A career-high 29 points for Patrick Christopher helps tip the USC Trojans in overtime, and while he was money shooting the ball all night, the last two were the best. Up by just a point and knowing that the Trojans would do everything they could to keep the inbounds pass away from Jerome Randle, Cal puts Patrick Christopher on the baseline to inbound the ball. P-Chris waits for an SC defender to turn his back, and then surprises EVERYONE by bouncing the ball of the defenders' back and grabbing the inbound pass himself! Absolutely amazing. Christopher then kills 5 more seconds dribbling the ball around, nails both free throws, and the Bears survive the Trojans' furious comeback.
Despite the Bears' hot shooting in the first half, they never were able to pull away from USC, as they got burned over and over again by Daniel Hackett's shooting and Taj Gibson in the low post. Cal led by as many as 11 in the second half, but USC stormed back ("Inspired" by Tim Floyd's technical temper tantrum, according to the announcers), and though they couldn't put the Bears away, they seemed to have all the momentum heading into overtime. Crazy as it seems, the Bears may not have even survived that long without the two free throws from Floyd's technical foul.
But in the overtime, everything came up Bears. Randle missed a layup on the Bears' first possession, but then Cal would score on every subsequent possession on OT, surviving some clutch shooting by Daniel Hackett and a dumb foul by Boykin (up 5, less than 30 to play, LET THEM HAVE THE TWO!) to pull out the victory.
A couple thoughts:
• How good would the Bears be if they could rebound the ball?
• How good would USC be if they could make free throws?
• Love the intensity by Jorge, love the clutch OT free throws, still accepting some of the dumb decisions he sometimes makes.
• Harper Kamp barely dents the box score, but I love his game. Think what he can be with healthy knees and another year of Monty as coach?
• Is there anywhere within 40 feet of the basket where Jerome Randle can't hit a shot?
Patrick Christopher is your MVP of this intense, thrilling, knock-down drag-out battle of two teams with everything on the line. The Bears are pretty much a lock to go dancing this year, but the big prize is still out there to be had: a Pac-10 title. GO BEARS!