Nov. 27, 2011
No. 20 California (5-1) vs. McNeese State (3-2)
Haas Pavilion | Berkeley, Calif.
Monday, Nov. 28 - 7:30 p.m. PT
Series Record: First meeting
Radio: KNEW 910AM (Roxy Bernstein and Todd McKim)
TV/Web: CalBears.com All-Access
Opponent Web: www.McNeeseSports.com
BERKELEY - The Golden Bears can finish the month of November with a 6-1 mark with a win over McNeese State on Monday evening. Cal can also match its best start under head coach Mike Montgomery at 6-1, which it also did to open the 2008-09 season; Montgomery's first on campus.
After suffering their first loss of the season, the Bears returned home to Haas Pavilion and promptly returned to form with a convincing 80-59 win over Denver. Cal never trailed the Pioneers, and held at least a 20-point advantage in a game for the fifth time, this season. In the win, the Bears made 19-of-22 free throws and now lead the Pac-12 in free throw percentage (.772). Cal has also been crashing the boards with purpose, this season and rank second in the conference in rebound margin at a plus-10.7 per game clip.
Justin Cobbs powered the Bears to the win with a career-best 22-point outing and climbed into the league's top 25 in scoring (11.5 ppg, 24th). He joins Allen Crabbe (13.3 ppg, 16th) and Jorge Gutierrez (12.7 ppg, 19th). On the boards, senior F Harper Kamp ranks 12th in the Pac-12 with 6.2 rpg. Richard Solomon leads the Bears with 6.8 rpg (7th, Pac-12).
McNeese State's visit to Haas Pavilion marks the third time this season that Cal will face an opponent for the first time (Austin Peay, George Washington). The Cowboys are defending Southland Conference champions and arrive in the Bay Area with a two-game winning streak. Senior F Patrick Richard (15.2 ppg and 6.0 rpg) helped McNeese climb out of a 17-point ditch to defeat Sacramento State, 68-63, and give head coach Dave Simmons his 100th career victory.
In four games at Haas Pavilion, Cal has held opponents to 89-of-225 shooting from the field (39.6%) and 56.0 ppg. The comforts of home helped Cal commit a season-low 13 turnovers just one game after turning the ball over a season-high 21 times against Missouri. As comforting as home has been, the Bears have not been hospitable hosts with a 21.5 ppg margin of victory.
GAME RECAP (DENVER): The Golden Bears returned home and returned to form with a dominating 80-59 victory over Denver. Cal shot 52 percent from the field and knocked down nine three-pointers (14 attempts) to secure the 21-point win. Sophomore G Justin Cobbs led the way with a career-high 22 points to go with three rebounds and two assists. Sophomore G Allen Crabbe also enjoyed a career evening as he notched his second-career double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. The 10 boards also tied his previous career high. Five Bears scored in double figures as senior F Harper Kamp, senior G Jorge Gutierrez, and junior G Brandon Smith each tallied 11 points. Kamp led the Bears with five assists to match his previous career high. Sophomore F Richard Solomon added six points and seven rebounds to go with a game-high three blocks. Denver sophomore F Chris Udofia led the Pioneers with nine points and a game-high six assists, but shot 3-11 from the field. Cal held Denver without a field goal for the first six minutes of the game and led by as many as 30 points. The Bears have now held at least a 20-point advantage in five of their first six games and improved to 24-3 in non-conference home games under head coach Mike Montgomery.
THE BIG DRIVE: Cal's Bear Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) is sponsoring its annual canned food drive against Stanford--more commonly known as The Big Drive--a competitive food drive between Stanford's and Cal's Athletic Departments. The 2011 Big Drive will take place throughout the month of November and all collected items will be donated to Alameda County Food Bank. Cal student-athletes will be collecting non-perishable food items at the Bears' home games against Denver (Nov. 26) and McNeese State (Nov. 28).