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Husky Men's Basketball

The latest news and analysis on Husky men's hoops.

February 10, 2011 at 6:07 AM

Scouting report: California

jorge drives.JPG
Photo credit: McClatchy Newspapers – Jose Carlos Fajardo
CALIFORNIA
Game info:
6 p.m. Thursday at Edmundson Pavilion
TV/Radio: FSN/KJR-950 AM
Record: 13-10, 6-5 Pac-10. RPI rank: 66.
Previous game: Lost 107-105 3OT to Arizona.
Stats/schedule: Click here.
Prediction: Picked to finish seventh in the Pac-10 in a media poll.
Coach: Mike Montgomery is 59-32 in his third season with the Golden Bears and 606-276 in 30 years.He became the seventh active head coach to record 600 Division I victories.
Series: California leads 77-76 in a series that began in 1916. The Bears are 27-48 at Hec Ed.
Last meeting: In perhaps its most impressive game this season, Washington destroyed Cal 92-71 on Jan. 16. The Huskies blew the game open early. They made eight of their first 12 shots and to take an 19-11 advantage. They led 23-22 midway through the first half before their 13-2 run gave them a 36-24 lead. UW was up 48-33 at halftime because it shot 53.1 percent from the field and 50 percent (7 of 14) on three pointers. Cal never got closer than 15 points in the second half. UW’s Big Three led the way. Isaiah Thomas finished with 27 points and 13 assists, Matthew Bryan-Amaning had 22 points and 11 rebounds and Justin Holiday drained five three-pointers in a career-high 23-point performance.


PLAYERS TO WATCH:
— Junior forward Harper Kamp is Cal’s most consistent performer who does the majority of his work beneath the rim. The 6-8, 245-pound junior is a banger. He’s tough. He defends. He rebounds and after redshirting last season due to a knee injury, he’s become one of the team’s leader. In the first game against Washington, Kamp finished with a team-high 20 points and seven rebounds. He also had five turnovers. He’s scored in double figures in the past 12 games. He tallied a career-high 33 points and 10 rebounds in last Saturday in the triple overtime defeat to Arizona. He also logged 55 minutes in the game.
— Short of a major collapse in the final seven games, guard Allen Crabbe will win the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year award. In conference games, he averages 16.6 points which is six better than the next player. He averages 38.1 minutes and rarely comes off the floor. After just 23 games, Crabbe is developing into a lethal scorer. He scored a career-high 30 points against Washington State and 27 against Arizona. He’s taken more three-pointers (113) than any other Cal player and he has the highest 3pt percentage (381.) on the team. At 6 foot 6, he’s strong enough to absorb contact and get to the line. And he’s able to score off the dribble as well. Crabbe was named the 2010 California Gatorade Player of the Year and Parade All-American.
— Junior guard Jorge Gutierrez (above, middle) has a reputation as being one of the best perimeter defenders in the Pac-10, but this season his role has expanded and he’s become more of an offensive threat. He tried playing point guard early in the year, but that experiment failed and he returned to shooting guard where he has thrived. After recording just four double-figure scoring performances last season, he has 17 this season. Over his past four games, Gutierrez is averaging 19.0 points. He’s taking more three-pointers than ever before, but his biggest offensive weapon is his ability to drive the rim, draw contact and get to the free throw line. In the past four games, he’s shooting 33 of 39 at the charity stripe. Gutierrez is also second in the Pac-10 behind Thomas averaging 5.09 assists against conference teams. Gutierrez also has a team-high 64 turnovers.
OVERVIEW:
— Cal is the defending Pac-10 regular-season champions. The Bears lost four starters, five of its top five players and 90 percent of its scoring from last season.
— Cal is in a fourth place tie with Washington State in the Pac-10 standings. With a win, the Bears would tie Washington for third.
— Senior forward Markhuri Sanders-Frison isn’t very tall (6-7), but he’s got a big body at 265 pounds. In the last six games, he’s shooting 29-for-48 from the field and averaging 12.6 points. A lingering foot problem and a propensity to pick up silly fouls often prevents him from playing major minutes.
— He’s certainly not the most talented player on the team, but freshman Brandon Smith is probably the most important player for Cal because he’s the only one who can effectively play point guard. It’s no wonder he averages 33.7 minutes in 11 Pac-10 games, which ranks third in the conference for freshmen behind Crabbe and USC’s Maurice Jones. Smith logged 53 minutes last Saturday against Arizona. When he’s out of the game, Gutierrez moves to point guard. Smith averages
— Montgomery has kept the same starters since the Pac-10 season began and he’s shortened the lineup recently. Cal primarily uses a seven-man rotation that includes reserve forwards Richard Solomon and Bak Bak.
— Solomon, a 6-10 freshman, scored a career-high 14 points against Washington. He connected on all five field goals and sank 4 of 8 shots at the line.
— Bak, a 6-9 sophomore, is a willing defender although he’s limited offensively.
— Cal is second behind Washington and tied with Arizona in scoring offense at 77.8 ppg.
— The Bears lead the league in two categories – assists (16.4 apg) and assist-turnover ratio (1.4). Cal has shot the fewest three-point attempts (136) in conference games.
— Considering its recent play, hard to believe Cal managed just five points in the first half of its 57-44 defeat to Notre Dame on Nov. 26.
Max Zhang, Cal’s 7-3 center who would have been a junior this season, ended his collegiate career when he signed with a professional team in China before the season.
— Freshman guard Gary Franklin left the team on Jan. 5 and transferred to Baylor.
STARTING LINEUP:
F – Harper Kamp, 6-8, 245, Jr., 15.1 ppg., 5.7 rpg.
F – Markuri Sanders-Frison, 6-7, 265, Sr., 10.8, 7.6
G – Allen Crabbe, 6-6, 205, Fr., 12.4, 5.7
G – Jorge Gutierrez, 6-3, 195, Jr., 13.2, 4.2 apg.
G – Brandon Smith, 5-11, 185, So., 5.6, 3.7
KEY MATCHUP:
— The Huskies must shore up their interior defense, which has been lacking in the three-game losing streak. Kamp is a load and Sanders-Frison is a tough rebounder. It’s imperative that Bryan-Amaning and Aziz N’Diaye stay out of foul trouble and limit’s Cal’s ability to score inside. It will also be interesting to see what Montgomery does with Gutierrez. He started Smith on Thomas the last time and Thomas abused him routinely early on. In the second half Gutierrez switched to Thomas, but UW was already well into its rout. Look for Cal to fall back into a 2-3 zone, which has given the Huskies fits lately. Against the zone, Holiday and Scott Suggs will have plenty of chances to make plays for themselves and others. They could be the key to the game. Especially Holiday who will likely defend Crabbe. It’s time for Holiday, a senior co-captain, to take command of the team. He’s has at least nine games – eight in the regular season and one in the Pac-10 Tournament – remaining in his UW career. He’s had great success against Cal in the past and with so much defensive attention begin given to Thomas and Bryan-Amaning, the Huskies need a consistent third scorer to emerge.

Comments | Topics: Scott Suggs

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