TIPOFF: 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Maples Pavilion, Stanford. TV: CSNBA. Radio: 910-AM.
The Golden Bears can do something Sunday afternoon they haven’t done since Feb. 27, 1953 — clinch a conference championship on rival Stanford’s home floor.
Dwight Eisenhower had been U.S. President for less than two months, gasoline was 20 cents a gallon and researchers has just discovered that cigarettes cause cancer when the Bears beat Stanford 82-63 to clinch the 1953 PCC North title.
UCLA’s 75-69 win over Washington on Saturday opened the door for Cal to steal a share of the regular-season title. A win over Stanford would also secure the No. 1 seed for the Pac-12 tournament, which begins Wednesday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
“We have a chance to finish first. To me, that’s always been a big deal,” Cal coach Mike Montgomery said this week.
The Bears can win their second conference crown in three seasons after going 50 years without one.
And they can do it at Maples Pavilion, where the Cardinal is 13-3 this season and won’t go down quietly.
“They’re a very good basketball team. They’re loaded with talent,” Montgomery said. “We’re going to have our hands full.”
ABOUT THE CARDINAL: Stanford is coming off a 58-57 loss at Utah, which followed a 74-50 win at Colorado. “Obviously, they did great at Colorado — that can be a little worrying,” Cal senior Harper Kamp said. “We know they’re a good defensive team. They’re just real solid all around. They’ve got some good weapons on offense. We’ve just got to come out hard, like we didn’t the last game.” . . . Freshman guard Chasson Randle, who leads the Cardinal in scoring at 13.0 ppg, has scored 16 points or more five of the past six games. He is 21 for 33 from the 3-point arc over those six games . . . Stanford shot just 38.5 percent from the field in its 69-59 loss at Cal, including 2 for 13 from the 3-point line.
JORGE’S STRUGGLES: Cal senior Jorge Gutierrez likely will be named Pac-12 Player of the Year on Monday, but is coming off a scoreless performance in which he shot 0 for 7 in the loss at Colorado. Gutierrez is shooting just 12 for 37 the past four games, including 2 for 13 from 3-point range. Montgomery said playing in front of 200 fans from his former high school in Denver may have contributed to Gutierrez’s struggles against CU.
“I feel for the kid. Jorge’s so conscientious, he’s such a good kid. He’s trying. Obviously, the ball’s not going down for him right now like he’d like right now,” Montgomery said. “I just reiterated his value to us in so many other ways. I said, `Everybody on the team respects you so much, you’ve just got to go out there and lead and defend everybody, like you have over the years.’ ”
MISCELLANY: With a victory, the Bears will equal the most conference wins (14) in school history and match their best overall victory total (24) since 1959-60 . . . Cal has not lost two games in a row all season.
Cal (23-7, 13-4 Pac-12)
|SF Allen Crabbe||6-6||So.||15.2||5.7|
|PF Harper Kamp||6-8||Sr.||11.1||5.0|
|PF David Kravish||6-9||Fr.||6.8||5.7|
|SG Jorge Gutierrez||6-3||Sr.||13.0||5.4|
|PG Justin Cobbs||6-2||So.||13.0||5.0*|
|G Brandon Smith||5-11||Jr.||3.2||2.4*|
|C Robert Thurman||6-10||Jr.||3.9||1.8|
|F Bak Bak||6-8||Jr.||1.9||1.4|
Stanford (19-10, 9-8 Pac-12)
|PF Josh Owens||6-8||Sr.||12.4||6.0|
|PF Josh Huestis||6-7||So.||5.4||5.2|
|SF Dwight Powell||6-9||So.||5.1||4.4|
|SG Anthony Brown||6-6||So.||7.6||3.5|
|PG Chasson Randle||6-1||Fr.||13.0||3.2|
|G Aaron Bright||5-11||So.||11.0||3.6*|
|F John Gage||6-9||So.||4.7||1.5|
|G Jarrett Mann||6-4||Sr.||3.3||2.9|