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Southern Miss 80, Cal 78: Golden Bears Beat Themselves

I know the gripes will be about the horrid officiating (53 fouls in all!) but they benefited both teams about equally. The Golden Bears got more free throws (especially in the second half), but they missed 8 free throws, including two down the stretch.  The real death of Cal today was rebounding. Southern Miss had 13 more rebounds and 16 more shots. Sorry, but you're not going to win basketball games if you give the other team extra possessions. Turnovers also killed them; Harper Kamp turned over the ball once and Brandon Smith twice in the final two minutes, as Cal blew a six point lead in just over a minute. Jorge Gutierrez and Allen Crabbe missed a free throw apiece in the final minute that kept the Bears from being ahead rather than giving Southern Miss the last possession--the unstoppable Gary Flowers ended up nailing the game winner over poor Gutierrez. Oh, the little things.

Kamp had 20 points (7 of 7 shooting, 6 of 6 from the stripe) but got abused on the other end by the dribble-drive motion of Flowers (28 points, 10 of 16 shooting) and eventually fouled out; Flowers eventually hit the game-winner. Gary Franklin was getting better looks, but his struggles with his shot continued (1 of 8 from the field). Gutierrez and  Smith had 14 assists but made only two combined field goals. Thank goodness Sir Nigel Carter was nailing everything (four for four from downtown), because Cal was having trouble generating offense from anywhere else when Kamp was on the bench.

Growing pains are painful.

Here are some questions to ponder until tomorrow's more official recap. Fill in any of the blanks as you so choose!

1. Best player of the game was ___________________ because ____________________.

2. My favorite play of the game was __________________.

3. What Cal needs to improve the most between this game and next  is ___________________.

4. Tell us one thing you learned after this game.

5. Post an image that best describes your reaction to this game.