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Basketball: Colorado game thread

Click here to read my game story.

FINAL SCORE: Colorado 59, Cal 56. Cobbs’ 3-point try at the buzzer missed and the Bears (19-13)  likely will be denied their third straight NCAA tournament bid. Cobbs scored 21 points and Wallace had 13. The two combined to score Cal’s final 22 points. Solomon had 16 rebounds.

Usual post-game theme: Team didn’t play hard enough in the first half, then made a few critical mistakes at the finish after rallying. No Cal player or coach was willing to predict what might come Sunday, but Cobbs’ red, tear-filled eyes on the interview podium said it all.

6:30 2nd H: A steal and emphatic breakaway dunk by Cobbs and Cal trails just 49-48.

7:33 2nd H: Bears making a fierce push. Wallace has eight second-half points and his driving layup has the Bears within 49-46. Cal getting defensive stops and transition opportunities that weren’t there early in the game. They won’t crack this defense solely in the halfcourt. 

15:57 2nd H: Kreklow hit a pair of 3-pointers to open the half, pulling Cal within 31-28 in the first 43 seconds. CU’s lead is now 37-32.

HALFTIME: Colorado 31, Cal 22. The Bears won the final 3 1/2 minutes of the half, 6-2, thanks to nice playmaking by freshman PG Sam Singer, who had a pair of assists. Cobbs moved off the ball in an attempt to give him more room to score. But the Bears have a huge climb ahead of them. Colorado has control and Cal is going to have to improve its efficiency at both ends to have any chance. Cal shot 2 for 12 from the 3-point arc in the half and attempted only one FT.

1:19 1st H: Kravish, with two more baskets and eight points, doing his best to keep the Bears in it. CU leads 31-22.

3:27 1st H: Down 29-18, Cal just needs to maintain some level of contact and hope things change in the second half. Right now, the Bears are getting badly outplayed. Solomon just scored (and will shot one FT), but prior to that Cal went six possessions without a point. Colorado’s offense is carving up the Bears. During one recent stretch of nine possessions, the Buffs scored on eight of them, pushing the lead out to 26-16. 

7:59 1st H: A 3-pointer by Wallace gets Cal within 21-13. Cobbs just was fouled — in the neck — by Jaron Hopkins. The Bears are struggling to get any penetration and Colorado knows they aren’t a good enough perimeter shooting team to consistently hurt them there.

9:07 1st H: Colorado leads 21-10 and Monty calls timeout. The Bears’ NCAA bid is slipping away quickly. Cal is shooting 5 for 16 and had two attempts on its most recent possession blocked.

11:33 1st H: Colorado leads 16-10. The Buffs have started to find the range from the perimeter, scoring their past five FGs from the outside, including 3-pointers by Xavier Johnson and Xavier Talton. Cal is 0 for 4 from the 3-pt line so far. Montgomery has gone with a four-guard lineup, trying to get more scoring punch in the lineup. Cobbs will come out after the timeout, the lineup will including Kreklow, Wallace, Jabari Bird, Jordan Mathews and Solomon.

15:38 1st H: Pretty tentative play from both teams to start. Score is even at 4-4. Cal is shooting 2 for 6 (both by Kravish) with 2 TOs after eight possessions. CU is 2 for 6 with 1 TO after seven possessions.

STARTING LINEUPS: Cal will go with its usual group, starting Justin Cobbs, Tyrone Wallace, Ricky Kreklow, David Kravish and Richard Solomon. CU will start Askia Booker, Wesley Gordon, Xavier Johnson, Xavier Talton and Josh Scott. (Buffs got to be the only team in the nation starting two guys named Xavier).

WELCOME TO VEGAS: I’m here at the MGM Grand Garden Arena for Cal’s quarterfinal game in the Pac-12 tournament against Colorado.

The teams met just five days ago, in the regular-season finale, with the Bears posting a 66-65 overtime win that locked up the No. 4 seed here.

The Bears (19-12) almost certainly need to beat the Buffaloes (22-10) again to earn their way into the NCAA tournament.

The Bears began the day at No. 54 in the latest RealTimeRPI rankings, which suggests they have work to do. Joe Lunardi, bracketologist for ESPN, continues to list Cal atop his “first teams out,” meaning he doesn’t think the Bears are far from a bid.

