TUCSON IS BEAR TERRITORY!
If you had told me that the Bears (14-9, 6-5) would be able to escape Tucson with a victory over No.7 Arizona (20-3, 8-3), I would have expected a huge heroic effort from both Allen Crabbe and Justin Cobbs. This was exactly what happened.
Behind the strong shootings from the pair of top scoring backcourters, the Bears outscored the Wildcats 44-31 in an impressive 2nd half. Allen Crabbe made 12 of 15 shots for a season high 31 points (his career high is 33), including 4 for 7 from 3 point land. Like most of his big scoring games, Crabbe did most of the damage in the second half with 19 points. Just as important, Justin Cobbs found his shooting touch to contribute 21 points, 8 for 14 from the field. Down the stretch, Bak Bak made not only a key bucket on a nice cut, he also sank two pivotal free throws for 6 points (all of the bench points for Cal this game) in just 6 minutes.
Bears had more turnovers (13 to 9), more fouls (17 to 12), and allowed more offensive boards (10 to 4) but won where it really matters. Of course, the Wildcats only got more offensive boards because they had more misses.
Despite being down by 5 at the half (the game was fairly even in the first half), the Bears start making a run in the second half, keyed by switching to zone defensively. Zona cannot make any shot to start the second half against the Bears' zone. Bears, lead by Crabbe, went on a 17-2 run to start the second half.
The notoriously slow starting Wildcats (particularly at home) did make a run to keep things close. High difficulty shots made by Crabbe, Cobbs, and key contributions by Bak (after Richard Solomon got in foul trouble) kept the Bears ahead.
Arizona star Solomon Hill contributed 13 points but only 4 boards. Guard Mark Lyon with 4 3's lead them in scoring with 16 points. Forward Brandon Ashley has a near double double with 12 points and 9 rebounds.
With a strong second half against ASU on Thursday and the huge win today against Arizona, the Bears return home to face a tough UCLA squad on Thursday. With all the crazy upsets in college basketball this season, it's tough to gauge the actual impact of tonight's win right now. Nevertheless, if the Bears can continue the solid play of the last two weeks, I am intrigued by what the Bears can do comes the Pac-12 tournament and the post season.
Mike Montgomery Postgame Interview:
And it's Chart Time:
Four Factors of Winning - look at how well the Bears shot in this game:
Cal Graphical Box Score:
Arizona Graphical Box Score: