It's been the winning formula all year for the California Golden Bears: clutch perimeter shooting, incredible second half comebacks, and Brandon Smith playing a literally perfect game. That's how we've done it all year long, and it made perfect sense that we'd earn our first victory at Phil Knight's mausoleum in the same fashion.
Jorge Gutierrez: 23 points (16 in the second half), 8 of 13 shooting, 5 for 5 from the line, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal
Allen Crabbe: 19 points, 6 of 14 shooting, 4 of 8 from downtown, 3 for 4 from the line, 6 assists, 3 steals
Brandon Smith: 18 points, 5 of 5 shooting, 4 for 4 from downtown, 4 for 4 from the line, 3 assists, 3 rebounds
With the Oregon Ducks defense sinking inside to prevent Harper Kamp and Markhuri Sanders-Frison from dominating them again (held to single digits in scoring), the guards needed to have big games, and they all stepped up huge. Smith, Gutierrez and Crabbe all nailed crucial threes down the stretch, and Richard Solomon had some huge spot duty. After struggling with it last game, Cal broke Oregon's press expertly, and their offense executed great down the stretch, shooting 62%, 56% from three point land and nailing 12 free throws.
And let's not forget the defense that started the offense, as everyone stepped up and totally flustered the Ducks from even getting good shots off after a half where they couldn't miss anything. Cal disrupted passing lanes, rotated much better, and Jorge led the charge. Cal outscored Oregon 50-26 down the stretch and wiped out the hot shooting of the Ducks halfway through the 2nd. What a comeback, and what a great way to keep the momentum from the UCLA going in the right direction.
Cal now is two wins away from playing postseason basketball. Let's finish this season like we finished this game.