With one major exception (the Cal debut of sophomore Missouri transfer Ricky Kreklow), the Cal Golden Bears(2-0) basically had a repeat performance as the opener, similar positives and negatives, in defeating the Pepperdine Waves 79-62 on Tuesday night at Haas Pavilion.
Like Sunday's victory, the Bears jumped out to an early lead 27-17 behind the strong guard plays from Allen Crabbe and Justin Cobbs (5 for his first 5 in route to 23 points). Pepperdine did pose more trouble tonight than Cal State - Bakersfield did in the opener, however, cutting the lead to one early in the second half. From that point on, however, Allen Crabbe took over the game by scoring 7 points (of his team and career high 31) during a 14-4 Cal run to help the Bears pull away.
Other than Allen Crabbe's stellar scoring, the story of the night is the Cal debut of sophomore wing Ricky Kreklow. After missing the opener due to a right foot injury that required surgery, the Missouri transfer made a quicker return than the original estimate and injected his energy to make an instant difference in the game. In the 9 minute of floor time in the first half alone, Kreklow had 3 board, a 3 made, a steal, and a key assist to Crabbe at the end of the first half that Coach Mike Montgomery credited for Crabbe's big second half. On playing with Kreklow, Allen Crabbe said (from Ryan Gorcey's twitter), "I knew I was always going to be happy playing with Ricky, but after tonight, man, it’s exciting." Kreklow finished the night with 3 points, 4 boards, 2 assists, and 3 steals in 17 minutes.
On the concerning side of things, the Bears allowed 9 offensive rebounds to an undersized Pepperdine team. David Kravish was not able to use his size advantage offensively, going 0 for 7 for the game to go along with 7 boards and a block. Richard Solomon had a little bit more success with 6 points and 6 boards. Perhaps due to a little bit of foul trouble, the Cal bigs were rather soft at times for the 3rd straight game (including the exhibition). With all the excitement toward the Bears' great play from the wings (between Crabbe, Cobbs, Kreklow, and the developing Tyrone Wallace), the on going inferior play from the Cal bigs (Kravish, Solomon, and behind them Robert Thurman, Bak Bak) may ultimately limit how good this team can be. "We’ve got to get our bigs to start finishing around the basket better." said Coach Montgomery (again from Ryan Gorcey's twitter) since the Cal bigs have had trouble with getting the ball knocked away from the smaller opponents.
The Waves' Stacy Davis had 13 points and 7 boards to lead Pepperdine (0-2).
With his 4 3-pointers made (out of 7 attempts), Allen Crabbe has now tied Randy Duck for 8th all time for 3 pointers made in Cal history with 153 (Jerome Randle is first on the list with 252).
With this non-conference home victory, Bears are now 31-3 under Coach Montgomery in non-conference home games (honestly I can't recall a win over a great opponent in that stretch).
Game recap in Charts:
The 4 factors are:
More Kreklow: Ricky Kreklow apparently can hit some trick shots (this video was apparently for a class)
Post game interviews:
Crabbe and Kreklow:
Basketball hall of famer, Isiah Thomas, not the guy who used to play at U-Dub and now the Sacramento Kings, is a current Cal master student in education. He was shown in the broadcast all decked out in Cal gear. I'm not sure how many more Cal games he would attend but that would be a nice person to run into at a game.
Back when I was a student, the biggest basketball celebrity that I have seen outside of Cal alumni (Jason Kidd on his number retirement and Sean Lampley) was Carmelo Anthony (cheering for Arizona for no good reason) and Pat Riley (scouting a game right behind the bench). For Pat Riley, I only noticed him because he was wearing this huge championship ring from his Lakers day that literally blinded me by reflecting some stadium light directly into my eyes.
NEXT UP FOR THE BEARS: The Bears hit the road with a trip to Denver on Friday before the tournament in Anaheim next week.