Basketball: USC game thread

Click here for my game story.

FINAL SCORE: Cal 76, USC 68. Bears outscore USC 25-7 over the final 5:35 to win their fifth game in six. Cal improves to 16-9, 8-5 in the Pac-12. Crabbe had 23 points and 10 rebounds and Cobbs scored 22. Bears pull into a tie for fourth place with Arizona State.

Crabbe and Montgomery both confirmed an incident during a timeout with 16:31 left when the coach gave his star player a little shove and yelled, “Do you want to play?”

“Just coach using his way of motivating me,” Crabbe said. “Just spur of the moment. It was a emotional game at the time. He was trying to motivate me. Everything’s fine. It’s under the bridge. He’s my coach.”

So, it was effective? “Yeah, obviously,” Crabbe said. “He motivated me well.”

Said Montgomery: “It worked, didn’t it? We were standing around. Nobody was ready to play. Allen had come down twice and went to the wrong side of the floor and his guy hit two 3-pointers.

“I was trying to get him going … it was probably over-exaggerated.”

11:21 2nd H: They’re playing the theme from “Shaft,” and Cal still down by eight points. Cobbs shooting a pair after the timeout. Solomon playing very well again with 11 points and six rebounds. Terrell has 15 points for the Trojans.

12:31 2nd H: Bears have scored last seven points, pulling within 47-39. Will be interesting,

15:43 2nd H: Monty put Crabbe and Solomon back into the game at 16:19. Not sure what the heck happened during the previous break. USC’s lead reached 47-32 — capping a 13-0 run — before Cobbs just scored on a drive to the basket. He is shooting one FT after the timeout. Cal facing quite a climb, trailing 47-32.

16:31 2nd H: These Trojans mean business. They have a 10-0 run going and lead 44-32. USC shooting 5 for 5 in the half, including a pair of 3-pointers by Byron Wesley. Crabbe appears agitated and has gone into the tunnel next to Cal’s bench. He is out of the game as play resumes.

HALFTIME SCORE: USC 32, Cal 28. Bears actually shooting better (45.8 percent to 39.4), but nine Cal turnovers are the difference. Crabbe has nine points, but four turnovers. Terrell, who did not play when the teams met in L.A. last month, leads the Trojans with 10 points on 4 for 11 from the field.

3:50 1st H: Bears got within 25-22 on a 3-pointer by Crabbe and a flying putback slam by Kravish. But Fontan just spun past Brandon Smith for a layup and gets a FT after the timeout. It’s 27-22 Trojans.

5:24 1st H: USC in midst of 16-2 run and leads 25-17. Cal shooting 38.9 percent with six turnovers. USC shooting no better, but has just one TO.

7:55 1st H: Cal’s run reached 13-0, but USC has answered with its own 11-point surge, which could grow when Dewayne Dedmon goes to the FG line for one shot after scoring and drawing a foul (No.2) against Richard Solomon. USC leads 20-15. Cal has turned the ball over on its past four possessions and had a shot blocked before that. In other words, five trips down the court without even hitting the rim with a shot.

11:51 1st H: Cal shooting the lights out? Well, at least the shotclock lights, which have gone blank for the second time tonight. So a brief break in the action. They’re playing some funky ’70s music during timeouts.

11:51 1st H: Bears on a 12-0 run and lead 14-9. Solomon just hit a 16-foot jumper in transition. Crabbe hit a 3-pointer on Cal’s previous possession. The Bears have scored 12 points on six possessions.

14:32 1st H: USC leads 9-6 at the first timeout. Solomon with a pair of baskets for the Bears. J.T. Terrell, who did not play when these teams met in L.A., already has five points, including a 3-pointer.

MJ’S 50TH: As Michael Jordan turns 50, four of Cal’s starters wearing the new AirJordan XX8 shoes the Bears debuted Thursday against UCLA. But Cobbs has gone back to his old shoes.

’70s NIGHT AT HAAS: And Oski is wandering about in a huge Afro wig.

