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Basketball: Bears blown out in Vegas

First a disclaimer: I was not at Cal’s game Friday afternoon at UNLV. Ben Enos from our staff made this trip, also covering the Saint Mary’s games Thursday and today. But . . .

The Golden Bears’ 85-68 loss to the No. 21 Runnin’ Rebels was much worse than the final score. Vegas led by 20 points at the half and by 27 with 8 1/2 minutes left.

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The wire service game story from ESPN.com.

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The outcome, coupled with Cal’s 39-point loss to Missouri last month, raises some serious questions about the Bears:

   — Can they compete on the road? They are 10-3 overall, but 1-3 in games outside Haas Pavilion.

   — Can they hang with high-level teams? In two tries against Top-25 opponents, they have been outscored by 56 points.

   — Are they capable of winning the Pac-12 title? A tougher question, in my opinion.

Given that the Pac-12 remains winless in 12 tries against Top-25 teams, asking whether there are any high-level teams in the conference is a fair question.

But there will be road games, nine of them to be exact. And teams such as Arizona and Washington will come at the Bears with the same quickness, length and athleticism they saw against Mizzou and Vegas.

And they were not competitive in either of these games.

UNLV led 46-26 at halftime as the Bears shot 8 for 27 and had six turnovers. They missed five layups and got clobbered on the boards.

For the game, sophomore Justin Cobbs scored 20 points, had five assists and just two turnovers.

But the Bears’ two leading scorers struggled. Jorge Gutierrez was 3 for 14 and scored 12 points; Allen Crabbe was 4 for 13 and had 13 points. That’s a combined 7 for 27.

Harper Kamp contributed 12 points and nine rebounds and David Kravish came off the bench with eight points and seven rebounds.

UNLV just had too many weapons. Anthony Marshall had 22 points and nine rebounds. Chace Stanback scored 15 and Mike Moser 14 to go with eight rebounds. Point guard Oscar Bellfield had 11 points and 11 assists.

Cal woke up Friday morning with a No. 66 rating, according to RealTimeRPI.com. It will be worse on Christmas Eve morning.

This game won’t help Cal’s potential NCAA tournament seeding and it doesn’t do anything to dispel the notion that the Pac-12 is a mess.

Right now, the Bears have more immediate concerns: In six days they open the Pac-12 schedule at home against USC. 

 

Jeff Faraudo