Basketball: Denver game thread

Click here for my game story.

FINAL SCORE: Cal 77, Denver 50. Wallace scored 16 points, Kravish 15 and Solomon had a career-high 16 rebounds as the Bears (2-0) won easily. Cobbs had 10 points and six assists before leaving the game. Bird, scoreless at halftime, finished with eight points, as did fellow freshman Sam Singer. Cal returns to action Friday at home against Oakland (0-2). Tipoff is 8 p.m.

UPDATE: Coach Mike Montgomery said after the game that Cobbs’ left knee is fine and he expects the senior PG to play Friday against Oakland.

3:09 2nd H: Cobbs returned to the bench a couple minutes ago, his left knee wrapped in ice. Cal leads 68-45. Solomon has a career-high 16 rebounds. Wallace has 16 points and Kravish has 15. Cobbs had 10 points and six assists before leaving. Bears holding Denver to 33-percent shooting.

8:27 2nd H: Cobbs goes down awkwardly and stays on floor for 2 minutes. Holding his left knee. Finally walks (limps) off the floor with help, and into the locker room. Bears hold their breath.

10:41 2nd H: The Pioneers have hit four 3-pointers this half and twice got within 14. But Cal leads 53-37, thanks to 15 points from Kravish, 12 from Wallace and 13 rebounds by Solomon.

15:34 2nd H: Jabari Bird with a smooth LH layup — his first two points of the game. Cal leads 44-25.

17:46 2nd H: A steal, layup and free throw by Wallace (who has 10 points) pushed Cal’s lead to 40-22. But Udofia hit a 3-pointer for the Pioneers. It’s Cal 40-25.

RECRUITING UPDATE: Wednesday is the start of the fall signing period and 7-footer Thomas Welsh, a 4-star prospect from Loyola HS in Los Angeles, just told me he hasn’t yet made a decision. Likely in the next couple days, he said. Cal has been after him hard.

HALFTIME: Cal 35, Denver 18. The Bears led by 22 points until the final 30 seconds of the half, when the Pioneers scored the final five points of the half. Kravish leads the Bears with 11 points and Solomon has 10 rebounds. Cal shooting 59 percent from the field. Denver is at 21 percent, including 2 for 13 from the 3-point line. Cam Griffin has 10 points for the Pioneers; the rest of his team has eight points on combined 2 for 17 from the field.

3:46 1st H: Cal leads 27-11. Solomon with six points and eight rebounds. Denver still have some difficulty finding the basket: 4 for 20, including 1 for 11 from 3-point. I got a feeling the Duke-Kansas game might be just a little bit better than this one.

7:40 1st H: Beautiful bounce pass from Wallace to Solomon for a dunk and Cal leads 24-5. The Pioneers are shooting 2 for 14, 0 for 8 from deep and have as many turnovers as points. That won’t work. Cal shooting 10 for 13, without a basket outside the lane.

10:24 1st H: Cal leads 19-5 as the Pioneers cannot find the basket. Denver shooting 2 for 12 from the field, 0 for 7 from beyond the arc. Kravish already halfway to his career high of 18 with nine points. Solomon has four points and five rebounds. Ricky Kreklow on the bench with two fouls.

15:38 1st H: Cal leads 6-0 as the Pioneers have failed to convert on their first six possessions. Denver shooting 0 for 5 with a turnover. Cal taking the ball inside to maximize their size advantage: Kravish with a pair of baskets in the lane, Solomon with one.

STARTING LINEUPS: Mike Montgomery makes a change: Freshman Jabari Bird to start in place of Ricky Kreklow. Rest of the lineup the same: Justin Cobbs, Tyrone Wallace, David Kravish and Richard Solomon. Denver’s starting five: Jalen Love, Brett Olson, Marcus Byrd, Cam Griffin and Chris Udofia.

WELCOME: Here at Haas Pavilion as the Bears (1-0) take on the Denver Pioneers (0-0) of the Summit League.

The schools have met four times previously, with Cal winning all four.

