Nervous about Syracuse already?
The Bears played out of sync for a lot of the first half. Cal was taking tough shots, and like the Murray State game was living off of free throws and hustle. Good stuff to see the Bears playing tough on the boards, but you'd kind of prefer to see that type of effort in conference play rather than against a fairly mediocre squad like Detroit.
After Randle carried the offense in the first half though, Christopher and Robertson took them home, scoring 26 of the first 30 second half points, including the last 22 points in that stretch. Bears got solid hustle and rebounding from Boykin, Amoke, Zhang (yes, Max looked really good tonight!) and Sanders-Frison, and Cal blew the door open in a game that probably looks closer than the final
However, at least the slow start can be partially explained to a lot of strange lineups and rotations, with Montgomery liberally subbing in 10 players in. So it can help explain why the Bears offense looked discordant. Once Monty said "screw this, we're going with our five best guys", Cal busted it open and never looked back.
Cal fans might have to prepare for a few more of these close calls though, especially against conference foes. TedfordIsGod put it best:
We rely a lot on shooting. That makes it kinda difficult to blow people out. Its not like we are going to go out and hit 90% of our jump shots. Teams that run more can blow teams out because they get tons of layups/dunks. That isn’t who we are. We aren’t playing well, but not exactly crappy either.
On Monday, Cal played what was clearly the toughest opponent (Murray State) among the other Coaches v. Cancer hosts (i.e., UNC, Ohio State, and Syracuse). I don’t know whom Ohio State plays tomorrow night, but this could be true again: Detroit looks way better than Robert Morris and NC Central, whom Syracuse and UNC beat soundly tonight, respectively.
Not a complaint, just an observation. If anything, assuming we can hang on for the win tonight, the tougher competition will help us, hopefully, in the RPI.
Time to get ready for New York! Hopefully Cal's eight/nine man rotation will be enough to duel with the Orangemen in what amounts to a road game for us. Vote for your Golden Player of the Game!