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Cal Bears Not At Their Best But Still Winners
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Cal Bears Not at Their Best But Still Winners

The Cal Bears fell behind by as many as seven points in the first half on Thursday night's home game against the first place newcomers the Colorado Buffalos. You could sense that they would need help from some unlikely sources. Harper Kamp, the senior forward out of Arizona, came to the rescue.

They went to him early and he was up to the challenge as he scored seven first half points to go along with five rebounds that kept them in the game while the others were having off nights. Asked why he broke out tonight for his highest scoring output since scoring 16 against Georgia back in November, Kamp stated "it's a matter of me having more confidence. Offensively I've been having some struggles."

Kamp finished with 14 points and 8 rebounds. "Somebody had to score the ball," Montgomery said about Kamp. "The truth of the matter is we didn't screen anybody. We were just standing around and they took us out."

To say their vaunted trio of guards Jorge Gutierrez, Allen Crabbe, and Justin Cobbs were not playing up to their capabilities would be an understatement. Combined they shot 2-17 in the first half and scored six points with Crabbe pitching a shutout.

The Buffalo defense that came in tied for the conference lead in points allowed showed why that is so holding the Bears to 22 first half points. That total was the lowest they've scored in any half this season, and was the first time they've been trailing at the half in a home game.

"You've got to give all the credit in the world to Colorado," Coach Mike Montgomery stated after the game. "They are a solid basketball team." The way the offense was performing it didn't seem likely that Cal could extend their home winning streak to 12 games. They have won 15 straight at home dating back to last season when they beat UCLA on February 20th.

Near the end of the first half junior big man Bak Bak from the Sudan was inserted due to the other bigs having two fouls. He stood tall in the defensive zone and took a charge which incited Montgomery to come onto the floor cheering trying to get the team back into the game emotionally.

That, and whatever was said in the locker room at halftime, apparantly did the job as the Bears came out scored the first six points of the second half to close to within one. Allen Crabbe then hit his first basket of the night, a three pointer, with almost 27 minutes into the game.

Once their offense started getting back on track, their defense stiffened further. Cal held the Buffs to 31.9% shooting for the game, and that is now the 10th opponent that they've held to under 40% shooting for the season.

Cal's senior leader Jorge Gutierrez experienced one of his worst nights shooting the basketball. He ended up shooting only 2-17 and missed all three of his long range attempts. What makes Gutierrez great is that even though he was retched on the offensive end, watching him play defense you couldn't notice.

The entire team defense was harassing Colorado for most of the night, and that is partly what led them to the win. They forced 17 Buffalo turnovers and Justin Cobbs led the charge with three steals. David Kravish while scoring only six points, played big on defense as he gobbled up seven rebounds and had three big blocks.

Richard Solomon hit two free throws with 5:41 to play to tie the score at 45. After yet another Colorado turnover, this time a steal by Crabbe led to a Kamp 15 foot jumper that gave the Bears a lead that they would not relinquish.

They led 51-47 with just over two minutes to play when Buffalo senior forward Austin Dufault hit his third three pointer of the night to cut the lead to one with 1:17 to go. "We didn't think that the three point shooting was a Dufault strength," Montgomery recalled after the game. "But he went 3-4 and he hurt us."

Dufault led the Buffs with 19 points and 6'7" sophomore Andre Roberson was a beast on the boards finishing with 14 rebounds and 11 points. They were the only players in double figures, as team scoring leader Carlon Brown was held to 9 points, six below his season average.

After a layup by Kamp, Cobbs missed his second of two free throws and Allen Crabbe was able to sneak in along the baseline to steal the offensive rebound. He was fouled and went to the line and sank both to seal the win.

The Bears are now tied atop the Pac-12 conference with Colorado and Stanford. They will be hosting the other newcomer to the league the Utah Utes on Saturday. The Utes aren't having much success in the league so far, and they will face a pumped up Cal team that hopes to welcome back former De LaSalle guard Brandon Smith who has missed the past two games with a concussion.

Street Talk

Dan you write some awesome articles. Great job.

  about 1 decade ago

Thanks Rodney, I do appreciate it.

  about 1 decade ago
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