Will be back with the Bears’ starting lineup.

Jeff Faraudo

  • KC

    Obviously very concerned about Cobbs and hope he’s okay. Other than that possible problem, I’m encouraged by what I saw tonight and really like the way Montgomery is utilizing the bench and attempting to create some meaningful depth. Get well Cobbs and go Bears!

  • Will

    This is why I love college ball – being able to see players grow right in front of your eyes. We saw it with Jerome Randle and Jorge…and I think we’re starting to see it with Tyrone Wallace. He’s really setting himself up to be a leader on this team for the next couple of years.

  • Gobears49

    Went to the game tonight, mainly to check on the freshmen. My short comments on each player.

    Kravish — more post up moves. Now looking to shoot the ball instead of pass. Actually saw him force a shot for the first time.

    Soloman — much more disciplined. No stupid fouls that I saw.

    Generally, the two bigs are improved — better shooters, better rebounding, and less fouling from Soloman. Could be the best, or close to the best, two big man tandem in the Pac 12.

    Wallace — much more active than he was last season. But needs to show a consistent outside shot to make it into the NBA. The new #1 guy on the team to drive and force up his shot, succeeding Cobbs, but he was pretty successful in doing so tonight.

    Cobbs — determined to show he is an NBA point guard, so did not shoot much, though I thought there were a couple of times he was tired of not shooting and decided to force a drive. Don’t think he took a long outside shot once, contrary to his style last year. I think, if he keeps it up, he’s a lock for the NBA, as he can play the point pretty well and can shoot from anywhere. He will eventually start as a point guard in the NBA, but maybe not right out of the gate.

    Kreklow — kind of quiet game for him tonight. He has succeeded Kravish as being the guy who most needs to look for his shot.

    Bird — started off the game being screened out repeatedly on defense. This is the bigs, Jabari! Was disappointed that he didn’t shoot more. Perhaps he needs to learn how to get open on his own, before he is passed the ball, as maybe he created his own shots all in the past. He’s not a ball hog at all, which surprised me. But you can see how quick he is, how he can create space for himself through his moves and quickness, and that he is a natural shooter. Like Monty says, he needs to get comfortable in his new, more competitive, environment, and understanding much better how the offense works.

    Mathews — looks like a good shooter from the outside.

    Singer — seems very confident and a bit of a ball hawk (two steals). Not sure yet how well he handles the ball. Also looks like a good outside shooter, but driving the lane doesn’t seem to be his forte, at least when he is closely guarded. He had a lot of difficulty tonight trying to force it up there when he drove, to hope for the best, a la Cobbs from last year, who is a better athlete. Either Singer or Wallace will start a point guard next year, and probably both will play it. Wallace can also play shooting guard and small forward. But if Wallace develops into a good outside shooter, he would be more valuable elsewhere, probably at small forward, since Bird and Mathews will probably be the two shooting guards next season.

    Powers — have no comments on him.

    Rooks — played less than two minutes. Looks like he is going to need a lot of work to be productive this year, but I wouldn’t put it past Monty to have him ready to play some productive minutes when the game is on the line by the end of this season.

    Roger Moute a Bidias — hardly played, so I have no opinion of him. Another small forward who is 6’7″, like Kreklow and Powers. They will be smaller and outweighed if they try to defend a lot of big men

    Behrens — went down and asked the stat guy why he was not suited up, and whether he knew why he didn’t play against Coppin St (though he did play in the exhibition). The guy said Behrens was in street clothes, relating to a knee injury (which occurred LAST DECEMBER). It would be shame if Behrens can’t play this year, as Cal desperately needs to find someone who is productive as a third big man. That can only be Rooks or Behrens. Cal played a much smaller team tonight. What happens when they play teams with guys as tall or taller than they are, and have more than two good big players on their team, allowing teams to wear us out inside and force our only two good big men to foul out or come close to doing so. We could be in real trouble if we have to play small against a team with a lot of good big men.

