BearTalk

Cal Sports Live and Direct

Basketball: Bears seek big road win

By Jeff Faraudo
Saturday, December 21st, 2013 at 8:39 am in Basketball, Gameday.

* 4 p.m. Sunday, Fox Sports 1

Having lost twice this season with one big man tied behind its back, Cal hopes to regain a little ground Sunday against Creighton (8-2) in Omaha, Neb.

The Golden Bears (8-3) dropped two of three games at the Maui Invitational while playing without senior forward Richard Solomon (12.0 ppg, 10.6 rpg), who suffered a scratched cornea in the first game of the tournament. Cal has been back at full strength since.

“We feel like we’re a game or so down where we might have been,” Cal coach Mike Montgomery said. “It’s a chance to maybe get that one back.”

This is Cal’s last chance before the start of Pac-12 play to score an attention-grabbing victory. The Bears knocked off Arkansas (8-2) in Hawaii, but weren’t able to get over the hump against Syracuse (11-0) or Dayton (9-2).

This one won’t be easy, either. The Bluejays beat Cal 74-64 in Berkeley last year and already boast an 88-60 rout of Arizona State.

“It’s going to be a really hard game,” Montgomery said. “They played really well here last year. They’re a very good basketball team and it’s a home court that’s going to be difficult.”

Creighton anticipates a crowd of more than 17,000 for the game at CenturyLink Center. The Bluejays have beaten 14 straight BCS nonconference opponents in the facility, by an average margin of 11.4 points.

The venue won’t be the only challenge. Creighton forward Doug McDermott is one of the nation’s most accomplished players. Already a two-time All-American, the 6-foot-8 senior is averaging 25.3 points this season and shooting 44 percent from the 3-point arc.

McDermott, whose father Greg coaches the Bluejays, had 34 points and nine rebounds against Cal a year ago. He has topped 30 points on four occasions already this season and needs just 31 more to reach 2,500 points for his career.

Creighton has four starters back from last year’s 28-8 squad, and starts four seniors and a junior.

Justin Cobbs had 18 points and seven assists for Cal against Creighton last season and David Kravish grabbed 13 rebounds. But Solomon, Ricky Kreklow and Tyrone Wallace all fouled out and Allen Crabbe had one of the worst shooting games of his college career, missing 20 of 26 attempts.

The Bears converted just 35 percent, including 3 for 17 from 3-point range.

*****

Cobbs needs just three assists to reach 400 for his career.

[You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.]

  • Gobears49

    Just because I’m interested in seeing whether teams Cal will be playing have three big guys who play a lot, I will try to provide a summary of the size and minutes played of players on opposing teams right before Cal plays them.

    Creighton is considerably smaller than Cal with regard to the players that are the top five in average minutes played, but does have three players who are relatively tall that play a decent of minutes (though overall, they are still smaller than Cal). Note that Cal does not play anyone smaller than 6’3″ (Cobbs), and has three players who are not front court players who are 6’5″ (Wallace) and 6’6″ (Bird and Kreklow), and Wallace plays an inch or two taller than his height because he has long arms.

    I believe a number of the top Pac 12 teams Cal will play will be taller than Cal. I believe Arizona is. I’ll just have to check their stats later.

    Here’s their top seven guys in terms of point per game (PPG) and minutes (MIN.) (data is a game or two old), as well as how tall they are.

    Name PPG MIN Height

    McDermitt 25.3 31.3 6’8″
    Wragge 12.6 24 6’7″
    Brooks 9.1 17 6’2″
    Chatman 8.4 28.6 6’0″
    Artino 6.3 14.1 6’11″
    Manigat 6.1 24.7 6’1″
    Gibbs 5.9 26.8 6’5″

  • wehofx

    Watching McDermott torch us from the post to the 3 arc last year was brutal. Love his game. Shocked he stayed for his senior year.

    The big difference from last year’s team is Solo. I’m hopeful Solo in the paint should significantly impact McD’s post scoring. It’ll also test Solo’s discipline/maturation in avoiding fouls.

