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Basketball: Kravish leads Cal past Arkansas; Bears prep for rematch with NCAA conqueror Syracuse

By Jeff Faraudo
Monday, November 25th, 2013 at 2:26 pm in Basketball, Gameday.

Junior forward David Kravish had 19 points, 15 rebounds and four blocked shots and Cal (5-0) won its opener at the Maui Invitational, beating Arkansas 85-77.

UPDATED: The Bears will play Syracuse in the tournament semifinals Tuesday at 4 p.m. PST on ESPN. The No. 8 Orange, who knocked Cal out of the NCAA tournament last season, improved to 5-0 with a 75-67 win over Minnesota.

Ricky Kreklow came off the bench to score 17 points, including 8 for 10 from the free throw line. Freshman Jabari Bird had 15 points, including 3 of 4 from the 3-point arc, and point guard Justin Cobbs contributed 15 points, seven assists and five rebounds.

Richard Solomon had 11 points, seven rebounds and two blocks.

Montgomery said Kravish did a great job of finding openings in the Arkansas defense.

“Kravish had a great game,” Montgomery said. ”Kind of his type of game where based on the way they were playing with quickness and getting out after it left David some lanes to the basket, and as a result, he was able to have a really nice game.”

Kravish said he was motivated to do more after Solomon got into foul trouble.

“When he goes out of the game, I feel like I really have to step it up,” Kravish said. ”So when he was in foul trouble, I had to step up my game and keep playing physical, keep playing hard and grabbing every rebound, so that’s what I did.”

Cal overcame 18 turnovers — many of them early — and outrebounded the Razorbacks (3-1) by a 50-31 margin.

Montgomery said the Bears’ ability to shift successfully from man-to-man defense to zone helped keep the Razorbacks off balance.

The Syracuse 2-3 zone defense on Tuesday afternoon will provide a greater challenge, as the Bears discovered last year at the San Jose regional.

“Last year’s zone that Syracuse played, because I played them more than once, I thought it was the best zone that I’ve ever seen them play,” Montgomery said. “They had tremendous length on the perimeter and obviously the game plan, they know what they want to do.

“We’re going to have to attack it a little more intelligently. We’ll have to be more aggressive it seems. Our perimeter guys will have to be more confident with the ball trying to drive the seams. There are openings in it. We have to capitalize on those.”

Last year, Cal shot just 39 percent against the Orange, making 4 of 21 from 3-point range and turning the ball over 17 times.

“You have to be patient,” Montgomery said. “You can’t get frustrated.”

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  • 1brsfan

    Lots of turnovers and bad FT shooting but a win is a win. 3 point and blocked shots were huge.

    Go Bears!

  • DaveintheHills

    solid win against a solid team

  • BlakeStreetBear

    Never in doubt. Monty had them ready for the press. Shoulda won by 15 if not for poor free-throw shooting but I liked the composure down the stretch regardless. We’ve got 2 great bigs, which is better than 3 or 4 mediocre bigs imho. Tomorrow 4pm PDT, another good test awaits…

    Go Bears!

  • BlakeStreetBear

    50 – 31 rebound advantage too. We had 3 more offensive rebounds than ark had defensive rebounds. This team boards – despite only having 2 true posts.
    Go Bears!

  • Eric

    Nice, nice win. Given the poor free-throw shooting, it demonstrates a solid offensive scheme that put the players in place to make open shots and grab rebounds.

    Well done. Now let’s keep the ball rolling.

  • Crawford

    Zone D was a great move by Monty earlier on

  • Gobears49

    Bears played fairly well today. Our bigs are really good, as I said after the Denver game. Too bad that we don’t have a good third big man like we did last year in Thurman. Wasn’t necessary today but it will be down the road, maybe tomorrow. If Syracuse wins today, I’ll bet they have a lot of very good men, probably four. I’ll post tomorrow about that.

    My observations –

    1. I’m a bit disappointed that Bird seems to be content to most shoot threes, though he is good at it. Thought he was a bit of a slasher. Right now he looks like a catch and shoot guy, like Crabbe (only Bird is a better shooter). Maybe that is Monty’s way in easing Bird into the offense.

