Click here for my game story, plus a photo slide show.
And here for Jon Wilner’s story on Allen Crabbe’s frustrating night.
FINAL SCORE: Syracuse 66, Cal 60. Bears got within six late, no closer. There will be no Sweet 16 for the Bears (21-12) — a drought that dates back to 1997. Solomon career-highs of 22 points, 14 rebounds. Crabbe scored eight points — nearly 11 under his average — on 3 for 9 shooting. Cobbs scored five on 2 for 9. Crabbe declined to address his future afterward.
Cal finished at 39 percent from the field, 4 for 21 from the 3-point arc. The Bears had 17 turnovers.
Syracuse (28-9) is headed to Washington D.C. for its fourth Sweet 16 appearance in five years, despite shooting 39 percent from the field and missing 15 free throws.
5:28 2nd H: Cal making a move — down 49-41. Is the comeback too late?
11:48 2nd H: Syracuse marched to the foul line on seven straight possessions, but made just 8 of 14. Still, the Orange inched into a 41-29 lead, which is now 41-30. Cal has no answers on offense.
15:30 2nd H: Syracuse going to the FT line for the fifth straight possession. They are able to get the ball to the rim whenever they want this half. So far 5 for 8 at the FT line in the half with two more coming. Cuse up 39-29 — game is in danger of slipping out of reach for Bears.
HALFTIME: Syracuse 32, Cal 24. Crabbe and Cobbs a combined 1 for 6 for 3 points.
3:40 1st H: Syracuse exerting itself and now leads 27-15. Orange has outscored Cal 13-5 over past 5 minutes. Cal with nine turnovers. Syracuse dominating inside — three putbacks in a row during surge. Crabbe and Cobbs a combined 1 for 5. That won’t work.
8:33 1st: Bears seemingly have weathered the storm. Now trail 14-11 after spin move and layup by Robt Thurman. He dunked on previous possession. He’s 8 for 8 FGs in NCAAs with seven dunks. Cal shooting 5 for 9, Syracuse 4 for 11. Both teams playing zone defense, and giving each other trouble.
10:52 1st H: Cal went 5:20 without a field-goal attempt. Not a FG, but a FGA. Seven straight turnovers and an 11-2 Orange lead. Then Solomon made a baseline shot to break the ice. Now 11-7 Cuse after 27-foot 3-pointer by Crabbe and a Syracuse turnover.
15:52 1st H: Syracuse leads 6-2. The Cuse zone definitely an issue — Cal is shooting 1 for 3 with 3 turnovers. Fact is, all were basically unforced. Bears need to settle down, Cal just beat zone with Kravish high-post pass down to Solomon . . . but Solomon hesitated when he should have shot.
STARTING LINEUPS: No surprises. Syracuse will go with PG Michael Carter-Williams, SG Brandon Triche, F C.J. Fair, F James Southerland and F Rakeem Christmas. Cal will start PG Justin Cobbs, SG Tyrone Wallace, SG Allen Crabbe, F Richard Solomon and F David Kravish.
PRE-GAME: Cal and Syracuse warming up — tipoff should be sometime around 6:45 p.m. Oregon whipped St. Louis 74-57 behind 23 points from freshman Daymean Dotson and 16 rebounds from Arsalan Kazemi, who had 33 in two games here. Ducks to play No.1 Louisville in Midwest Regional semifinals Friday in Indianapolis.
WELCOME: Back here at HP Pavilion for Cal’s second (er, third) round NCAA tournament game against 16th-ranked, fourth-seeded Syracuse (27-9). Bears (21-11) have won 8 of 10 and 10 of their past 13. This one will be tough.
Mike Montgomery needs one win to reach 110 in his first five seasons at Cal, matching the total by Pete Newell over his final five seasons (1956-60). Winner to Washington D.C. next week. Would be Cal’s first Sweet 16 appearance since 1997.