And its another huge win for the bears!!! The California Golden Bears stumbled into Tucson Sunday night and stole a victory from the #7 Arizona Wildcats!! And what a game it was!!!
California seemed up to the task early on with some easy buckets. David Kravish ran the floor well. Where the Bears were getting exploited was on the defensive side of the ball. Loose balls in the first half again came back to bite the bears along with careless turnovers that translated into easy buckets for the Wildcats. Early on the game was a lot of missed jumpers in a pretty much up and down game. Again careless turnovers were hurting the bears as some guys were throwing the ball to ghosts.
The turning point in the first half was definitely when Cal turned to the zone bottle the Wildcats offensively. Although it had it bright spots, the Cats kept running a high ball screen which freed up shooters almost at will. The bigs failed hedge on this top ball screen and Arizona would take advantage of it. Solomon Hill would hit a 3 from there and Mark Lyons got into the paint almost at will. The bear’s saving grace all the way up until half time was stops that led to easy buckets in transition. Especially the bucket at the end of the half with Allen Crabbe finishing at the buzzer, a sure fire boost for the team going into half time.
The second half was one to remember for the California. Guys played with heart and soul that has been desired from the coaching staff. And was it a pleasure to watch. For the first time this year leadership was seen from key guys and propelled the team to victory. All that said from everyone’s mouth was “win, win, win!!” The bears played like that and more. The bears would revisit the zone and it appeared way more active than the first half. Allen Crabbe didn’t let a soul get by him at the top of the key and this severely dampened Arizona’s offensive effort. Now all the bears needed to do was score and that is easier said then done. And in steps Allen Lester Crabbe, the man of the game. From the and one 3, to cuts to the basket, to his ridiculously hard angle, falling to the floor floater, Crabby was everywhere. The kid only missed 3 shots, ALL GAME!!
Not selling anyone else short, Justin Cobbs stepped into his role perfectly. Driving into the lane with effectiveness, he found guys for layups and got some of his own. What he did the best in my opinion was run the break. Pushing at every opportunity, he got many easy layups. And who can forget his clutch jumpers and a huge 3!!!
These 2 efforts are highlighted but now onto my player ratings.
1 Justin Cobbs PG Cal
An all around efficient performance from Cal’s leading man. Weathered a turnover storm early on to bounce back in a huge way. Exploited his offensive matchup to perfection and also displayed defensive prowess today. Remained very composed throughout and his distribution was near flawless. Above all, his leadership was amazing. Long overdue but man did this kid play his heart out for the club.
3 Tyrone Wallace SG Cal
A guy who battled in the trenches all game. His efforts won’t show up on the stat sheet outside of his 7 assists but he put in a very solid shift. Ran down every ball he saw, Tyrone was a monster on the defensive side. Hardly stepping a foot wrong all game defensively, his teammates were thankful for his effort. A very satisfactory performance for Tyrone as he continues to grow every game.
23 Allen Crabbe SF Cal
In my opinion, his best game as a Cal Bear. He played every facet of the game to perfection. He distributed, rebounded, defended, lead, and put the ball in the bucket. What else can I say? The kid was amazing tonight and hit HUGE shots for his team. This game will push into the upper echelon of greats at Cal in my opinion but maybe I’m a little bias.
45 David Kravish PF Cal
Started slow but eventually grew into the game. Was efficient offensively and kept set plays ticking with his smarts. David was another guy who battled in the trenches but he does that almost every game. Fought to the death on the glass, Davy was very composed in his approach and I have never seen him more focused in a pregame setting. This game took David from a boy to a man and quick!
35 Richard Solomon C Cal
A gritty performance from him. Again and again his length caused problems. His jumper was falling for him tonight and it boosted his confidence dramatically. Caught ball watching on occasion but he always ran to the glass to help out. A constant thorn in Arizona’s side whether he had the ball or not. A vocal presence in the huddle which helped everyone.
12 Brandon Smith PG Cal
A heart filled performance for the battle tested senior. Got on the floor for countless loose balls and kept many possessions alive. Withstood Lyons and Mays ball pressure all night and remained composed as usual. Was seen wiping the glass a few times on the defensive end which is huge.
34 Robert Thurman C Cal
Persevered throughout the whole game whether it be on the glass or from his own coaching staff. Rob would respond with maturity and grab key rebounds late on. Fumbled his one drop off but you can’t fault him for his effort and passion while on the floor. A performance to hang his hat on.
15 Bak Bak PF Cal
This guy just came out of left field today. A man possessed while on the floor. His energy was paramount to Cal’s success. His late free throws kept the cats at bay for a little longer and his defensive presence was surprisingly large. Put dreadlocks on Bak and he is the Angelo Chol of California.