THIS SCORE JUST IN: In the only other Pac-12 game today, Arizona held off host Utah 68-64 to improve to 9-4 in conference, moving into a tie for second place with UCLA, one game back of Oregon.

LINEUPS: USC will start Dewayne Dedmon, Eric Wise, Byron Wesley, J.T. Terrell and Jio Fontan. Cal goes with Richard Solomon, David Kravish, Allen Crabbe, Tyrone Wallace and Justin Cobbs.

WELCOME: Here again at Haas Pavilion to watch Cal (15-9, 7-5) and USC (12-13, 7-5) duel for a piece of fourth place in the Pac-12 standings. Brandon Smith, who banged his knee againsts UCLA on Thursday, is expected to play. Will be back with lineups.

Jeff Faraudo

  • Rollonubears

    Nowhere near the same intensity or desire tonight by the bears. Not having the football team there and a smaller crowd no doubt has an effect. Wonder if the team pressured Cobbs to wear the Jordans and he refused. Hopefully they can get the magic back.

  • Juancho

    Monty should be fired for that shove. Totally out of bounds.

  • Juancho

    That shove just guaranteed crabbe is gone. What a classless and gutless thing by montgomery. What the hell was he thinking.

  • joey

    These refs f*cking suck.

  • Juancho

    I just researched this. He shouldnt be fired. He should be suspended a game. Thats what happened to the morehead st coach who shoved his player in november.

    What a weird game. Great comeback. But our coach shoved our star player like he wanted to throw blows. I hope recruits werent watching.

  • wehofx

    Monty did the same thing to cobb in osu or pku game although not as emphatically. Juancho, I get why you’re so down on monty for the shove and I can’t/won’t defend it. I’m sure/hope monty will not in presser.

    But. I’m more old school. My hs football coach used to grab us by the face mask hard and yell so much that spittle would be sprayed on our faces when we made a stupid/lazy mental mistake.

    Did anyone see what crabbe did on D to piss off monty?

    it was not monty’s intent but by grabbing crabbe, it forced solo and cobb to step up and lead. No whining. No sulking. They showed heart and maturity. It was a beautiful thing to see.

    then, the piece de resistance was crabbe getting over it and stepping up HUGE in second half!

    This team has heart and stones! Since osu this team has been such a pleasure to watch.

  • wehofx

    …and pure speculation on my part but I bet sean rooks and bird senior didn’t mind the shove at all.

  • wehofx

    re: #7 – tweet from Cochran Sr re: bb game (and Cal Sweep weekend):

    Roderick Cochran ‏@CalPoppabear209

    #Calgang or Don’t bang. .. its going through ALL athletes in Berkeley

  • Juancho

    This isnt football.

  • Juancho

    He should be reprimanded by the ad. Im sure it was emotion. Still unacceptable in my book. He doesnt need to become bobby knight.

    To me theres a big differenc between tough love and getting physical with the player. Not acceptable.

  • Juancho
  • ConcordBear

    Anyone saying Monty should be reprimanded is soft.
    If Crabbe or his parents demand something from him that’s all he owes anyone.
    He knows Allen and what gets him going.
    He wants Crabbe to play to his potential and win.
    He woke our star and the team up and it worked.the players made it happen and deserve all the credit but Monty knew what was going on. It was a must win game and we were losing the fight and not competing hard enough.
    That comeback was a tremendous display of passion and fury, pure college fight displayed by our basketball program.
    Tremendous victory and the NCAA dream still alive.
    Can’t wait for Th. No one wants to play us right now.

  • Juancho

    I believe a college coach should not be allowed to shove his players. I am soft.

  • ConcordBear

    Sports are about competing and winning. Sometimes competitors challenge each other, most of the best do fight.
    This is the highest level of college basketball. Not high school or little league.
    Monty is trying to get his team to its potential and Crabbe to lead us there.
    Abuse is always wrong. Monty giving a shove to wake up his best player is a wake up call and it worked. Farthest thing from abuse.
    I love the compete displayed by our hoop program tonight.
    Our football team should have been there tonight, they would have learned something first hand.

