Some people might be reading this site to learn more about what's going on in the photo above. But not me. Me, I'm a big fan of corporate sponsorship! And, in specific, the new and interesting ways that various corporations can try to make their advertisements seem less odious than others. That's why I was ever so excited to see that the Odwalla Race that keeps our marching band from playing songs at the football game IS AT THE BASKETBALL GAMES, TOO. Yay! Let's go delicious Mango!
And yes, I know that the Athletic Department needs as much money as it can get and yes I know that it is a necessarily evil. Doesn't mean I have to like it? Unless Orange wins! Then, all bets are off! But I can't really set up an entire post based solely on the Odwalla corporations promotional consideration at the Cal-OSU basketball game. I guess I should talk about the game, too. I guess. After the fold, check out the information on the game itself. GO BEARS!
Oddly enough, before the game started, it was sunny, but cold. A reprieve from the week's rains that lashed the Bay Area. Or so I thought. As I waited outside Haas for my friends to show up (with the tickets), a random rainstorm just blew in our of nowhere. On one side, it'd be blue skies with clouds. On the other side of Haas, it was coming down, somewhat hard. So random.
When I got into Haas, they were finishing up the introductions and just tipping off. Our seats were on the far side of the Court, away from the band, which means OSU was driving against us in the first half. OSU has a style of play designed to slow down the game, while Cal has a style of play designed to speed up the game. So, if it's a high scoring game, that benefits Cal. If it is a low scoring game, that tends to benefit OSU.
Now, I'm not CBKWit, Avinash, or Ragnarok when it comes to breaking down basketball. Nor am I a HydroTech, even! It seemed to me that the pace of the game was the slower pace that benefited OSU. Considering that OSU was tied with Cal at half, that certainly seemed to be the case. Cal definitely had some trouble penetrating that defense, but also was just missing some wide open shots. Here are some photos from the first half:
Max Zhang never saw the floor. Jorge Gutierrez there on the right also saw limited action. It seemed as if there are many injury problems here with Jorge, Theo Robertson, and Jerome Randle all limited. Unfortunately, Cal doesn't have the greatest depth. It did give players like Brandon Smith opportunities to get more playing time, though.
There was a lot of Markhuri Sanders-Frison. Here, you can see him with, ahem, textbook D.
So, at half, it was tied. Given our 4,000 point blowout over Oregon, I think many fans expected that Cal would have a moderately healthy lead. Somewhat frustrating, but, OSU did beat us twice last year. So, it's not like anybody is taking anything lightly here.
Of course, they had the usual children's game. Not much to report there, but with like 1 second left, one of the kids threw up a half court shot that NAILED IT! Considering that was like 25% of the scoring in that game, the crowd was ballistic! More excitement than for most of the game, really.
The second half started and Cal extended its lead. At one point, I think we had a lead of about 12 points. To do this, Cal played the fast tempo game it was looking for. It was strong defense and fast breaks that really broke the game open. Also, we started actually converting a lot of the open looks. Theo, who had missed large chunks of the first half, was instrumental in this second half burst.
Unfortunately, whether it was complacency or just returning to the mean, OSU managed to catch back up in the tail end of the second part. They never actually led (or I believe even tied), but made it extraordinarily scary. I remember turning to a friend of mine with about 8 minutes left, saying "I know that as Cal fans, we assume we'll blow this lead, but OSU isn't exactly an offensive powerhouse." After that, I think OSU went on a 75-0 run to make me want to shoot myself in the head.
Randle seemed to play incredibly loose with the ball in the tail end of the game. There were a few points where we had to just hold the ball and take time off of the clock and Randle would attempt a long-distance pass that went to the Beavers. He is a great player, no doubt, but it is frustrating things like that that seem to crop up from time to time. Made the game a little scarier than it probably needed to be. However, in the end, his positive plays seem to me to far outweigh his negative plays.
The end was essentially what you'd expect. OSU fouls Cal players. Thankfully, Cal is getting the ball into the hands of the good free throw shooters, like Randle. OSU was hitting its shots, too, to keep pace. And Theo hit a HUGE 3 to keep the team afloat. All in all, a very tense final few minutes in what many Cal fans were hoping would be a healthy Cal victory. Certainly, frustrating, but these days, a win is a win is a win is a win is a win. Here are some photos from the second half. Enjoy!
This play was called for an offensive foul on the Cal player. Very frustrating call.
As we were leaving, I saw some of what I can only assume are the Cal baseball players practicing. Just a few more months! GO BEARS!