Feb. 4, 2012
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) - California coach Mike Montgomery hates discussing injuries so he decided to have a little fun with reporters after the Golden Bears leading scorer Allen Crabbe limped off the court in the second half with a right ankle injury.
"Out for a couple months probably, career-(ending) maybe," Montgomery said.
He was joking, of course.
Still, there was somewhat of uneasy feeling in Haas Pavilion when Crabbe went to the bench with more than nine minutes to play in Saturday's 68-47 win over Arizona State.
Crabbe, Cal's leading scorer and the conference freshman of the year in 2011, was hurt while diving to the floor for a loose ball. He was taken to the locker room with 14:37 remaining then returned and made a 3-pointer to give the Bears a 56-28 lead before sitting out the final nine minutes.
It came four days after Crabbe was forced to sit out practice because of an unknown injury to the same foot. He wore a protective boot on Tuesday but looked fine until Arizona State's 7-foot-2 center Jordan Bochynski rolled over his legs when the two dove on the floor for the ball.
Crabbe finished with a game-high 19 points but had to be taken for X-rays after the game and was unavailable for comment.
Montgomery, as is his custom, downplayed the severity of the injury.
"If I was concerned I would have had a really lengthy explanation," Montgomery said. "It's basketball. Stuff's going to happen."
Jorge Gutierrez added 10 points and five rebounds for the Golden Bears (18-6, 8-3 Pac 12), who bounced back with a convincing win two days after being knocked out of first place in the conference.
Kyle Cain scored 18 points and had nine rebounds for Arizona State (7-16, 3-8), which has lost 11 of 14.
Cal blew an early 13-point lead against Arizona on Thursday but didn't have any problem closing out Arizona State.
The Bears led by 18 at halftime then opened a 61-30 lead late in second half before Montgomery emptied his bench.
They won their fifth straight against the Sun Devils despite being limited to only five offensive rebounds and getting outrebounded 34-24 overall by the Sun Devils.
"We came out with more energy tonight and were more aggressive," said guard Justin Cobbs, who had eight points. "We just wanted to get some pressure on them on defense. We wanted to start the offense a little higher than usual and we did that."
It was a frustrating afternoon all around for Arizona State, which has lost five straight to Cal. Coach Herb Sendek picked up a technical foul less than four minutes into the game, and the rest of the afternoon didn't get much better.
Arizona State shot just 38.3 percent--including 2 of 15 on 3-pointers--and committed 20 turnovers.
Sendek, the Pac-12's coach of the year in 2010, calmed down but by then the Sun Devils were already trailing by double digits and on the way to their sixth straight road loss. It was also their sixth straight game overall without leading scorer Trent Lockett (ankle).
"The last two road trips have been very difficult for us," Sendek said. "Suffice it to say, we are struggling on offense in many ways, from making open shots to not turning the ball over."
The Bears never trailed and led by as much as 31.
Two days after being held to 15 points on 4 of 14 shooting in a loss to Arizona that knocked Cal out of first place in the Pac-12, Crabbe bounced back nicely to spark the Bears. He had 14 points in the first half and finished 5 of 10 from the floor after getting hurt.
Crabbe's teammate, Harper Kamp, also had to be taken for X-rays.
Kamp appeared to suffer a dislocated finger in the first half but stayed in the game.
Cal's hopes for staying in the Pac-12 title race would diminish significantly if one or both of the two is sidelined very long, though Montgomery didn't sound very concerned about either player missing any playing time.