There was some good news on the “bubble” elsewhere. Georgetown lost Wednesday, knocking it from contention. Providence ousted St. John’s, which frees up another potential spot.

But Florida State beat Maryland to stay alive, and Illinois won its 20th game, at the expense of Indiana, which could help lift the Illini into the conversation as the week progress.

Jeff Faraudo

  • 1brsfan

    It’s a must win today and possibly tomorrow vs. AZ since other teams “ahead” of us continue to win. I don’t see us getting in with just beating CU again because if teams ahead of don’t lose either then we’re not gaining ground. It doesn’t help that UCSB is losing by 35 to a 10-19 team. Ouch.

  • GoBears49

    The pass inside, pass outside game (which I have pushed for all year) is getting Cal good looks, but we don’t shoot well. Relying on Solo to shoot is a mistake (that Kravish’s job). Solo’s jump shot must be easy to block, as it has been done twice in the first 10 minutes.

    Colorado looks very athletic, is shooting well, and is getting offensive rebounds. Looks bad for Cal.

  • 1brsfan

    Another slow start means one thing… NIT bound. Watching the game you’d think Cal was the team that played yesterday.

  • Eric

    Slow start AGAIN. Glad to see we have not learned anything over the last two months…

  • http://www.kerio.com/ Andrew Staples

    What a terrible first half. 20 minutes to save the season.

  • GoBears49

    Cal down 21 to 12 in total rebounds and 6 to 2 in offensive rebounds (a good “desire” stat). Hope I’m wrong, and maybe Monty will fire them up at halftime, but I think we’re done. Even the announcers say that we don’t look we want to be out there. Maybe we’ll pull a “Stanford” (in rugby) and decline to play in the NIT.

  • GoBears49

    I have an idea that Monty should try next year — post up Wallace. I bet he has the best non-layup shooting percentage inside as anyone at Cal this year, is a whole lot quicker than anyone else inside, and can shoot with either hand. He also is a good passer and he has long arms which makes him play much taller than his height would otherwise suggest. I’m sure it would work. Besides, it’s doubtful, except for Kravish, our inside guys will not be outstanding next year and we will have more depth at guard next year than forward.

  • 1brsfan

    Opportunity was there but we couldn’t get a rebound or make a bucket when it counted. Another close loss after a bad start = NIT.

  • Steve Fischer

    Next year?????Gee that’s like saying to 3 time convicted murderer- next time just rape your victim. How about this for next year- Monty get the hell out of Cal – you’re a Trojan Horse from Stanford , sent here to destroy our program while fans like GoBears suck it up. We did as well against Colorado as USC did. We don’t deserve consideration for the NCAA’s and even if we did get in we would embarrass ourselves on national tv.

  • Steve Fischer

    Monty “fire them up” where have you been all season? I do agree that the word “fire” and Monty belong in the same sentence. But hey Gobears– keep waiting for the Bears to be fired up— tell us when it happens.

  • GoBears49

    Following up on my comment below, I bet Wallace has more points inside (counting layups) than outside (he just is not a good shooter from the outside). He probably also has the best jump hook in the country for a non-big man. He will be a sensation posting up inside and will be a unique player in the country.

  • Steve Fischer

    You haven’t learned that we have a washed up -overrated coach?

  • BlakeStreetBear

    No surprises. :(

    March Madness has now lost much of its luster. Sucks cuz it is one of the best sporting events on the planet, IF your team is a participant. Otherwise, as a basketball junky, I will be happy to watch the games but I won’t be “sick” next Thursday or Friday, that is for sure.

    I had a lot of faith in this team in January, what the heck happened??

    NIT will be good for the freshman, but I don’t expect the team to show up for that game (or games) either. Monty has definitely failed this season, and it is arguable that this pattern of fading late in the season is just that, a pattern, and a bad one at that. Teams with depth and youth should get better as the season goes on, unless there is some ego crap happening in the locker room.

    This is just speculation: but I feel like both Bird and Mathews think they are better than Wallace and Kreklow and that they should be playing ahead of those guys. That is not Monty’s way, never has been, and maybe it is catching up with him.

    I feel like Bird should have gotten more minutes this season, there is no way to justify his lack of playing time considering this team had trouble scoring for the last 15 games. If his defense needed work then so be it, whose doesn’t?

