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Cal Bears Dominate Ucla Bruins In 2nd Half
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Cal Bears Dominate Ucla Bruins In 2nd Half

This isn't how I typically spend my end of the year festivities. New Year's Eve is a time for celebrations, and after watching the Cal Bears destroy the UCLA Bruins with an almost flawless second half, beating them 85-69. Now we can all party just a little harder tonight.

Early on it seemed as if the Bruins might be able to take advantage of what appeared to be a huge size differential down low with the 6'10" 305 lb. sophomore Joshua Smith. Coach Mike Montgomery matched up with freshman forward David Kravish who tips the scales at 210 giving away nearly 100 lbs. "I almost apologized to Kravish before the game for putting him on Smith," Montgomery joked after the game.

Kravish got some help with some timely double teams and frustrated Smith for most of the game as they held him to only six points and four rebounds. The freshman found a way to get the job done for the most part by using his quickness and beating the bigger man to the spot since he clearly wasn't going to force him out of the position.

The first half was back and forth the entire way with no team going on any extended runs. With just over ten minutes left Gutierrez was in a collision and went down in pain. He hobbled off the floor and looked to be in a lot of pain.

Luckily for the Bears it wasn't serious and he was back in the game soon afterwards doing his defensive magic once more. The tenacity and aggression he displays on both ends of the court is impressive, and his teammates seem to feed off of him.

The Bears took had a five point lead with under four minutes to go, but the hot shooting of UCLA's Tyler Lamb kept the Bruins close. Tyler had 16 points on 3-4 from distance. The teams finished an even twenty minutes of play with Cal leading 40-39.

There was no big halftime speech. There was no yelling and screaming, or chair throwing either. Coach Montgomery told his players to keep focused on the game plan and they did exactly that.

Justin Cobbs got the ball rolling by hitting a three for the opening points of the half and then a steal and a Crabbe layup started the train never stopped rolling for Cal. They kept passing the ball freely and finding open guys who made shots.

The Bears scored 85 points and recorded an astounding 28 assists on 34 made baskets. Gutierrez and Cobbs led the way with eight assists apiece and Crabbe kicked in six of his own. "When you get three perimeter guys with twenty two assists, that's pretty good" lamented Montgomery afterwards.

They were getting contributions from everyone that played. They had six players hit double figures in scoring led by Crabbe with 20. Gutierrez had 16, Kravish and Cobbs both had 13, Harper Kamp had 10, and little used forward Robert Thurman chipped in with 11 of the bench.

"Thurman was told he was going to play because of his size," Montgomery said. "It was the passing that led to his offense. He's open, they drop it to him, he puts it in." Thurman had mostly point blank shots, but he didn't miss any of them going 5-5.

After the game Montgomery was asked if this passing was a "Stanford thing". "No it has nothing to do with Stanford. It has to do with good basketball." The passing opened up enough easy baskets to allow them to shoot 65% from the field for the game.

Defensively they played mostly man, but did try to go zone a few times. Montgomery said "zone is something we will have to play; we're going to have to work on it." They need to work on it quickly because next week they hit the road to face the Oregon schools as they open the Pac-12 conference schedule with a 2-0 start with wins over both L.A. schools.

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