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Basketball: Victory over Gauchos stands in way of Montgomery and spot next to John Wooden

– Friday, 7 p.m., No TV

Standing between Mike Montgomery and a spot alongside one of college basketball’s greatest coaches is a UC Santa Barbara team that nearly upset UCLA this week by making a barrage of 3-point shots.

Montgomery is one victory shy of moving into a tie for 27th on the all-time Division I career list.

The coach he would tie?

UCLA legend John Wooden, winner of 10 NCAA titles.

But victory No. 664 may not be easy for Montgomery or his team.

The Bears (6-2) visit UCSB’s Thunderdome for a matchup with the Gauchos (3-3), who made 12 of their first 17 shots from beyond the arc to threat unbeaten UCLA on Tuesday night.

Santa Barbara actually led in the second half before cooling off and falling 89-76. UCSB also lost 76-68 at Colorado this season, so the Bears will be their third shot at a Pac-12 team this season.

Junior Alan Williams had 39 points, nine rebounds and eight blocked shots a week ago in a win over South Dakota State and averages 27.5 points. As a result, UCLA tried clamping down on the 6-foot-7, 240-pounder, and  the Gauchos almost made them pay for it.

Montgomery and his staff no doubt watched tape of that game, and will endeavor to prevent the Gauchos’ deep scoring threats feel so comfortable.

Senior guard Kyle Boswell scored 18 points, including 5 for 9 from 3-point range, but the Gauchos made just 1 of their final 9 attempts from deep after leading 62-61 with 11:21 left.

*****

Cal leads the all-time series 10-0, but this is the Bears’ first visit to Santa Barbara since the 1979-80 season. No Pac-12 team has visited the Thunderdome in 11 years, since USC went home following a 69-53 loss.

*****

Cal beat UCSB 68-59 a year ago in Berkeley, with then-freshman Tyrone posting his first career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

*****

Cal is 71-4 all-time vs. current members of the Big West Conference.

Jeff Faraudo

  • Mitchie V

    No TV. Crap.

    This may be a much better duel than the schedulers anticipated.

  • Picard

    Looks like Chris Petersen to UW.

  • Mallrat92204

    Wow, no TV? Not even P12NetBA? Weak.

  • Gobears49

    Just checked out schedule and this is the only game of the whole season that is not on TV.

  • covinared

    sounds like road trip. will give updates.

  • BlakeStreetBear

    The game will be on KGO 810. And Roxy Bernstein is an absolutely awesome basketball play-by-play guy. Love listening to his calls; he’s very, very attentive to the intricacies of the beautiful game of basketball.

    Go Bears!

  • Juancho

    This team is so fun to watch. Love the freshment. Monty really is on the upswing recruiting wise.

  • Bub

    Yes, I love this team’s balance and athleticism. Our front-court depth could be our undoing, but if the chips fall for us health-wise when it matters, we could make a nice run this year.

  • Daredevil fan

    So pessimistic

  • Juancho

    I know right. Juancho should leave this blog. He ruins peoples day.

  • BlakeStreetBear

    Dang, scientists. When are you guys gonna invent the teleporter?? I’d beam down to SB right now, experimentally…gotta be a great atmosphere in “the thunderdome”…especially after several adult beverages.

    I think the Bears win if Solomon/Kravish can stay on the floor for 55 combined minutes and if they can make their free-throws.

    Go Bears!

  • Dan

    Supposedly streamed on BigWest.tv – good luck, let me know if successful.

    Tied at 27 w .41 seconds left in half.

  • covinared

    At the Thunderdome. Excellent female undergrad quality. Bears tentative. Cobbs could get 40 if he wanted. Bears quicker but having trouble establishing inside game. Guachos playing hard. Using a lot of players. We could use their #15.

  • covinared

    Guachos have 2 big guys pushig Kravish and Solomon around. Not looking good.

  • Muttley

    Go Big West. Looks like 10-1 all time vs. UCSB and 71-5 all time vs. Big West. Bad loss tonight for Cal no way to sugarcoat it. But good news for Big West :-)

  • covinared

    Bears got outplayed. Bird at end of bench whole second half.

  • Gobears49

    Listened to part of the game and, for the first time, read the “conversation” of the game afterwards on ESPN.