    The other addition is Kreklow. In man, I’m hoping RK can make the difference matching up w McDermott on D. It seems like RK has the size and D skills to chase him from the post to the 3. I’m guessing T Wallace will get time on McD, too.

    Plus, given last year’s beat down, you know Monty will have some new zone schemes designed to stop McD.

    GB49, ya, it would be nice if we had 1 more experienced Big. However, against smaller teams like Creighton, CU and – I’m pretty sure – pku the 3rd Big isn’t going to make much difference.

    It’s teams like zona and furd that we’re going to need Rooks to give us 15 + productive minutes. Ya, I know, based on current sample size, wishful thinking.

    Pure speculation, but I think 1 reason monty didn’t get a MSF or Thurminator is scholly number game. Of the current frosh – all of whom I really like – which one do you not sign? Moute?

    Moute was the last signed. I don’t even know if there were any JC/Transfer Bigs available but I’m guessing if there were, Monty figured Moute has the bigger upside esp w 5 to play 4 years. Not to mention, Monty must have figured he had an excellent shot at landing Diallo.

    Go Bears! Beat Creighton!

  • wehofx

    Any fellow Bears in LA w Time Warner, according to the menu and LAT, FS 1 is showing Louisville vs Fla int. Misprint?

  • Gobears49

    Wehoxf,

    Thanks for responding to my prior comments about Cal not bringing in a productive big man transfer, like Monty did in four out of the last years, and which he only didn’t do in his first year, when he may not have had time and had four productive big men already.

    You ask a good question. I’d take a productive big man transfer this year who can give us 15 or more solid minutes a night and be involved in the offense over Singer of Moute. I think you need to plan your team year by year. Those two guys may be more productive next year, but next year is next year. This may be the most talented team Cal has for awhile, and it seems a shame they are being hindered in reaching their true potential because they can’t get good production from a big man off the bench, a la Thurman.

  • wehofx

    …uh, duh. Creighton is tmrw.

    GB49, other than the polish big now at gonzaga, were there any other Bigs – jc/transfer – on monty’s radar?

    if there was a player like thurman, I’d rather have moute. it wasn’t until last year (his 3rd) w monty that he became really productive.

    2010 0.9 Reb 0.3 Pts
    2011 1.9 Reb 3.7 Pts
    2012 3.5 Reb 4.9 Pts

    I think you can make the case that rooks’ 1 year will be about the same as thurminator’s 2nd year.

    If there was an msf, I’d take him over Moute. Except…

    msf started strong as a jr but his playing time was drastically reduced in pac play because of injury (back?).

    but, ya, msf and thurminator’s senior years were very good, esp msf who – i believe – started.

    Re: Moute. Based on limited minutes, I think/hope he can become our version of a bruce bown/dennis rodman mad dog defensive stopper who you can put on the 2, 3 and 4. Gut in a forward’s body.

  • wehofx

    …also didn’t msf drop a significant amount of weight – because of the back injury – between his jr and sr year?

  • Gobears49

    Wehofx,

    I have absolutely no idea who was on Monty’s radar as a big man JC transfer or even if he was looking.

    Thurman was not a JC transfer and, I believe, did not play much at his prior college before he transferred here. I am suggesting we should have brought into our program this year a JC who played a lot of minutes and played at a very high level at a JC.

    I just looked at past stats. If my memory is correct Thurman averaged 11.2 minutes per game played as a junior and 16.9 average minutes as a senior. Don’t recall if he played much when the game was on the line as a junior, but he certainly did as a senior. Rooks, I believe, is now averaging 6.2 minutes a game and that is during the weakest part of our schedule. He is now averaging 1.1 points per game, Moute is averaging 8.7 minutes per game (over fewer games than Rooks) and is averaging .1 points per game, both far lower than Thurman played and scored (per your stats listed above) as a junior, which is the year level a Cal transfer would be at this year.

    Cal is one good man away this year from winning a few games in the NCAA’s. It could still happen but I think it will be more difficult to do so without another decently productive big man we can count on to really contribute this season.

  • covinared

    Saw our recruit center/forward from Cathedral at the movies tonight tastefully decked out in bearwear. Looks like a nice kid and quite physically imposing.