  • Woj

    Saw Sonny Dykes at this game. He wanted to know what happened when Cal scores more points in a game versus the opponents and the game ends. Several around him described it as a WIN, others used the term VICTORY. Sonny still looked confused then checked his bank account and smiled.

  • CalBearister

    Saw Woj at the Bunny Ranch brothel tonight. He wanted to know what happened when a girl actually says “yes.” Woj still looked confused, then checked his bank account and cried.

  • Joey

    Saw Bearister at the game last night. Not sure he saw much of the game with his nose stuck in Dykes hindquarters.

  • DaveintheHills

    generally agree with GoBears49’s assessment.

    I did attend both this game as well as Friday’s.

    Bird – The difference in Jabari’s performance was stark. Coaches might have asked him to reign it in a bit after doing a bit too much on Friday (see obvious goal tend block vs. Coppin State). Jabari looked hesitant. He can do more. Coaches just need to step in.

    Kreklow – I was disappointed by Kreklow. Everyone (including me) desperately wants him to be the next Jorge. He won’t be.

    Cobbs – he was announced as the “General” during intros, which was funny – and appropriate. It’s a different game when he’s on the court.

    Overall – this team has a chance to be the best since our Pac10 championship in 2010. The team is athletic, which can’t be taught, and pretty deep. I was impressed with the discipline on defense. The biggest weakness I see at this point is no viable back up for the bigs and the dependence on Cobbs.

    But there is always something. The time is NOW! We should do well this year, so let’s DO THIS!

    Next year will be a rebuilding year – Cobbs, Solomon definitely gone. Wallace and Bird could be goners, too. We’ll see how the season unfolds.

    Go Bears!

  • Mitchie V

    You guys are funny.

    Really like all the talent running around out there. Bird didn’t look as skinny as he did in the All America. Should be a fun year.

    Go Bears!

  • Gobears49


    Agree with you about Cobbs making a huge difference in the offense. Hopefully, he will play around 85% to 90% of each game.

    Based upon his performance last night, Bird is not near ready to play in the NBA. If he is getting lost on offense at the college level, he will be more ill-equiped to handle the pro level. The defense is so much better at both levels than high school, so he can’t just be a one man band out there. I think he needs at least two years at Cal to prepare for the next level. But would love for him to play four years for Cal.

    BTW, would love for Jeff to report on what is wrong with Behrens. He was getting some minutes last year before he got injured and looked to be a guy who was coordinated and could rebound some. I thought he showed promise. Based upon what I remember of him, last year he was ahead of where Rooks is now.

  • CalBearister

    Is there anything more pathetic than little trolling Amy creating an army of “friends” to defend itself? I mean, giving up three special teams TDs sucks. But it’s nowhere near that pathetic.

    Bird and Matthews remind me of a more talented Crabbe and Franklin from four years ago. Those guys could be really special if they play here for 2-3 seasons. Big fan of Singer’s game as well.

    Hopefully there’s nothing more to Cobbs’ knee.

  • wehofx

    Bearister, lol.

    #7 Dave, RE: Kreklow Because of his D? Or leadership skills?

    a healthy RK has a better jumper – mid and 3 – and is a better passer than JG. I say this as a big JG fan.

  • Gobears49


    I thought Kreklow is now healthy. I agree he probably has a better jumper than Jorge, and may be better passer. But nobody would have known about his jumper last night. He took only one shot in 16 minutes of play. I’ve heard about some players being unselfish team guys, but I think Kreklow is taking that to an extreme.

  • BlakeStreetBear

    This squad is loaded and will just get better as the year goes on. Bird will have some monster games where all of his talent gets put on display, I can’t wait for that.

    But I definitely think that Cobbs (and maybe Solomon) have no business being on the court up 20 with only a few minutes to go in the game. Cobbs (and Solomon) are way to important to to get injured in garbage time, that was scary last night. Let Rooks play the last 8 minutes of a blowout, whats the harm in that? That will probably be my only criticism of Monty all year – he’s that good of a coach.

    Let’s beat Oakland by 40.

    Go Bears!

