TIPOFF: 7 p.m. Saturday at Haas Pavilion. TV: CSNCA. Radio: 910-AM.
No shortage of motivation Saturday night for the Golden Bears:
— Senior Night and the chance for Jorge Gutierrez and HarperKamp to go out with a victory
— First-place in the Pac-10 standings with four regular-season games remaining
Cal probably played its poorest defensive game of the Pac-12 season in its 92-85 loss at Oregon State back on Jan. 5.
“We actually shot the ball pretty well against them,” coach Mike Montgomery said. “We just couldn’t get them stopped.”
Here’s my story on Gutierrez and Kamp
“(Jared) Cunningham create six straight fouls at the start of the second half. (Ahmad) Starks hit some tough shots. They just shot lights-out against us,” Montgomery said. “Obviously, we need to do a better job defensively.”
Cunningham and Starks each scored 24 points and the Beavers shot 11 for 18 from the 3-point line while matching Missouri’s point total — highest allowed by Cal all season.
“They’re one of the top offensive teams in the league and we did a poor job defending them,” said Gutierrez, referring to OSU’s conference-leading 80.5-point scoring average. “We need to be aggressive, we need to take away the stuff they do best. I don’t think we wer mentally focused on the game. But that’s no excuse for the way we play.
“Hopefully we’ll play better this time.”
ABOUT THE BEAVERS: OSU began the season determined to shift to a steady diet of man-to-man defense. But when Cal visited Gill Coliseum on the second weekend of the Pac-12 schedule, the Beavers surprisesd them with a return to the 1-3-1 zone that coach Craig Robinson has utilized in previous seasons.
Eric Moreland, an agile 6-foot-10 freshman, made his starting debut and provided a new element at the top of the zone. “Moreland’s changed their team a little bit. He’s so doggone long,” Montgomery said. “They’ll put Moreland in and he’ll try to block everything — he’s just crazy on the glass. And they’re probably better in their 1-3-1 just because he’s so long.”
The Beavers’ featured player is Cunningham, the one-time San Leandro HS star, who leads the Pac-12 in scoring at 18.9 ppg and ranks fifth nationally in steals at 2.77. Cunningham shoots more free throws than any player in the league and, over the past four games, is averaging 24.5 points.
THE SERIES: Cal leads 77-60. Oregon State won 92-85 in Corvallis, Ore., last month, and has won six of the past 10.
MISCELLANY: Cal has won four games in a row for the fourth time this season. The Bears have yet to win five straight . . . Justin Cobbs, coming off a 28-point, eight-assist performance against Oregon, has climbed to No. 2 in the Pac-12 in assists at 4.70 per game . . . Oregon State leads the Pac-12 and is ranked fourth nationally in steals at 9.85 per game. But it hasn’t always translated, as evidenced by the fact that the Beavers rank last in the conference in scoring defense at 73.0 ppg.
Cal (21-6, 11-3 Pac-12)
|SF Allen Crabbe||6-6||So.||15.6||5.8|
|PF Harper Kamp||6-8||Sr.||10.7||5.0|
|PF David Kravish||6-9||Fr.||6.1||5.6|
|SG Jorge Gutierrez||6-3||Sr.||13.4||5.2|
|PG Justin Cobbs||6-2||So.||13.3||4.7*|
|G Brandon Smith||5-11||Jr.||3.5||2.7*|
|C Robert Thurman||6-10||Jr.||3.9||1.8|
|F Bak Bak||6-8||Jr.||2.0||1.4|
Oregon State (15-11, 5-9 Pac-12)
|C Angus Brandt||6-10||Jr.||9.0||3.4|
|PF Eric Moreland||6-10||Fr.||4.6||6.5|
|SF Devon Collier||6-7||So.||13.2||4.6|
|SG Jared Cunningham||6-4||Jr.||18.9||3.8|
|PG Ahmad Starks||5-9||So.||12.3||2.8*|
|G Roberto Nelson||6-3||So.||9.8||2.9|
|F Joe Burton||6-7||Jr.||8.3||6.0|
|G Challe Barton||6-3||Fr.||1.8||0.6|