Dec. 16, 2011
BERKELEY (AP) - Jorge Gutierrez routinely draws the toughest defensive assignments for California. Rarely has he failed to deliver.
Not even the nation's leading scorer, Weber State's Damian Lillard, could get loose against Gutierrez.
Lillard was held to a season-low 14 points on 4 of 17 shooting while Gutierrez backed his stellar defense with 24 points to help lead Cal to a 77-57 win on Friday night.
"Jorge's just a good defender and he takes it personally," Bears coach Mike Montgomery said. "Lillard's a real good player and he needs a little space to shoot the ball and Jorge typically is not going to give you a lot of space to shoot. The thing I was a little concerned about was that he was going to get too amped up."
No worry there.
Gutierrez only lost his cool once, in the second half when he and Lillard jawed at each other and were called for a double-technical foul.
Beyond that, it was all business for the Cal's designated shutdown defender.
"Everybody contributed to slowing (Lillard) down," Gutierrez said. "We knew we couldn't stop him because he's a great player but everybody contributed to making an impact on defense against him."
Allen Crabbe added 16 points and six rebounds while Richard Solomon and Harper Kamp had 11 apiece for the Golden Bears (9-2), who have won three straight and five of six. Cal also remained unbeaten at home and has outscored its last three opponents at Haas Pavilion by an average of 30.6 points.
Lillard, who grew up and went to high school in nearby Oakland, entered the game averaging 26.9 points a game but couldn't get loose against Gutierrez despite playing in front of several family members and friends.
It was a frustrating night all around for Lillard, who went 3 for 10 on 3-pointers, shot two air balls and also missed a dunk.
Scott Bamforth had 19 points and tried to pick up the scoring slack, making four of his five 3s in the second half, but the Wildcats (6-3) couldn't get closer than eight points.
Weber State was within 44-36 with 14 minutes left to play before Cal went on a 20-5 run.
"I don't think we ever totally got an offensive rhythm going," Montgomery said. "Once we got going, we could get what we wanted to get and then we got back to playing some defense and we stretched it out."
After things got chippy between Gutierrez and Lillard, Gutierrez responded with a short jumper on Cal's ensuing possession, then forced Lillard into an air ball _ his second of the game _ two minutes later.
Gutierrez later scored cutting across the baseline on a pass from Justin Cobbs then added a 3-pointer to give the Bears a 54-38 lead that was never challenged.
The Bears, whose only losses this season have been to San Diego State and No. 10 Missouri, have two games left before getting started in the Pac-12.
Kyle Tresnak added 14 points and Byron Fulton had 13 points and eight rebounds for Weber State, which also has two nonconference games left before opening Big Sky Conference play at home against Idaho State on Dec. 29.
Gutierrez gave Cal a boost with his second-highest scoring total this year, 18 of his points coming in the second half.
But it was Gutierrez's work against Lillard that made the difference early. Cal's shutdown defender fought through Weber State's repeated screen attempts and forced Lillard to miss nine of his first 10 shots.
The Bears rode their defense to a 14-point lead before intermission, holding the Wildcats to a season-low 18 points in the first half.
Weber State attempted a season-high 31 3-pointers, making 12 for a 39 percent success rate.