    2. Based upon today’s game and other games, I think Kreklow should start ahead of Wallace. Though Wallace’s shooting motion is much better than last year, he is not shooting much better. Kreklow is probably, overall, just as good as a defender, definitely shoots from the outside better, and there is a very big difference in their free throw marksmanship (Kreklow 8 for 10 today while Wallace was 1 for 5). Krekolow doesn’t force shots, while Wallace does (like Cobb last year, he tends to be out of control when he drive)s. Both are good passers. Kreklow is a more reliable quantity than Wallace at this point in the season, though Wallace has more upside potential if he can learn how to hit from the outside.

  • Wehofx

    Looking forward to watching dvr.

    Line stolen from Twitter: congrats to S&C staff for turning Kravish from emaciated to skinny.

    But he got a double double. Balling. Wouldn’t surprise mr if he gets triple double w blocks once or twice this year

  • SteveNTexas

    Arkansas is a name school and had a 3-0 record going into the game against fairly decent competition. It’s a good win!

  • The Wisdom Cow

    Can’t wait for tomorrow. I really hope the boys remember that Syracuse zone. This will be the type of game where consistently playing tough non-conference schedules can pay off.

    Glad it’s not in MSG again, though.

  • Gobears49

    SteveNTexas,

    Most teams only play cupcakes at the early part of the season. That is why the combined record of the eight teams in the Maui Invitationsal, which includes Chaminade, is 30 – 0. Did check Baylor’s schedule, though, which was very competitive.

  • Gobears49

    As expected, overall Syracuse, who will play Cal tomorrow, is a lot taller than Cal. The five guys who have the most minutes stand as follows — 6’8″, 6’4″, 6’7″, 6’2, and 6’9″. But another five guys play decent minutes, whose height is 6’7″, 6’9″, 6’8″, 6’7″, and 6’10″. Lots of big men as substitutes, though I can’ say how productive they are. Cal doesn’t seem to have any good ones right now that they can count on to provide productive minutes when the game is on the line, which is not to say we won’t by the end of the season.

  • SteveNTexas

    Gobears I agree- and Cal deserves credit for playing Syracuse and Arkansas. Ark had played a fairly decent schedule so that made it a better win for us.

  • milo

    re: Bird, Monty has said it’s going to take a little time for him to adjust to college BB but he will. I’d guess after a few conference games when he can gauge intensity, competition and that sort of stuff.

    Any way, what a freaking relief to read some regular, normal, average, good news about Cal BB. It’s not going to be all peaches but this Cal team looks good.

    Go Bears!

  • Dan

    Wisdom- Cal played Syracuse last season in San Jose, not MSG.

  • rollonubears

    Now THIS is a test. We’ll need to shoot the 3. They will also play crazy tight D. Should be fun. We win this one, we can start talking about rankings.

  • Gobears49

    Cal will be ranked next week if we beat No. 8 Syracuse, even if we lose the next game, especially if that is to Baylor. It will be interesting to see the effect of Cal not having a proven third big man against a team that at least has a lot of big man reserves that play a lot.

    Obviously, I hope we win today. Would like to play Baylor in the final if we do. Gary Franklin, who transferred from Cal, may be a starter there (hard to tell based upon average minutes played, which is 22.6, tied for fifth on the team) and is averaging 8.6 points per game. I think he transferred to Baylor because he wanted to play point guard, so if he is now, that would normally hamper his scoring average.

  • Woj

    Amazing what good coaching does to the bottom line win and loss tallies. Monty is a very good coach, recruits fairly well, Cal wins often and gets into the NCAAs nearly every year.

    Stormy Dykes cannot coach a lick, Cal loses every football game and is the laughingstock of college football.

    Confucius says “Good college coach worth many wins”
    Confucius is smart sage.

  • Mitchie V

    Nice poise against the Hell defense. We have a pretty solid rotation. It never felt like “Oh no, SoanSo is coming in the game.”

    Hope Solomon’s eye is ok. We’re a different team when he is in the game.

    My only disappointment was free throw shooting. It wasn’t that long ago where we were tops.

  • Gobears49

    Michie,

    Yes, our free throw shooting is down so far this year. Only making 67.4% so far this year, whereas all of last season we shot 71.4%. Biggest culprit so far is Soloman, who shot 65% from the line last year and has shot only 40% so far this year. But the rest of Solo’s game has picked up from last year.