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Cal Plays Half Of Offense, Half Of Defense, Loses

Colorado's offense has their way through most of the game, sending Cal back below .500 in the Pac-12.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

When you consider certain facts, it seems very odd that Cal lost to Colorado. Andre Roberson picked up two fouls and sat for 18 minutes in the first half. Cal scored fifty three points in the 2nd half. Colorado turned the ball over twenty times.

Those three sentences are all entirely true. And yet Cal spent the entire final 29 minutes of the game trailing by 8 points or more. It was never much of a game, and even when Cal started scoring you didn't get the sense that they could get back into the game.

In his post-game comments, Monty wasn't particularly happy with anything Cal did on offense in the first half, focusing on shot selection and ball movement. Beyond that, Cal just couldn't make a shot. Cal made only seven shots, and two of those shots were uncontested fast break layups. 20% shooting put Cal in a 16 point hole at halftime.

When Cal came out for the 2nd half, they immediately put their frigid 1st half behind them with a quick 7-0 run . . . and proved it even further by allowing Colorado to shoot 71% from the field for the rest of the half. Four different Buffs finished with 15 points or more in an unrelenting offensive show.

After such a Jekyll-and-Hyde performance, I hardly know what to say about the game. Should I praise Cal's first half defense and 2nd half offense? Bemoan the first half offense and 2nd half defense? Throw up my arms in confusion and starting thinking about the Oregon schools?

Cal's 2nd half offensive showing is encouraging, in part because it's the first time both Allen Crabbe and Justin Cobbs were firing on all cylinders at the same time since . . . the Pacific game? Let's just say it's been a while.


Yeah, that's pretty ugly. Cal at least controlled the defensive glass, although Colorado shot 60% from the field so it's not like they needed to rebound many missed shots.

I would like to point out that of Colorado's 20 turnovers, 16 were Cal steals. This is after Cal managed 16 steals against Utah. Last Thursday I chalked that up mostly to bad Utah passing, in part because Cal has never forced many turnovers under Monty. Perhaps he's changed something up to take advantage of Cal's relative length. At the very least it's something to monitor for the rest of the season.

Meanwhile, we're still waiting to see Cal put together a complete game against a team better than Denver. They'll get another chance next week when Pac-12 leading Oregon visits. But time is certainly running out for such a win to mean much.