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Basketball: Washington State game preview

TIPOFF: 1 p.m. Saturday at Haas Pavilion, Berkeley. TV/Radio: Pac-12/910 AM.

The word is out on the Cal basketball team: Play physical and aggressive and wait to see if the Golden Bears back down.

By their own admission, they did just that in a 62-47 home loss to Washington, and coach Mike Montgomery challenged his players afterward to change the script.

When asked to comment on sophomore David Kravish’s remark that the Bears played with no heart, Montgomery acknowledged there’s “an element of that.”

But he didn’t stop there.

“At some point the kids are going to have to step up and figure out what they want to be and how they’re going to be perceived and what it is they want to try to do,” Montgomery said.

Picked to finish third in the Pac-12 Conference, the Bears (9-6, 1-2) have lost six of their past nine games. Against WSU (9-6, 0-2), they cannot afford another stumble.

A year ago, Cal got leadership from seniors Jorge Gutierrez and Harper Kamp, both unwilling to down from any opponent. Without them, there is no clear emotional leader or tough guy on this club.

Making matters worse, the Bears have limited depth, exacerbated by injuries in the backcourt.

On Wednesday, after Washington ran off 16 straight points to break open a tie game, Cal never made a serious comeback bid.

“Once we got down, we kind of caved a little bit,” Montgomery said. “We caved to the pressure and let them have their way with us. A lot of it had to do with mental preparation.

“We’ve got to continue to work on that in terms of understanding that every game we play is going to be an absolute dogfight. We’ve got to make our minds up that if somebody pushes, we’ve got to push back, that if there’s a loose ball, we’ve got to go on the floor.”

Cal allowed Washington 20 offensive rebounds and seemed outworked for every 50-50 ball. Montgomery said the Bears didn’t show poise or consistent toughness.

“I don’t think that’s totally ingrained in us,” he said.

COBBS’ STRUGGLES: Among changes Montgomery made against UW was shifting freshman Tyrone Wallace part-time to point guard, giving Justin Cobbs the chance to focus on his own scoring. Neither move was effective.

The team’s No. 2 option behind Pac-12 scoring leader Allen Crabbe, Cobbs averaged 20 points on 63.5-percent shooting as the Bears won their first six games. In nine games since then, he is averaging 12 points and converting just 38.3 percent. He hasn’t made a 3-pointer the past five games.

A day after shooting 4 for 15 against the Huskies, Cobbs tweeted, “toughest time of my life.”

Montgomery said Cobbs must take shots he can make.

“Shots going in has an awful lot to do with shot selection,” Montgomery said. “He tried to take the ball maybe a step too far rather than stopping and rising up (for a mid-range shot).”

ABOUT THE COUGARS: Senior F Brock Motum of Brisbane, Australia, is the Pac-12′s No. 2 scorer (behind Cal’s Allen Crabbe) with an average of 20.0 ppg. He is coming off a season-high 29-point performance in the Cougars’ 78-67 loss at Stanford. Motum has seven 20-point games this season. … The Cougars lost 78-41 early this season at Kansas, but showed marked progress in a last-second 71-69 loss to regional rival Gonzaga. … Freshman Richard “Junior” Longrus of Oakland was a former Bishop O’Dowd HS teammate of Arizona freshman Brandon Ashley.

THE SERIES: Cal leads 73-47. WSU won 77-75 in last season’s only meeting at Pullman, Wash. The Cougars have won the past two games after a five-game win streak by Cal.

ETC: Despite being held to a season-low nine points by UW, Allen Crabbe moved past Jorge Gutierrez and Ryan Anderson into 19th on Cal’s career scoring list with 1,238 points. He is one point behind Brian Wethers. … WSU sophomore G Royce Woolridge, who sat out last season after transferring from Kansas, is the son of the late Orlando Woolridge, who played at Notre Dame, and the great nephew of NY Knicks legend Willis Reed.

WHAT’S NEXT: Cal plays Stanford on Saturday, Jan. 19 at Haas Pavilion. Tipoff is 1:30 p.m.

