Allen Crabbe did not quite have a breakout game in his homecoming Thursday night. - USA TODAY Sports
The year 2013 and the Pac-12 Conference season started on a sour note for the California Golden Bears, as the Bears (8-5, 0-1) fell to the UCLA Bruins (11-3, 1-0) 79-65 in Los Angeles on Thursday night.
And the streak continues. Nope, the streak in question is not the recent Bears dominance over UCLA. Instead, the streak that has continued is the sudden inability of the Bears to make a 3 pointer. It's been nearly two whole week since the Golden Bears have been able to make a 3. Sure, there have only been two games in the mean time, but going 0 for 19 over the course of two games is still a fairly significant occurrence, particularly for a supposed parameter team like Cal.
Despite the big margin at the end, the Bears were actually in this game until fairly late. Here is the game flow:
Coming off a bad loss in the last game, the Bears did jump out to an early 6-0 lead to force a quick UCLA timeout. However, the Bruins finally start to hit their shots, particularly some wide open looks from Travis Wear (6 for 11 for the game). More importantly, the Bruins were able to disrupt Allen Crabbe enough. Despite how Crabbe scored the first bucket of the game, Allen only had 5 points at the half, as UCLA found themselves with a 36-26 lead.
The second half started with a quick 10-2 UCLA run to push the lead to 16. Just when it appear that the Bruins might run away with this one. The Bears did show some heart and start to chip back a few times with several 6 or 8 point runs. However, without the ability (or the confidence) to make a 3's, the closest that the Bears got was within 4 points with about 6+ minutes left. Allen Crabbe scored 16 points in the second half, for a game high 21 total, with an array of drives and floaters. UCLA, then closed out the game with a 18-8 run.
Cal played with a pretty short bench yet again as usual 6th man, senior Brandon Smith remained out with a concussion. Redshirt sophomore, Ricky Kreklow, did make a somewhat surprising cameo in the first half for the Bears. Kreklow played 9 minutes before re-injuring his ankle/foot. From coach Mike Montgomery's pregame radio interview, Kreklow is expected to be hobbled all season as all the rests that he have received so far have not contributed to any improvement in his condition, unfortunately.
Without Kreklow nor Smith, the Bears' rotation is really only 6 deep with senior Robert Thurman being the lone reliable guy off the bench. Jeff Powers played 7 minute tonight (and was the only Cal Bears with a positive +/- at +1 for the game), but was only pressed into action given the foul trouble of Tyrone Wallace.
With the heavy minutes to the starters, the Bears got a game high 21 points and 7 boards from Allen Crabbe (but also 5 turnovers which is also game high). Justin Cobbs contributed 12 points, but on 6 of 18 shooting. Richard Solomon actually had a double-double with 11 point (on 4 of 13 shooting) and 10 boards. David Kravish came close to matching that with 9 points and 12 boards. Freshman Tyrone Wallace got 8 points and 8 boards for the game.
With his 21 points, Allen Crabbe has surpassed Ayinde Ubaka for 22nd place all time in the Cal basketball career scoring list.
In addition to the Bears' inability to make 3 pointers, the Bears also missed quite a few point blank shots inside the paint (and these misses were not shots that are blocked). Despite all this, the Bears' FG% on 2 pointers was still a respectable 47.6% (compared to UCLA's 50.0% on generally longer shots). The main difference in the score came from the 4 3 pointers that the Bruins were able to make and the extra 18 points from the free throw line (though half of these came late when the Bears were desperate to stop the clock).
UCLA was lead by Kyle Anderson's 19 points and 12 boards. Anderson had a very efficient 5 for 8 from the fiend and 9 for 9 from the charity stripe performance. Travis Wear had 15 points (but only 3 boards). The highly touted freshman, Shabazz Muhammed contributed 16 points, but on 5 for 13 shooting. Muhammed was able to use his wide body to gain a big mismatch on Tyrone Wallace on several occasions, but was otherwise a little bit underwhelming.
Here are the graphical box scores.
What's next: The Bears will look to get a split in the LA road trip with a visit to USC on Saturday night (8 PM PT). I expect the LA natives Allen Crabbe and Richard Solomon to have the big games that I thought they were going to have on Thursday night. Here is more information if you're in SoCal and want to go cheer on the Bears in person. USC managed to beat Stanfurd by two on Thursday night.