The Bears return to Haas Pavilion on Wednesday night to begin a four-game homestand against Bay Area rival San Jose State.
Once again, Cal is expected go without starting forward Richard Solomon, suspended last Friday for “for conduct contrary to athletic department and university values.” Solomon missed Sunday’s 64-63 loss at San Diego State in which the Bears were outrebounded for the first time this season.
But this is a game the Bears should — and must — win. They are 5-0 at home, the Spartans 0-4 on the road. San Jose State has never beaten Cal in Berkeley.
It will be interesting to see if Cal coach Mike Montgomery again uses a four-guard lineup, as he did at San Diego State, or gives freshman forward David Kravish his first start. I’m betting on the former because he may not be ready to remove returning starting PG Brandon Smith from the first unit.
Cal needs more from its seniors than it got at SDSU, when Jorge Gutierrez and Harper Kamp combined to score 12 points on 4-for-17 shooting. It will be a big surprise if they both don’t play better.
ABOUT THE SPARTANS: Coached by George Nessman, a Cal grad and one-time Bears assistant, San Jose State is coming off a 17-16 record in 2010-11, its first winning record since 1993-94 . . . SJSU lost 91-89 in double-overtime at Weber State in its most recent game, and also lost in OT to USF . . . Junior guard James Kinney has been a revelation in his debut season with the Spartans. A native of Champaign, Ill., he spent a year at Ohio U, then one at Eastern Utah JC, and leads SJSU with an 18.1 scoring average. Over the past three games, Kinney is 18 for 31 from the 3-point arc and is averaging 27.3 ppg. He scored 30 vs. Texas-San Antonio . . . Sophomore PG Keith Shamburger also is an explosive scorer. He started all 33 games a year ago — more than any WAC freshman — and averaged 12.4 ppg, most by any Spartans’ freshman since freshman eligibility was reinstated in 1972. He scored 20 points or more five times . . . SJSU shoots just 40 percent from the field as a team and has been outrebounded by an average of 5.4 per game.
IS JABARI COMING? Not to Cal, mind you, but word is Jabari Brown has interest in San Jose State (among other schools) after leaving Oregon’s program two weeks ago. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Oakland, rated one of the nation’s premier high school prospects a year ago, gave up on the Ducks two games into his freshman season.
THE SERIES: Cal leads 18-3, including an 18-0 record vs. SJSU at home. This is the first meeting since the 2005-06 season, when Cal posted a 70-52 victory.
MISCELLANY: San Jose State is converting 76.2 percent of its free throws, Cal 73.5 percent . . . The Bears lead the Pac-12 in FT and 3-point accuracy (44.4 percent) . . . Sophomore Allen Crabbe tops the conference with four 20-point games . . . Despite being outrebounded at SDSU, the Bears are second in the Pac in rebounding margin at plus-8.4 . . . Cal is 25-3 in non-conference home games under Mike Montgmery.
TIPOFF: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Haas Pavilion, Berkeley. Radio: 910-AM.
Cal (6-2, 0-0 Pac-12)
|SF Allen Crabbe||6-6||So.||15.4||6.0|
|PF Harper Kamp||6-8||Sr.||9.5||5.8|
|SG Justin Cobbs||6-2||So.||11.8||4.2*|
|SG Jorge Gutierrez||6-3||Sr.||13.5||5.1|
|PG Brandon Smith||5-11||Jr.||5.9||2.7*|
|F David Kravish||6-9||Fr.||5.1||5.3|
|F Bak Bak||6-9||Jr.||1.4||1.1|
|G Emerson Murray||6-3||So.||1.7||0.6|
San Jose State (3-5, 0-0 WAC)
|PF Wil Carter||6-8||Sr.||10.9||8.4|
|SF Jaleel Williams||6-6||Fr.||4.5||1.6|
|C Matt Ballard||6-9||Sr.||1.3||3.7|
|SG James Kinney||6-2||Jr.||18.1||3.3|
|PG Keith Shamburger||5-11||So.||14.6||5.1*|
|G Calvin Douglas||6-3||Sr.||9.5||2.3|
|G Lavanne Pennington||6-4||Jr.||5.4||3.3|
|G Chris Jones||6-4||Jr.||3.5||2.1|