Cal (9-6, 1-1 Pac-12)

Starters Ht Yr Pts Rebs
SG Allen Crabbe 6-6 Jr. 20.5 5.9
PF Richard Solomon 6-10 Jr. 8.5 6.3
PF David Kravish 6-9 So. 7.7 7.6
PG Justin Cobbs 6-2 Jr. 15.2 3.9*
SG Tyrone Wallace 6-3 Fr. 5.9 4.9
Key reserves
G Brandon Smith 5-11 Sr. 3.5 2.5*
C Robert Thurman 6-10 Sr. 4.9 3.7
G Jeff Powers 6-7 Jr. 1.5 0.5

*Assists

Washington State (9-6, 0-2)

Starters Ht Yr Pts Rebs
F Brock Motum 6-10 Sr. 20.0 6.5
F D.J. Shelton 6-9 Jr. 5.3 5.9
SG Mike Ladd 6-5 Sr. 9.8 5.5
SG Will DiIorio 6-5 Sr. 3.9 2.5
PG DaVonte Lacy 6-3 So. 10.8 2.5
Key reserves
G Dexter Kernich-Drew 6-6 So. 7.2 3.1
G Royce Woolridge 6-3 So. 6.9 2.7
F Junior Longrus 6-7 Fr. 1.1 2.1

*Assists

Jeff Faraudo

  • joey

    Cobbs needs to learn how to turn his trash talk into leadership. If he wants to play at the next level he has to make everyone better not try and make himself look good. Right now he seems pretty soft.

  • BlakeStreetBear

    No idea what happened to Cobbs…he was playing at an ELITE level for the first month of the season. Now he can’t decide whether to drive all the way, pull up or dish and that indecision is killing this team. I think he’s tired, but who on this team isn’t? Depth on a bball team is essential, and at this point, Cal has NONE. Its gonna be a tough season…no way around it, we simply don’t have the horses.

    I hope that Crabbe comes back, because next season could be the start of something special, and we will have incredible depth. Damn, I wanted to see Kreklow play this year. Any chance of a medical redshirt for this season and a sixth year of eligibility? Go Bears!

  • gobears49

    Was not going to comment for awhile, but couldn’t resist copying the portion of the article from above which agrees with what I have been harping on when posting to Jeff’s blog — we need to try to get open shots, which are much easier to make than contested shots. Nuf said.

    “Montgomery said Cobbs must take shots he can make.

    “Shots going in has an awful lot to do with shot selection,” Montgomery said. “He tried to take the ball maybe a step too far rather than stopping and rising up (for a mid-range shot).”

  • SteveNTexas

    WSU is 0-4 vs top 50 Teams -its best game was about 5 games ago as JEff mentioned a 2 point loss to Gonzaga. Kansas practically doubled them 78 -41 but they beat Utah umm Utah Valley handily. They have not won a Pac12 game most recently losing to Stanford by 11

    Senior Forward Brock Modem avgs 20 points a game-he is their star.

  • ConcordBear

    Cobbs and Soloman are not playing to their ability.
    There are a lot of injuries and Crabbe is not athletic enough to do it all on his own.
    Those guys need to step up and lead the team out of this hole.
    On the other hand they need help.
    There is not a lot of help right now.
    The injury to Ricky’s foot really really hurts, Behrans going down again takes us from extremely thin to no bench.
    This is not our year.
    Monty needs to steady the ship and still recruit!
    We need more players, I think a JC is needed in addition to the 4 HS kids we have signed.
    Get an impact JC PG or big man.
    Need to get better!!!
    Football and basketball are way down right now, come on Sandy Barbour!!!!!!!! Buck stops with her

  • Takeoffthatredshirt

    I wish I felt more confident about this game.

    Both teams need a win and it’s going to be a battle.

    As said above, it’s time for Cobbs to get back on track.

  • SteveNTexas

    Well all is not lost. Stanford was 9 point favs vs WSU and we probably are something similar minus the effect of the Wash Game on oddsmakers.

  • wehofx

    Takeoff/Blake/Disc, monty’s action above remind me of the post – whichever one of you reposted – from the Bear who sat behind our bench for $sc and ucla games. monty calling out the team in the media reminds me of sth phil jackson would do. (yeah, I know, the vast majority of people outside la and chi hate phil. but phil and monty are both master coaches.) no doubt monty’s been preaching effort, share the rock, HEART and STONES in the locker room. not getting through, time for plan C or D: public call out in media.

    I am hopeful we rise to the call.

    final master coaching desperation move is – during time out 5 minutes into second half of lack luster/bad effort – telling the team he’s disgusted w their effort. he can’t stand to watch anymore. he leaves the floor, leaving an assistant in charge. team gets it. kicks ass. however, this team is so thin, I’m not sure that kind of coaching move is warranted. but it’s a good one – that can only be used once every coupla 3 years.

    yeah, it is time for cobb to step up. in uw thread I compare his struggles – and game – to J Randle. JR in his soph and jr years had me more than once slapping my forehead and yelling at the tv – sometimes in crowded bars. JR also had a better team around him.

    Cobb looked great for most of last year but – to state the obvious – it was a lot easier for him to get open looks w gut, kamp and crabbe on the floor. I remain optimistic Cobb will figure out how to deal w being (2nd) center of opposing team’s D. It’ll also help if kravish keeps upping his game.