  • milo

    Love tap…and Crabbe responded like a stud. He killed the condoms after that.

    Monty: “Well it worked didn’t it?”
    Crabbe: “It was just coach’s way to motivate me. No hard feelings.”

  • Juancho

    I respect your opinion concord. I dont share it but i do see merit in it.

  • Juancho

    Haha the condoms. Good lone milo.

    Maybe i am soft. I have been listening to a lot of r and b and oldies lately.

    I may be in the minirity on this one. So maybe im wrong.

  • ConcordBear

    Everyone different
    All good
    Read these quotes

    Monty and Allen Crabbe got into a heated exchange tonight Monty pushed Crabbe to wake him up during a timeout. Richard Solomon, Justin Cobbs, and an assistant coach all had to take turns speaking with Crabbe (the third conversation taking place in the tunnel) before he returned to the bench, and was inserted back into the game. Following the shove, Cal outscored USC 44-24 led by Crabbe who had a team-high 23 points.

    Crabbe in the post-game: “Just coach’s way of motivating me but everything’s fine… internal team matter.”

    Monty in the post-game: “Worked, didn’t it? We were standing around and I needed him to get going. Allen’s my guy and I needed him to get going. Their physical play took us out of it. We were getting frustrated and needed to get back playing like se played the last couple weeks. He was walking around expressionless. I’d do it (push Crabbe) again if that’s what it takes. I wanna win.”

  • Juancho

    I think monty poorly chose his words.

  • Juancho

    This is neither here nor there. But i thought a funny anectdote. One of my baseball kids just texted me “dude on espn they showed coach montgomery shoved allen crabbe. Damn”

  • milo

    The Shove was wrong but hey stuff happens.

  • ConcordBear

    Monty also quoted as saying, “I probably crossed the line”
    After saying he wants to win
    I want to sleep but that comeback was so exciting hard to come down.
    Well done Bears!!!

  • Juancho


    Ive got a bad feeling this thing is going to snow ball tomorrow. Usa today has it now.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    Havn’t seen it yet, so I don’t really know how to gauge things, but I imagine the fact that “it” worked will go a long ways in the minds of many talking heads.

    Had Cal gone on to lose by 20+ with Crabbe benched for the final 10 minutes instead? Then, it’d get ugly.

  • Juancho
  • ConcordBear

    Media is going to do what they do
    People and fans are going to comment on it
    The way it all went down got people’s attention.
    Will be interesting to see how the team handles it.
    Do they continue to play well and come together as they have been doing? Or do they go another direction.
    Incidents like this go one of two ways, pull you together and make you stronger or fracture a group.
    I’m so proud of the way our players are winning down the stretch.
    Tough road trip we need to bring our A game

  • Boaltblue

    Brother Juancho:

    I understand your point and agree that it is not cool for a coach to shove a player. But given Crabbe’s response, ““Just coach using his way of motivating me,” Crabbe said. “Just spur of the moment. It was a emotional game at the time. He was trying to motivate me. Everything’s fine. It’s under the bridge. He’s my coach.”, a private sitdown with Coach Montgomery to explain that he should not go down that path again and getting his assurance that it will not happen again should put this issue to rest.

    I was at the game. Montgomery’s tactic, while not something I would approve, did work. Wonderful game to follow up on the beating on Thursday’s victory over the Bruins.

  • Gobears49

    Was at the game but didn’t see the Monty/Crabbe incident until later on TV. All I saw was Cobbs wrap his arms around Crabbe after the Monty push.

    There’s a bit difference when a player opposes or says nothing about when a coach pushes him compared to when a player says nothing was wrong about it. The former could lead to a temporary suspension. Because the push comes within the second categoryI mentioned above (player says he is not concerned about it) think the most Monty will get out of this is a reprimand or a warning, unless there is a specific rule in the Pac-12 rules about not touching a player.

