio Valley Conference pick last season, when he averaged 17.1 ppg and was the OVC’s second-leading scorer. He had 13 games of at least 20 points and made 72 3-point baskets . . . Forward Anthony Campbell, a 2010-11 preseason all-OVC player, missed the final two-thirds of last season after suffering a torn ACL . . . Starting center John Fraley, a 6-8 senior, did not make the trip to California after suffering a concussion in the loss to Middle Tennessee State.
THE SERIES: First meeting.
MISCELLANY: Reserve center Robert Thurman is unlikely to play for a second straight game due to a strained hip flexor injury . . . Cal won its first two games of the season by at least 20 points for the first time since 1995-96. The Bears haven’t opened with three straight 20-point wins since the 1952-53 campaign, when they beat the Cal Alumni 79-59, San Francisco 64-33 and Hawaii 77-40 . . . Win or lose against Austin Peay, the Bears advance to the predetermined semifinal of the CBE Classic against Georgia next Monday in Kansas City, Mo.
TIPOFF: 7 p.m. Tuesday at Haas Pavilion. TV: ESPN2. Radio: 910-AM.
Cal (2-0, 0-0 Pac-12)
|SF Allen Crabbe||6-6||So.||22.5||3.5|
|PF Harper Kamp||6-8||Sr.||8.5||8.0|
|PF Richard Solomon||6-10||So.||5.0||6.5|
|SG Jorge Gutierrez||6-3||Sr.||13.0||6.0*|
|PG Brandon Smith||5-11||Jr.||5.0||4.0*|
|G Justin Cobbs||6-2||So.||10.0||4.5*|
|G Emerson Murray||6-3||So.||3.5||1.5|
|F David Kravish||6-9||Fr.||3.5||8.0|
Austin Peay (0-1, 0-0 Ohio Valley)
|PF Melvin Baker||6-7||Sr.||0.0||4.0|
|F Anthony Campbell||6-7||Jr.||4.0||4.0|
|SG TyShwan Edmonson||6-6||Sr.||20.0||2.0|
|SG Josh Terry||6-5||Sr.||17.0||7.0|
|G Justin Blake||6-3||Jr.||8.0||1.0|
|F Will Triggs||6-7||So.||7.0||6.0|
|F Chris Freeman||6-6||Fr.||2.0||2.0|