  • wehofx

    …and in football twitter rumors stoops and Ok are making a run at stealing dannon cavill, the wr from Tx.

    Juancho, how you feeling about the last 4 weeks of recruiting? think we gotta shot a cracking top 20?

    I do but it won’t help the cause if that mof… steals cavill.

  • BlakeStreetBear

    Anyone know if Kreklow can medical-redshirt this season? I’d rather him just sit out and get healthy and have a full 3 seasons with the new set of recruits coming in…unless this team REALLY turns it around soon.

  • Juancho

    Wehofx.

    Looks like only one non commit is visiting this weekend. Goff, anderson, whitehurst and the non commit johnny ragin. Ragin would be a great get.

    I think top 20 is a longshot. I think keeping hunt and cavil will be key. The number of top guys we may switch these last few weeks is just too small.

  • gobears49

    BlakeStreetBear,

    Decided to look up your medical redshirt question, as it is a good one. Here is what I found (from Wikipedia) –

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redshirt_(college_sports)

    “A special case involves the eligibility of a player who loses the majority of a season to injury. Popularly known as a medical redshirt, a hardship waiver may be granted an athlete who appears in fewer than 30% of his or her team’s competitions (with none coming after the midway point of the season), then suffers a season-ending injury. A player who is granted such a waiver is treated for the purposes of his or her eligibility as though he or she had not competed in that season.”

    I think Kreklow’s last game was against UCLA (though I’m not sure), which was past the mid-part of the season (at least the regular season), so he is disqualified under that rule, even though he could meet the less than 30% game played requirement. But there is also substantial doubt, in my mind, that it can be effectively argued the Kreklow had a “season ending injury” in that game. Arguably, the injury occurred before the season started and it was just aggravated in the UCLA game. But it doesn’t really seem to matter, given Kreklow playing after mid-season.

    Comments from others are appreciated, as I did not know anything about the rule until I just looked it up.

  • gobears49

    I have read a lot of article on SA discussing Apple’s very low P/E compared to others. After having read them, I have my own theory. The lower the P/E, the greater the likelihood (or expectation) that earnings will fall in the future. It does not seem to matter as much if it is much more likely that earnings will rise. That theory could explain why Wal-Mart has a higher P/E than Apple, as it is perceived as having much less risk than Apple that it earnings will go down. Amazon is the same as Wal-Mart, but since it is much less likely than Wal-Mart that its earnings will decease, it is assigned a much higher P/E.

    I’m sure there are many exceptions to the rule I have suggested. But I think it does have some merit to account, at least partially, for the difference in P/E’s.

  • gobears49

    Sorry, and I’m embarrassed about this, but comment #13 was written for a SeekingAlpha blog. I comment a lot on blogs, and even more on financial stock blogs than on Cal Bear blogs.

  • Juancho

    Hahahahahahahahaha wtf

  • gobears49

    It is pretty funny. Should slow me down some in my writing in the future. Sort of like writing to the wrong girlfriend by mistake.

  • SteveNTexas

    Gobears LOL I am on seeking alpha at times – I recommended CNO when it was at 3 , 4 etc because it has a book value of 18 or so, Its still not too bad a buy at $9.

    Gobears at least you didn’t post your Craigslist personal here..

  • The Wisdom Cow

    Could have been worse, Gobears. You could have posted your theory on why dragons are dramatically effecting the economy in all of Essos, not just Slaver’s Bay. Praise R’hllor.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    On recruiting, I’ll be surprised and very glad if Cal comes out (on paper) better on signing day than where they stand now. I’m hoping some big gets can still creep into the picture, but the combo of new coaches and high profile programs poaching current top commits (that gave verbals to Tedford) just screams trouble.

    Personally, I’ll consider it a huge victory if they keep Hunt.

    The OL and DL need to be the top priority every year if you want sustained success. The best RBs can gain yards without blocking, where an old blue can gain 4 per play behind a line creating huge holes, and a defense can only be as good as their front 7. Hunt is about as close to a sure contributor for the OL as a non national champion contender program can get. Losing him would hurt.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    D’oh, can > can’t

  • Juancho

    True wisdom. The buzz is that austin hooper will prob commit to stanford now bc their tight ends are gone. Hes on an official there this weekend.

    Cavil should decide today or tom. Hell be moving to oklahoma or cal to enroll in spring this weekend.

    In other news. What are the best snacks or foods for a day of playoff american football ???

  • Juancho

    I believe cavil has decided to stick with cal.

  • Kevin Thomas

    In your starting lineup,listing Tyrone Wallace as a SHOOTING guard is a misnomer. Shoot yes. Make, no, or at least not very many.