    A few thoughts on the game.

    1. Most important, I was really impressed closely watching Frid, our freshman (a redshirt) 7 footer warm up before the game. The guy is really quite athletic and has some good basketball skills. Was practicing his hook shot before the game — not bad. Has a good outside jumper — when he plays HORSE with Soloman and Rooks (big man horse) I would put my money on him. I predict he will definitely be in the playing rotation next year, and has a good chance of starting by the end of next season. We need more big men, including another big forward (I’m hoping Behrens will be that person).

    Frid looked much more like a seasoned basketball player than did Rooks in his highlight video. I heard afterwards at Pappy’s, from a guy who knows Frid, that Frid has only been playing basketball for three years but has played a lot of other sports and is a real athlete.. He’s an American. In spite of his short time playing the game, by George, I think he’s got it.

    2. Don’t know how we won the game. USC was killing us. I guess determination counts for a lot.

    3. Soloman showed his good turnaround jumper again tonight. He also did something new — he drove to the basket along the baseline and got fouled. I think he should practice doing that a lot more. He is likely to get fouled in the act of shooting that way. So he should also work on his foul shot a lot.

    4. Loved the high post offense Monty ran today for a few minutes. Led to the classic backdoor layup from Soloman to a teammate. They need more practice at it, but I think it is a good change of pace. You can’t run the outside weave the whole game.

    5. Wallace is not shooting well. Not sure whether it’s true or not, but in the UCLA post-game show, it was mentioned by an analyst commenting on the game indicated that Wallace needs to change his release of the ball on his shot, apparently what Christopher learned to do when he was at Cal. Something just to pass on, if the coach’s ever read this blog, to see if they agree.

    6. When USC was shutting us down, they were working hard on just Crabbe and Cobbs. The other guys on the team generally do not do much work to create their own shots, particularly Kravish. I would be nice to have another shot creator out there, such as Bird (was really impressive in his highlight video on YouTube). Having Bird as a go to guy, along with Crabbe and Cobs, should make it easier for Crabbe and Cobbs to get open looks at the basket. Crabbe was forced to take a lot of 3’s tonight from way outside because he was being so closely guarded everywhere else.

    Looks like we’re getting a lot closer to the dance, but we still need to play game by game. Told you we had a realistic shot at the dance, right before the Arizona game. I’ve been critical of the team, at times, but never gave up on them. Seems like SteveNTexas has just joined that camp. He might even has a few nice things to say about Monty.

  • Gobears49

    Correction — Frid won’t start much, if at all, next year unless we decide not to go to a three guard offense, which is doubtful. Even if Crabbe leaves, which I hope he doesn’t, I think out starters will be Wallace, Cobbs, Bird, Kravish, and Soloman. I think first reserves will be Kreklow, Powers, Behrens, and Frid, though we also need to find a backup point guard. I now think Rooks will redshirt.

  • Gobears49

    Cobbs could be the backup point guard, as he played the point earlier this year.

  • CalBearister

    Anyone who thinks what Coach Montgomery did to Allen Crabbe was wrong needs to look at the facts. IT WORKED. Did he injure Crabbe? Physically harm him? No. He motivated him.

    The real world isn’t a nice, warm cozy cocoon just waiting to love on young people. I needed a swift kick in the ass at that age, and I just wish someone had given it to me earlier than I ended up getting it.

    Crabbe’s a man. And he manned up. Stop being so damned PC.

  • Eric

    Uh, no. A coach NEVER should hit (or shove) a player. Period. It is embarassing and reflects a total lack of control. That isn’t PC, or softness. It is the right answer, unless one thinks there is no problems beating the living crap out of anyone to motivate them.

    Monty should be suspended a game.

    Let me ask those who defend the following hypothetical and your responses:

    Monty shoves Crabbe. Crabbe shoves Monty back. Monty sits Crabbe the rest of the game. Right answer or wrong answer?