    Basically, it sounded like UCSB wanted this game more than Cal, though that could be explained by the fact that they had never beaten us and were playing at home. But it sounds like a typical Cal losing effort, with a) “selfish” shots (a Cal basketball trademark, at times), b) stupid fouls, and c) clear lack of effort (UCSB free throw bounces right in front to the basket and Soloman, first man on one side of the key, is out-rebounded for the ball).

    We are starting to play with the big boys and it shows. Read an article in L.A. recently that the new UCLA coach doesn’t want to play any cupcakes, as he believes that toughens his team up. Might be good for us, too, though we count on early season victories to get us over 20 wins, which we use at the end of the season to argue we deserve to make the NCAA’s. Contra argument to that is that we need to be ready to play our league schedule, and do decently well in it, or 20 wins or not, we won’t get invited.

    I think Monty should think about following the UCLA formula (as well as Arizona’s, as mentioned in the same article — both teams have played or will be playing Duke in the pre-season) and substitute one easy win in our beginner of year schedule for a mid-range team, or at least play at least play one more mid-range team away from home (before our league starts we play eight games at home, two on opponent’s courts, and three at a neutral court), to tougher us up more. I’d put UCSB in that category. Nevada is probably another, along with Fresno State. The way we played tonight I hate to think what will happen at Creighton if we don’t up our game a lot.

  • Gobears49

    Just checked and saw that Arizona plays a much tougher pre-league schedule than we do. UCLA’s is not as tough, but tougher than ours. I’m sure all sorts of contra arguments will be made about my suggestion, the chief of which will be that, with all of our freshmen, we need to open with a soft schedule to build there confidence.

    I’m not saying I’m right, but it is something to think about. If I can, I will try to find the article in the L.A. Times where new coach Alford is quoted that he wants a much tougher early season schedule for his Bruins.

  • Gobears49

    Here’s the key Alford statement in a recent L.A. Times article –

    Alford said he prefers to schedule quality teams in the nonconference part of the season because it helps in recruiting.
    “Elite players want to play other elite teams,” Alford said.
    Last season when Alford was at New Mexico, the Lobos played USC, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Valparaiso, Connecticut and George Mason, all teams that have recently been in the NCAA tournament or are from power conferences, before beginning Mountain West play.
    “My idea has always been to play good people early,” Alford said. “It makes you better as a team and it helps you get good people. I don’t see a downside.”

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/college/ucla/la-sp-1129-ucla-nevada-20131129,0,7574501.story#axzz2mlfZqBNk

  • Dan

    Even SDSU plays a tougher non conference schedule than Cal- and the MWC has been much stronger than the P12 in recent seasons.

    The Aztecs have played OOC games vs top 25 teams (at time of game) Arizona (close loss), Creighton (win) Marquette (win), and will go to Kansas in early January. Losing those games can be better than playing and beating cupcakes for NCAA tournament consideration.

    In fact, as the Aztecs have otherwise taken care of business, they have played themselves into the top 25, despite starting the season unranked and receiving no votes.

    They played at USD last night, and barely escaped with a win on a night they played badly on O, and USD probably played what will be their best game of the season. Perhaps those early tough games are what allowed them to gut out the win last night, and not many top programs would go to play USD at their place.

    Steve Fisher never operates from a place of fear, its worked out very well for the Aztecs, maybe Cal and Monty should consider taking a similar approach and re-thinki their scheduling as suggested above and upgrade the competition a bit.

    Losing tonight at UCSB is really a BAD loss for NCAA consideration, and really Cal should not, as a PAC 12 program, lose to a middling Big West program, no matter where they play. Pretty discouraging, especially given the good early play in Maui.

  • Rollonubears

    There’s no excuse for not having 2-3 big men, and I don’t just mean “tall.” Big. We are small, and as always, will suck against bigger teams. It’s a broken record and has been since the early 90s. How much time did out bench guy that shoots lights out 3s get? Should have played the whole second half against a team like this.

  • Gobears49

    Rollon,

    Who is that bench guy? Only person I can think of is Mathews, He payed a lot and he scored about 21 points.

  • Uh Huh!

    Monty’s recruiting has sucked the life out of the paint.