    It really sucks having a McDsAA festering on the bench. What are other possible top recruits gonna think about that Monty!?

  • WanderingBearIV

    It’s actually nothing like rape or murder you weirdo. It’s basketball. Passion is a good thing, but take it easy buddy.

  • WanderingBearIV

    Are you any good at basketball Steve? Have you ever been in a locker room as a player or coach? Why not try positive criticism instead of just tearing people down and making yourself look bad…

  • WanderingBearIV

    And if you’re into conspiracy theories, which it looks like you are, maybe you better be worrying about Russia instead of Monty and the Furd.

  • WanderingBearIV

    When it does come time for Monty to hang ‘em up (or fired to Steve’s delight), I know we would all love #5 to come back and coach but I don’t really see that happening. We can hope but if it doesn’t happen I nominate an up and coming young coach destined to be a star, Gus Argenal, head coach of CSUEB. He’s a DLS product and former UC Davis guard who no doubt would be fun to play for and has the personality to recruit.

  • Steve Fischer

    Umm are there any NCAA coaches on here? Is that a qualification for comments? Perhaps there are 20 posters who should be making $2 million a year than to simply be wasting their talent on commentary.

    I’m probably ok at basketball. I can block most of my 13 year old daughters’ shots.

  • 1brsfan

    Arkansas lost which would have put us on the right side with a win. Now that spot goes to Minny. I wish this team had more hunger this year. Seems like Cobbs was the only one who wanted it bad enough.

  • Steve Fischer

    It’s an analogy. Duh Did you ever hear “The Seahawks killed Denver”? “The Giants laid a beating on the Dodgers” “Arizona buried Cal” ? “The Heat slaughtered the Warriors”?

    When you did do you immediately call the police and file violent crime reports? LOL

    These analogies are actually pretty common in sports– bet you used them yourself.

  • Steve Fischer

    Its not just that we sucked today but we went 2 -5 in our last 7 ( Thank God we had USC at Home) We are 1-5 vs the TOP 25. 4-10 vs the top 50. Monty’s supporters said give him a couple of years – he had Braun’s recruits. What are the excuses now? Let’s make some for next year when we will probably be still mediocre.

    Yes I was the one who wanted Jason Kidd for coach – for several years now. No one agreed with me that he would be good. Remember? I caught hell for that suggestion. Now he’s taken a team full of has-beens by bringing along young players whom I have never heard of. Even with the loss of the NEt’s most consistent player ( Brock Lopez) , The Nets have the best Record in the East for 2014.

  • covinared

    I was at the UCSB game, so I’m not surprised at how it all turned out. We would have gone out early in the dance anyway.It seemed we played our best ball when Kreklow and Bird were out, but maybe we were just playing poor teams. Our inside guys aren’t strong enough and our outside guys don’t shoot well.Still an entertaining season. I am looking forward to the NIT. With some focus we can go deep. I lalso look forward to next year when my train buddy big man recruit is on the team. Go Bears!

  • WanderingBearIV

    I know what an analogy is, Steve. You are correct, I have used them in that context. Your new examples are nothing like your original post.

  • WanderingBearIV

    Freedom to blog but I find it better to build people up than tear them down. You can do that by rebuke as well but in the appropriate manner.

  • WanderingBearIV

    Sorry for calling you a weirdo. I enjoy your passion for Cal sports and think you do bring up thoughtful posts. I was pretty pissed at today’s loss as well.

  • Mitch

    I love Tyrone Wallace, but he has GOT to improve his free throw shooting.

  • Rollonubears

    SF, I agree, Monty should go. I just don’t think Kidd could handle the academic priority here, but maybe I’m wrong. The guy’s passionate, and knows the game. Maybe he could have surrounded himself with folks to get the academic thing going. Maybe he will fizzle out in the nba, and we’ll have him here, just like monty, but with better results. This season was a colossal disappointment. I also think we have little chance in the NIT. The team is deflated, and not on any kind of upswing. Plus, the teams in the NIT are frankly, better. They’re bigger, and tougher, and they can shoot.

  • Steve Fischer

    Hmm I built up Jason Kidd for many years as a future coach but everyone else rebuked me…

    Had Jason come here a few years ago. ! . We wouldn’t have suffered under Monty 2. He probably would have attracted young recruits who would have put us in the National Championship Picture 3. He probably would ahve gone to the NBA after a couple of years with us, but he would have left the program in much better shape.

