Scouting report: California
Game info: 6 p.m. Thursday at Haas Pavilion.
TV/Radio: ESPN2/KJR-950 AM
Record: 15-8 (7-4 Pac-10). RPI rank: 26th.
Stats/schedule: Click here.
Coach: Mike Montgomery 37-19 in his second year with the Golden Bears; 584-263 in his 28th season.
Last season: 22-11, 11-7 Pac-10 (t-3rd)
Series: Cal leads 76-74 in a series that began in 1916.
Last meeting: UW snapped a three-game losing streak to Cal with a 84-69 win Jan. 16 at Edmundson Pavilion. Quincy Pondexter scored 21 of his 25 points in the first half and Isaiah Thomas (left) added 20 points and six rebounds. Thomas also locked up Cal’s Jerome Randle (left), who finished with a season-low five points and a season-high eight turnovers. Patrick Christopher scored a season-high 28 points.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
“The fact of the matter is we got moved to ESPN2 because it isn’t quite the matchup they may have anticipated at the start of the year. It’s good that they don’t have ESPN4.” — Montgomery on the UW-Cal game, which was originally scheduled for ESPN.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
— After their last meeting, Randle said he was hampered by a sore knee injured two days earlier at Washington State. He’s been held to fewer than 10 points in just three games in the past two seasons. Randle is fourth on the school’s all-time list, 12 behind Jason Kidd. Randle has the most three-pointers in school history (223) and needs 32 points to move past Bob McKeen (1,654) into fifth place on Cal’s all-time scoring list.
— At 6-5 and 220 pounds, Christopher is a difficult matchup for UW. The senior guard burned the Huskies in the opening minutes, exploiting freshman Abdul Gaddy and staking Cal to a 5-0 lead. Christopher has a versatile game and he’s able to score inside and on the perimeter.
— Pondexter called Theo Robertson “the key” and the “glue-guy.” Robertson had an off night (1 for 7 shooting, 7 points) against UW in earlier this season. He’s a streaky shooter. Two weeks ago, he was scoreless at Arizona State and he’s had four games this season scoring fewer than 10 points. He’s also scored 20 or more five times. Robertson currently ranks first in Cal history for career three-point shooting at 43.8 percent (131-299).
— It looks like it’s going to be an explosive night at normally staid Haas Pavilion. The Bears return home after three weeks on the road. They haven’t played there since Jan. 23.
— — Since the start of Pac-10 play, Cal averaging a league best 75.9 points per game.
— For the majority of this season, Cal hasn’t been at 100 percent health. Robertson missed six games during the nonconference schedule because of a sore foot and sophomore reserve guard Jorge Gutierrez missed five games at the start of conference play with a knee injury. Gutierrez was also one of a number of players who played with the flu earlier this season.
— When healthy, Guitterrez is one of the Pac-10’s best defenders. Last season, he was one of a few guards able to stay in front of Thomas.
— Junior reserve center Markhuri Sanders-Frison had the flu earlier this season and now he’s dealing with a sore back that caused him to miss Cal’s two games in Arizona. He returned last week.
— The Bears have been without junior forward Harper Kamp for the entire season, as he’s still recuperating from offseason knee surgery.
— The rash of injuries has forced Cal to rely heavily on its Big Three. Randle, Christopher, and Robertson have averaged over 32.0 minutes per game and they accounted for 102 of the Bears’ 135 points in a pair of games last week.
F – Jamal Boykin, 6-8, 240, Sr., 11.0 ppg., 6.2 rpg.
F – Omondi Amoke, 6-7, 225, So., 5.1, 5.3
F – Robertson, 6-6, 230, Sr., 14.2, 4.5
G – Randle, 5-10, 172, Sr., 19.1, 4.7 apg
G – Christopher, 6-5, 220, Sr., 16.3, 5.7
— The Bears’ Big Three is a difficult matchup for UW’s small guards. Pondexter will likely be paired with Boykin or Amoke, which is good news for the Huskies because Boykin is too big and Amoke too small to contend with Pondexter. Justin Holiday, the Huskies best defense against three-point shooters, looks to defend Robertson. Because of their height, Thomas and Venoy Overton must guard Randle, which leaves Gaddy and reserves Scott Suggs and Elston Turner on Christopher. Cal exploited this favorable matchup in the first meeting and will likely do so again. Still, the Huskies can survive a big night from Christopher. They can’t, however, survive an offensive onslaught from Cal’s other big guns. Shutting down Randle and Robertson and keeping Boykin and Amoke off the glass is imperative.
February 10, 2010 at 10:29 PM
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