    Or same hypothetical but, after shoving Crabbe back, Monty puts him back in. Right answer or wrong answer?

    If you defend Monty’s shove, then your answer to the first or second hypo has to be the right answer is to put him back in. But in doing so, you’ve taught every college player (a) winning is the most important thing irrespective of the consequences and (b) it is ok for every player and coach to do whatever the hell they want (as long as it is not criminal) as long as we win.

    That’s a slippery slope.

  • CalBearister

    So now Monty was “beating the living crap” out of Allen Crabbe? Sort of like Adam James was “locked in an electrical shed.” Please. Monty shoved him with two open hands. It was no harder than the shoves the players give each other after a good play.

    It reminds me of the instructions we got as 3Ls at Boalt when commenting on 1L memos. “Don’t use red pens for your comments, because red has such a negative tone to it.” Really? Any prospective lawyer who would fall to pieces because I marked up their memo with a red pen should be summarily thrown out of the program, not coddled.

    As for your hypotheticals:

    >>Monty shoves player, player shoves Monty back. Assuming the shove back was in an insubordinate manner, the player should be sent to the locker room. Same answer even if the player doesn’t shove back – players obey their coach. Period.

    >>Monty puts player back in after player shoves back. Whether that’s right depends on context. Again, was it a shove out of insubordination, or just getting fired up and ready to play?

    So no, winning is not the most important thing. But to pretend that you can just get your point across with friendly words and hugs of love is naive in my mind. The shove was intended to get Crabbe’s attention – not to hurt him or punish him. And it worked – Crabbe got focused and dominated the rest of the second half (first on defense, then on offense).

    Like it or not, Monty helped make Allen Crabbe a more focused athlete and young man last night. That’s why I support what he did, not because we won.

  • Gobears49

    I personally had no problem with Monty giving a shove to Crabbe. He wasn’t hurt and , most importantly, he didn’t complain about it and, I believe, said it was helpful. But this is Berkeley, the capital (or at least the west coast capital) of the liberal PC police. Who knows, if Montgomery gets away with that, then the next thing is every parent in Berkeley will be giving a shove to their kids to get them motivated, which in many, many cases would be a good thing for them.. To calm the PC police down, that’s why Monty probably will end up with a reprimand. He then will have been “punished.” Being reprimanded is the maximum punishment that is appropriate when a player admits a shove was what he needed.

  • rob bear

    What the heck happened to Wallace? He looked as if he had not picked up a ball in months! Nice win, especially to sit in front of the ‘SC faithful as their team deflated! Onto Duckville. Beat Oregon & Oregon State with EXTREME PREJUDICE!

    For those who saw the push, Monty did not do it with intent to harm, injure, embarrass or for illegal purposes. I have seen coaches slap football players harder on the rear for good or bad plays and no one says a thing. Relax guys. He meant no harm and Crabbe, and the guy who got pushed, did not either.

  • Eric


    Let me guess – a Law & Economics guy straight outta Chicago. Of course, if you recall Torts, the shove would be a tort. Plain and simple. Maybe little in terms of damages, but it is still a liability.

    You proved my point – if Crabbe does shove back, he is insubordinate and needs to be send to the locker room, because insubordination always wrong. But when a coach does it, the guy who controls the playing time and gets paid lots of money, it isn’t equally wrong? Sorry, that logic makes no sense.

    By saying it was ok for a coach to do what Monty did, it does not take much for you to end up on th slippery slope. Suppose a kid appears injured, but the coach decides then and there he is not sends him back out there because he needs to “toughen up” and it is just PC wussiness not to go back out there. That is analogous to what you find acceptable. It is also why the NFL and colleges are facing potentially massive liability on concussions – you don’t think that sort of shaming a kid to back out and win one for the team didn’t exist. Or maybe in practice a coach wants to make an example of a kid the coach thinks is playing lazy and orders teammates to “shove” the kid around.

    I’m glad Monty apologized. I’m glad the AD called him out. People should take responsibility for their actions. Hopefully this will be put to rest.