Cal 81, George Washington 54: 23-0 Run Sinks The Colonials

For most of the first half Cal's offense was sloppy.  The Bears turned the ball over 10 times to start the game, and those mistakes allowed George Washington to take the lead twice.  After 14 minutes the Colonials hit a three to take a narrow 19-18 advantage.

They never got closer than 16 the rest of the way.  Cal tightened things up on both ends and more than doubled their point total in six minutes of game time.  As usual, it was Jorge Gutierrez who ignited this teammates with a quick jumper, two made free throws, then a steal to start a fast break.  By the time halftime mercifully paused the run Crabbe, Cobbs, Kravish and Kamp all contributed to the scoring onslaught.  Cal hit three more buckets to start the second half before George Washington finally hit a field goal to end a stretch of 9:15 without a made basket.

The run essentially meant that there were 15 minutes of garbage time.  Emerson Murray and Bak Bak both got double digit minutes off the bench and David Kravish got to play more than half the game, and Jorge and Harper didn't even need to spend 30 minutes on the floor.  With most of Cal's starters resting George Washington cut the deficit from 26 to 16, so Monty put the starters back in.  They immediately built the lead back up to 25 before Monty emptied the bench to finish things off.

So what does this win mean?  Well, it means more than a win over UC Irvine, that's for sure.  George Washington isn't a world beater, but they're an average team in a decent conference, so it's a decent win for Cal's strength of schedule.  They're probably similar in quality to a bottom of the conference Pac-12 team, an Oregon State perhaps.  That Cal (early struggles aside) so easily broke them down means that this team is exactly where we thought they would be.

The Bad

1. Ten turnovers in the first 16 minutes.

2. No new AP photos in the SBN feed. I demand pictures of gold dyed hair!

3. A mixture of bench players and starters weren't able to continue the blowout and allowed GW to kinda-sorta-maybe get back into it?  I'm just trying to fill this section with something.

The Good

1. Only five turnovers over the last 24 minutes

2. Continued impressive showings from David Kravish.  Most Cal fans were reasonably confident in Richard Solomon and Harper Kamp, but you have to have a 3rd big, right?  It's rare for both big guys to play 30-35 minutes each without occasional foul trouble.  Well, it looks like we've found our 3rd big.  Kravish played 24 minutes of calm, controlled basketball.  Nine rebounds, a few fast break baskets, solid defense and just one turnover in 24 minutes would be a more than acceptable performance in Pac-12 play.  We'll see if he can keep it up against more athletic, talented players but I'm liking everything I've seen so far.

3. More solid play from Justin Cobbs.  I don't think anybody is surprised with what Cobbs has brought to the court, but his continued good shooting, aggressive drives and all-around solid play has to put a smile on the faces of Cal fans.  His ability to get to the line could be a nice addition to a team that already had the knack of getting to the line.  His ability to score might really take the pressure off of the rest of our perimeter rotation.

4. Three point shooting.  8-13 from behind the arc?  As I mentioned in the gamethread, who let Jerome, PChris and Theo back in the building?

A good win.  We'll wait to get really excited until the Bears play Georgia and Notre Dame or Missouri in Kansas City, but right now Cal hasn't given us any reason to not to embrace the high expectations many have for the 2011-12 season.

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