  • Gobears49


    Agree with your general sentiments about putting in subs when the game is iced but perhaps putting in the subs with 8 minutes left would have been a bit too soon. Denver was making a bit of a run midway through the second half. Don’t have the score at the eight minute mark, but Jeff’s analysis above had Cal up by 16 with 10:41 left. Probably Denver didn’t cut the lead to less than 14, but you have to be careful in making sure there is little chance of losing a game when you put in your last subs.

    I am also looking forward to some monster games from Bird, and I’m sure there will be some of them, most likely later in the season, but last night certainly wasn’t one of them. He sort of looked lost out there. Also, I can’t call a squad “loaded” when they lack depth at the power forward and center positions.

  • Gobears49

    Before everyone gets too excited about Cal’s team this year, it should be pointed out that this was Denver’s first game, while it was Cal’s second (or third, if you count the exhibition game). Denver looked like a high school team the first ten minutes or so, very tentative and very rusty, when they fell behind 24 – 5. After that. when they loosened up, they played much better, even though they were undersized, they played the Bears pretty even.

    Let’s see how Cal does when they start playing tougher competition against teams that have a few games under their belt before we start figuring out how many games Cal is going to win in the NCAA’s this year

  • wehofx

    GB49, forgot say good work on #3.

    I was happy to hear what you wrote about Kravish and Solo. Good to here they’ve improved their post game. GREAT to hear that Kravish actually forced a shot. imo he’s gotta take at least 8 shots a game – w 1/2 forces being perfectly acceptable to keep D honest.

    RE: Kreklow – I bet part of the No-Shoot thing was him trying to set a good example for the frosh, per Monty. In tourny against unlv and cuse, he was forcing 3’s – badly. I’m confident once he settles in, he’ll take the open shot without hesitation.

    Last time I’ll rag on AC. We don’t beat pku, osu and zona at zona without AC. He clearly deserved to be named POY. I am, however, glad he’s moved to nba. I think cobbs, kreklow and wallace will make this a team w heart and stones. Hard nosed D. No whining allowed.

  • Woj

    Joey Says:
    November 13th, 2013 at 8:23 am

    Saw Bearister at the game last night. Not sure he saw much of the game with his nose stuck in Dykes hindquarters.

    Well said Joey. Actually, Dykes’ behind is crowded right now. Certainly Bearister is fighting for room there with woehoefox and Juancho. Each is devoid of reality and supports Dykes & the AD like a lovesick child so long as long as each wears something with script Cal on it.

    And seriously Bearister – you know not what you speak of. Joey, myself, WisdomCow, Wilner, Damon Bruce, Monte Poole – heck most out there are rightfully calling out the Dykes/Barbour/Buh triumvirate as wholly responsible for this worst Cal team in the past 3 decades at least.

    Cal has enough talent to win a few games at least but instead week in and out it’s putrid ugly rout after rout after rout. Keep sniffing Dykes behind but 0-11 against FBS teams will be the 2013 result.

  • Gobears49

    Whoever wrote #17 (Woj or Joey,

    Add me to the list of people who are fully supporting Dykes and, to some extent, Barbour (though I hated the way she handled the baseball controversy). Dykes needs at least two years, and probably three, to show how he well he can coach and recruit.

    Barbour perhaps could have fired Tedford earlier, but she made a great hire in Monty and also in Gottlieb. She rolled the dice on the stadium, et. cet., but it hasn’t worked out in large part because the football team has been so bad, thus producing lousy demand for seats, something she couldn’t have predicted one way or the other. But I would be in favor of letting her go if Cal’s embarrassing graduation rate does not improve substantially in a year of so, though a great comeback from the football team could allow for a more gradual improvement on the graduation rate.

    The way the defense performed may not all be Buh’s fault, but he didn’t inspire much confidence from the get go with his comment that he couldn’t coach the 3 -4. I don’t think he has ever shined when he was the DC anywhere, so I think we should try to upgrade there. Wish we had kept Pendergast, but I respect the fact that Dykes wanted to clear the table and start completely over.