  • 1brsfan

    I don’t see JKidd coaching at Cal any time in the near future. I agree that he could not handle the academic priority. He never did as a player so why would he do it as a coach. He’s been NBA minded since he came to Cal so I just don’t see him in the college ranks. He would however attract the one and done type of player due to his NBA career and in that case he wouldn’t have to worry so much about the academics. The only reason Monty is back in college is because he didn’t succeed at the NBA level after having spent time as a college coach. Kidd will get another shot if things don’t work out in Brooklyn and he’ll be an assistant for a while if head coaching doesn’t work out.

  • http://batman-news.com drizzlyboy

    Can Kidd even coach at Cal? I thought you needed a college degree. I know he left early, did he ever finish his degree?

  • GoBears49

    The team started very hungry in the second half but couldn’t maintain it at the end. We had our chances but couldn’t drop shots, which was really the story the whole game. Also, the call of basket interference on Kravish in the second half was clearly wrong on the replay, as the ball was out of the cylinder. Don’t recall see a shot of the basket looking straight down, which was totally cool. But that’s a tough call for an official to make. Too bad that is not subject to instant replay if you have a special camera shot like they did which could easily provide what the correct call was.

  • GoBears49

    Any guesses as to how many fans the Bears will draw if they have the first NIT game at home? I say 5,000.

    Would be a great time for Monty to try Wallace posting up. He has it all there except for height — uses both hands to shoot, is much, much quicker than anybody who will be defending him, can pass really well, has the best jump hook in the country for someone his size, has long arms so can get some offensive rebounds, and we’ll be short of good big men next year, though I don’t know how many point guards we will have. I think Wallace would be unstoppable at the post. He will raise his PPG if he plays there considerably.

    Remember you heard it here first — Wallace will play some post next year,

  • 1brsfan

    Maybe that’s what Rollon was talking about when he said that Kidd couldn’t handle the academic priority.

  • 1brsfan

    We’re in! If you believe this… http://www.unf.edu/~jcoleman/dance.htm

  • GoBears49

    Very interesting. Everybody has been just assuming that Lunardi will be correct, but I don’t know his track record in making predictions as to who will get in. Will be fun to see what their correct percentage is this year for the predictors you have provided a link for.

  • 1brsfan

    Lunardi is not known as the most accurate. He gets most of the teams in but usually misses on a few plus he misses more on seeding.

  • Rollonubears

    wow!

    “Last season, the Dance Card correctly predicted 37 of 37 at-large bids (100%); it predicted 36 of 37 bids in 2012 (97%).”

  • BlakeStreetBear

    Dance Card, hmmm…very interesting.

    Like I said a couple of days ago, had the pac12 season ended on the 5 game winning streak instead of starting with it perceptions would be very different around here, obviously. But the atrocious perceptions/realities of the last month do not a season make, apparently.

    So maybe I will be watching selection sunday after-all, biting my nails the whole time… I know that an 18-14 Georgia team got an at-large a few years back and many eyebrows raised, so definitely more suspect teams have gotten in before.

    I feel bad for Justin Cobbs. But maybe just maybe he gets a chance to make another game wining shot in the Big Dance? That would be sweet… Go Bears!

  • Rollonubears

    anybody else with an iphone having trouble loading this blog? i can only access on my desktop. been that way for a week.

  • AnonymousCitizen

    works fine on a 5S…
    roooooooooolllllllll
    onnnnnn
    yuuuuuuuuuuuuu
    beeeeeeeeaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrsssss!
    (always wanted to type that)

  • 1brsfan

    I love Cobbs and if we had another one with his drive on the team we probably win a few more games. I wish he would have taken it to the hoop vs. Utah instead of passing to wide open guys that kept missing shots.

  • Mitch

    The Nate Silver of the NCAA Tournament?

  • Steve Fischer

    I too, when I mention Cal on other more national blogs brag about our academics ( “The best public university in the world”) I sometimes use that as an excuse for poor sports.
    Among ourselves however, do we really have such high standards? We aren’t superior by some of the NCAA performance measures.

    As for the degree requirement if that’s an NCAA Rule – I understand. If its a Cal rule -I’d toss it.