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FINAL SCORE: Colorado 81, Cal 71. The Bears never overcame their early hole. They got within eight points in the final minute, but CU made eight straight free throws to ice the win. Cal drops to 11-8, 3-4 in the Pac-12 and has beaten Colorado in Boulder just once in nine tries — way back in 1974-75. CU improved to 14-6, 4-4 in the Pac-12, after starting 1-4 in the league. CU is 41-5 at home in 2 1/2 seasons under Tad Boyle. Cobbs and Crabbe had 22 and 21 points, respectively, but had just 10 points at halftime. Cal shot 20.6 percent in the first half, 60.5 percent in the second half. But CU converted 59.6 percent for the game, including 71.4 percent in the second half. Askia Booker had 20 points for CU, freshman Xavier Johnson a career-high 18 to go with 12 rebounds, Spencer Dinwiddie 16 and Andre Roberson 15, 12 of them in the second half.
2:04 2nd H: Cobbs and Crabbe have Cal’s last 15 points, but CU still leads 71-61. Crabbe 21, Cobbs 17. Booker 18 for CU.
3:52 2nd H: A pair of 3-pointers by Crabbe, who now has 21 points, pulled Cal within 65-54.
6:36 2nd H: CU lead is 62-46. Time running short. Roberson, who had 3 points in 2 minutes in the first half, now has 15 for the game. He’s very good.
8:58 2nd H: CU has outscored Cal 12-4 over the past 4 minutes and leads 58-40. Crabbe has 15 points — 11 in second half.
11:33 2nd H: Richard Solomon hit a 3-pointer a few minutes ago — not sure if that’s a good thing. He was 1 for 7 on the season and this may merely encourage him. CU leads 49-36. Cal switched to a zone defense a few series ago, and Booker and Sabatino Chen have burned them with 3-pointers. The Bears are playing more aggressively at both ends of the floor. But is it too late?
15:56 2nd H: CU leads 37-27. Tyrone Wallace just picked up his third PF on a charge. CU showing signs of weathering Cal’s comeback bid.
18:26 2nd H: A sign of life? Cal scores the first seven points of the half to pull within 34-25. Crabbe hit a standing 3-pointer, Kravish scored on a layup off a turnover, then Crabbe did the same. Cal shooting 3 for 3 in the half, CU has three turnovers.
HALFTIME SCORE: Colorado 34, Cal 18. A wretched first-half performance by the Bears, who shot 20.6 percent (7 for 34) in the half, including 0 for 7 from the 3-point arc. Fewest points the Bears have scored in the first half this season. Crabbe is 1 for 7. The reserves are 1 for 7. The Bears were outrebounded 24-15, despite the fact that Roberson played just 2 minutes before getting 2 fouls. G Askia Booker, who attended Crabbe’s Price HS in Los Angeles, has 13 points for CU, which is shooting 50 percent to overcome 10 turnovers. Freshman Xavier Johnson has 10 points and 8 rebounds for CU.
3:04 1st H: Buffs’ lead stretches to 30-15. Monty calls timeout. Probably asking his players to make a basket. Bears are 6 for 28 from the field. Ouch!
7:53 1st H: CU leads 21-9 and this game could quickly get out of hand. The Bears have scored two points over their past 14 possessions. They are shooting 4 for 22 from the field, and part of the problem is the wrong guys are shooting. Crabbe has attempted just three shots. One was a breakaway layup. One of the others was a 3-pointer he took with no rhythm and had no chance. CU able to keep Roberson on the bench because Cal is no threat at this point.
11:44 1st H: Same score — 14-7 CU. Sixteen straight possessions by the two teams without a point. Ugly hoops. Montgomery is playing lots of people early — trying to get them accustomed to altitude without sacrificing game. Already, Bak Bak, Brandon Smith, Robert Thurman and Jeff Powers have entered the game. But Smith, effective at Utah, already has three turnovers and is back on the bench. Looking early like one of those games where Crabbe having trouble getting untracked. Stay tuned.
15:05 1st H: CU leads 14-7 at first timeout. Buffs already have three 3-pointers — including two by Askia Booker — and an old-fashioned three-point play by freshman post Josh Scott. Cal is shooting 3 for 9 and two of those are on breakaway layups. Getting nothing easy in halfcourt against CU defense.
17:58 1st H: CU’s Andre Roberson — nation’s top rebounder — picks up two fouls in span of 5 seconds and sits down.
LINEUPS: Cal will start Richard Solomon, David Kravish, Allen Crabbe, Justin Cobbs and Tyrone Wallace. For Colorado: Andre Roberson, Josh Scott, Xavier Johnson, Askia Booker and Spencer Dinwiddie.
WELCOME: I’m here at the Coors Event Center at 5,345-foot elevation in beautiful Boulder to watch the Bears (11-7, 3-3) take on Colorado (13-6, 3-4). Will be a tough game for Cal — CU is 40-5 at home in 2 1/2 seasons under Tad Boyle. Will be back with lineups.