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Basketball: Washington game preview

By Jeff Faraudo
Wednesday, January 9th, 2013 at 12:24 am in Basketball, Gameday.

TIPOFF: 8 p.m. Wednesday at Haas Pavilion, Berkeley. TV/Radio: ESPN2/910 AM.

At USC last Saturday night, Mike Montgomery looked farther down his bench than he had most of the season. Given encouraging results, expect him to do it again Wednesday night against Washington.

“I don’t have any choice,” he said. “They’re just going to have to go in and produce.”

The depth-starved Bears, expecting to play again without injured reserves Brandon Smith (concussion) and Ricky Kreklow (foot), hope to get another lift from their reserves.

In the win over the Trojans, junior guard Jeff Powers delivered a pair of first-half 3-pointers, and senior forward Bak Bak had two points, two rebounds, an assist and a steal. The two combined for 19 generally productive minutes after averaging about 6 minutes in 13 previous games.

Afterward, Montgomery said he probably needs to have more faith in his bench.

Tonight, in the Bears’ lone matchup this season with the Huskies, we’ll find out if that faith is justified.

Powers is particularly key because of the Bears’ backcourt manpower issues.

“We started the year with a lack of guard depth and we’ve lost two of them,” Montgomery said. “We put Jeff Powers in a position where he’s got to play the 2 and the 3. He’s a smart guy. Jeff is going to be given more opportunities and hopefully he can capitalize on them.”

Powers, a 6-foot-7 walk-on from De La Salle-Concord, knew beforehand he would see more action at USC. And he admitted being a bit nervous.

“It definitely helped my confidence a lot,” he said. “I did prove I can play and provided some valuable minutes against USC. It helped the team win.”

Powers said he’s been known mainly as a perimeter shooter, but struggled to identify his highest-scoring game at De La Salle. But he did recall setting a school record with 18 points in one quarter.

“I wasn’t a volume scorer in high school,” he said. “We led California in defense. We didn’t really need to score the ball that much.”

ABOUT THE HUSKIES: Washington continues to feature excellent perimeter players, led by C.J. Wilcox, who averages 18.4 points and has eight 20-point games this season. He needs just 19 points to reach 1,000 for his career. Wilcox also is the Pac-12′s active career 3-point basket leader with 173. … Former Salesian-Richmond star Desmond Simmons is a defensive dynamo at forward. “He’s kind of the glue for them,” Montgomery said. “If there’s a loose ball, he’s going to get on the floor. He’s a good defender, a very active player.” … Senior PG Abdul Gaddy is shooting just 40 percent from the field the past 10 games. He also has at least three turnovers in 10 of the Huskies’ 14 games. … The difference between the Huskies this season and a few years ago is their defense, which no longer generates offense from its buzzsaw defense. UW is tied for last in the Pac-12 in steals with 4.4 per game, down from 6.7 per game each of the past two seasons. … The Huskies also rank last in the conference in field-goal defense, allowing opponents to convert 41.9 percent.

THE SERIES: Cal leads 78-77. The teams have split the past 10 meetings, with the Bears winning last season’s lone matchup, 69-66, in Seattle. This is the only game between the teams this season. Cal is 40-25 all-time at home vs. UW.

ETC: Having climbed to No. 21 on Cal’s career scoring list with 1,229 points, Allen Crabbe has a good chance of moving to No. 18 during the UW game. Next up for him are: No. 20 Jorge Gutierrez (1,232), No. 19 Ryan Anderson (1,236) and No. 18 Brian Wethers (1,239). … Crabbe’s 21.4 scoring average ranks 10th nationally. He is scoring at a 24.5 clip the past four games, during which he’s shooting 59.7 percent from the field. … Cal and Washington are among just three Pac-12 teams who posted road wins last weekend. Oregon also won on the road. Home teams were 7-3 on the first weekend of the conference schedule.

WHAT’S NEXT: Cal plays Washington State on Saturday at Haas Pavilion. Tipoff is 1 p.m.

Cal (9-5, 1-1 Pac-12)

Starters Ht Yr Pts Rebs
SG Allen Crabbe 6-6 Jr. 21.4 5.7
PF Richard Solomon 6-10 Jr. 8.6 6.4
PF David Kravish 6-9 So. 7.3 7.8
PG Justin Cobbs 6-2 Jr. 15.6 3.9*
SG Tyrone Wallace 6-3 Fr. 6.4 5.1
Key reserves
G Brandon Smith 5-11 Sr. 3.5 2.5*
C Robert Thurman 6-10 Sr. 5.2 3.4
G Jeff Powers 6-7 Jr. 1.5 0.6

*Assists

Washington (9-5, 1-0)

Starters Ht Yr Pts Rebs
C Aziz D’Diaye 7-0 Sr. 11.1 9.2
F Desmond Simmons 6-7 So. 6.1 8.1
SG Scott Suggs 6-6 Sr. 13.5 2.5
SG C.J. Wilcox 6-5 Jr. 18.4 4.5
PG Abdul Gaddy 6-3 Sr. 12.6 3.8*
Key reserves
G Andrew Andrews 6-2 Fr. 7.0 2.0
F Shawn Kemp Jr. 6-9 So. 4.7 2.0
F Jernard Jarreau 6-10 Fr. 3.5 2.1

*Assists

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  • SteveNTexas

    Washington is 9-5 beating Seton Hall for its most notable win. It only lost by 11 to OPhio State.

    On the negative side it was blown out by 18 to Colordado State adn lost to Albany.

    Sagarin rates them 10th in Pac 12 adsn 94th overall.

    Wilcox and Suggs are leading scorers and both hit about 40% from the 3

  • SteveNTexas

    We are 6.5 pt favs tonight and Stanford is 8 over WSU. Here is the Cal portion of Bubblewatch in Sports Illustrated this morning:

    California (9-5, 1-1; RPI: 69, SOS: 50)

    The Golden Bears once again whiffed on every quality nonconference opportunity, including losing three times at home. The Pac-12 isn’t good enough for the Bears to think they can nab a bunch of wins against the bottom half and that will be enough. They already lost at UCLA and don’t get Arizona at home, so chances for big wins are somewhat limited.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    There were many, here and elsewhere, that gave Monty much props for playing the bench more at U$C, some going so far as to call it great coaching. I saw it as necessity, and his “I don’t have a choice” line speaks volumes towards that point.

    Monty, recruit more than one big a year and you might not be in this situation over and over and over.

  • SteveNTexas

    Yes I agree using the bench was a good idea vs USC no need to run up the score.

    He needs to recruit better but also fix whatever cause us to fold at the end of last season.

  • Sean

    Don’t we also have a scholarship spot not filled? Another body (any size) might be nice…