Scouting report: California
Game info: 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Edmundson Pavilion (10,000 capacity).
TV: FSN (Tom Glasglow, Lenny Wilkens and Jen Mueller).
Radio: KJR 950 AM and 102.9 FM (Bob Rondeau and Jason Hamilton).
Record: 15-4, 5-1.
Stats/schedule: Click here.
Game notes: Click here.
Coach: Mike Montgomery is 79-41 in his fourth season with the Golden Bears.
Prediction: Picked to finish second in the Pac-12 by the media.
Series: The series, which began in 1916, is tied 77-77. Washington swept both games last season and has won four of the past five games. Lorenzo Romar is 10-10 against Cal.
Last meeting: Washington dominated from start to finish in a 109-77 rout at Hec Ed that snapped a three-game losing streak. Isaiah Thomas scored 23 points and Matthew Bryan-Amaning had 18, nine rebounds and four blocks. C.J. Wilcox scored 14 points, Justin Holiday had 12 and Terrence Ross and Scott Suggs each added 11. The Huskies led by 24 at halftime and tied the school record with 17 three-pointers.
Last week: California beat Utah 81-45 and toppled Colorado 57-50 (highlights above).
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
— Senior guard Jorge Gutierrez (right) is the first recruit signed by Montgomery. He’s a defensive-minded guard who has developed into a scorer last season. Gutierrez is a two-year starter, who had a supporting role on the 2009-10 season that won the first Pac-10 title in Cal history. Last season he moved into a starring role and this season, he’s a Pac-12 Player of the Year candidate. He’s eighth in the conference in scoring with a 14.3 points per game average and 10th in steals with 24.
Romar on Gutierrez: “He plays so hard. He is so competitive. He’s one of the greatest warriors this league has ever had. Didn’t say greatest player. But in terms of competitor (and being) a warrior, wow he is impressive. He is just a winner. He brings it whether he’s injured or not injured. Whatever it is, he just brings it every moment he’s out there on the floor. He’s an awesome guy to watch play. I think he can dunk, but I’ve never seen any of his highlights on Sportscenter or anything like that. But I tell you what, he’s one of the most feared guys you want to play against because he’s all about what’s important out there on the basketball floor. It’s not about who’s watching him or none of that. He’s about what he’s doing out there on that floor and he inspires the rest of those guys.”
Abdul Gaddy on Gutierrez: “He’s that guy that you hate to play against, but you love to have on your team. He’s one of those guys. Does all of the dirty work and whatever it takes for his team to win. He’ll guard the best player. Dive on the floor for loose balls. He does whatever it takes to win. He’s a good player. I relish playing against him. I don’t like playing against him, but he’s a tough competitor and he brings out the best in everybody.”
— Sophomore guard Allen Crabbe leads the Pac-12 with 51 three-pointers. He’s attempted 113, which is three times more than anyone else on the team. He also shoots 45.1 percent behind the arc, which ranks sixth in the conference. In two games last week, he was 1 for 8 on three-pointers. Crabbe leads the Bears with a 15.7 scoring average that ranks third in the Pac-12. His career scoring high is 34 points and his season best is 26. Crabbe also averages 5.7 rebound, which is second on the team.
— Sophomore guard Justin Cobbs, a transfer from Minnesota, may be the missing piece to a championship puzzle. He’s second in the Pac-12 with a 4.9 assists per game average. He’s also able to score when needed. Cobbs averages 12.9 points, which is third on the team. He’s shooting 57.6 on three-pointers, 51.9 from the field and 81 percent on free throws. Last week against Utah, Cobbs notched his first double double. He finished with 14 points and a career-high 11 assists.
COLORADO COACH TAD BOYLE ON CALIFORNIA:
(How did you hold Cal to 57 points?) “We really tried to keep them out of the lane as much as possible. … I thought we did a great job on Gutierrez running somebody at him when he was driving and trying to keep their perimeter guys out of the lane and making plays for their post guys. When they get the ball in the lane, they can dissect you pretty easily.
(Is Gutierrez the key to their team?) “He is the key to their team, but they’ve got a lot of weapons. Harper Kamp is kind of the unsung hero of that team. A guy that does a lot of little things. Keeps the ball alive. Got them second shot, then of course you got Allen Crabbe who is capable of going off at any time.
“So they got a lot of different weapons. … But Jorge is the key. If you can contain him and keep him in check. He has the ability to score the ball and more importantly get others in position to score the ball. It starts with him, but it doesn’t end with him.”
— Here’s video of Montgomery this week talking about the Washington game.
— Sophomore forward Richard Solomon has been ruled academically ineligible for the rest of the season. He led Cal in rebounds (6.2) and was fifth in scoring (6.0).
— Senior forward Harper Kamp is the only player who has started every game, which is somewhat surprising because before the season he was nursing a knee injury that forced him to the 2009-10 season. He’s scored 14 points in each of the past two games and is averaging seven rebounds.
— Freshman forward David Kravish is perhaps the biggest surprise if for no other reason than he earned a starting spot in his first year with the Bears. Montgomery, a former Montana coach, returned to his Midwest roots to pluck the lanky, 6-9, 210-pounder out of Missouri. (Corrected: 11:41 a.m.)
— Cal’s bench is razor thin. Junior point guard Brandon Smith is the only reserve averaging more than eight minutes per game. After suffering a concussion, he missed the past three contests and is cleared to play Thursday.
— In conference-only games, Cal leads the Pac-12 with a 52.1 percent field goal percentage and 18 assists per game.
— The Bears commit an average of 10.8 turnovers per game in Pac-12 contests, which is the second fewest in the league.
— Cal is riding a three-game winning streak and seeks to match its season high for consecutive wins.
— In their Pac-12 road games, the Bears lost 92-85 at Oregon State before knocking off Oregon 77-60.
F – David Kravish, 6-9, 210, Fr., 5.7 ppg., 5.6 rpg., 1.3 bpg.
F – Harper Kamp, 6-8, 245, Sr., 9.4, 5.1, 1.6 apg.
G – Allen Crabbe, 6-6, 205, So., 15.7, 5.7, 2.2 apg.
G – Jorge Gutierrez, 6-3, 195, Sr, 14.3, 4.8, 4.3 apg.
G – Justin Cobbs 6-2, 195, So., 12.9, 2.4, 4.9 apg.
— Cal’s three-guard lineup of Crabbe, Gutierrez and Cobbs combine to average 42.2 points per game, 12.7 rebounds and shoots a combined 84-of-184 (.457) from three-point range. The trio also combine to average 11.1 assists per game. Washington counters with a formidable three-guard lineup that includes Terrence Ross, Tony Wroten Jr. and Gaddy. Gutierrez often takes the opposing team’s top guard so he’s likely to draw Ross, who scored 30 points Sunday. As Boyle noted, controlling Gutierrez is the key to slowing down Cal. He scored 24 points against Washington in their last meeting, but it was otherwise meaningless because the Huskies shut down everyone else.