GAME NOTES: Mike Montgomery seeks his 100th victory at the helm of the California Golden Bears, as his team plays host to the Oregon State Beavers on Thursday night in a Pac-12 affair.
The Golden Bears failed to secure that milestone win for Montgomery this past weekend, falling at Colorado, 81-71. The loss was the second in the last two games for California, which now sits at 11-8 overall, but just 3-4 in league play. Haas Pavilion has not provided Cal with a safe haven either this season, with the team sporting a rather lackluster 5-4 mark at home.
It remains to be seen whether or not Oregon State can take advantage, as the Beavers haven't exactly flourished in-conference or on the road this year. Craig Robinson's squad is just 1-3 away from home, but more concerning is the team's miserable 1-6 Pac-12 record. OSU was able to secure its first league victory last week at home against Washington (71-68), ending a five-game skid, but found its way back into the loss column three days later against Washington State (71-68).
This marks the 140th meeting in this series, with California holding a 78-61 advantage, including a 40-24 edge in Berkeley. The teams split the season series a year ago, with both winning on their home floors.
Oregon State connected on five 3-pointers in the first half and took a 33-29 lead into halftime against Washington State, but was unable to hold the lead in a 3-point loss. Ahmad Starks had a strong outing, posting 17 points and eight assists. Roberto Nelson and Devon Collier added 14 points apiece for OSU, but the team was dominated by the Cougars on the glass (39-27), getting outscored in second-chance points, 14-6.
On the season, Oregon State has been a solid offensive squad, averaging 74.2 ppg, on a healthy .455 shooting. The team has scoring depth, despite the early loss of Angus Brandt (11.3 ppg, 8.5 rpg). Nelson leads a slew of other double- figure scorers with 16.0 ppg. Collier is next in line at 14.5 ppg, followed by Starks (12.1 ppg), Joe Burton (10.8 ppg) and Eric Moreland (10.2 ppg). A 6-10 sophomore, Moreland has been a force on the glass, hauling in 10.6 rebounds per game (second in the Pac-12, 11th nationally).
California lacks the offensive depth that Oregon State possesses, but the Golden Bears do lean heavily on the scoring exploits of both Allen Crabbe and Justin Cobbs. Crabbe currently leads the Pac-12 in scoring at an even 20.0 ppg. Cobbs pours in 14.7 ppg and is the team's top distributor (4.2 apg). The scoring pool dries up fast after that however, as Richard Solomon is the third highest scorer on the team but at a mere 7.9 ppg.
A slow first half did in the Golden Bears against Colorado this past weekend in Boulder. Crabbe and Cobbs once again shouldered the bulk of the scoring burden, combining for 43 points in the loss. Cobbs was 10-of-20 from the floor and led the team with 22 points. Crabbe poured in 21 points, but the remainder of the roster accounted for just 28 points. Cal did force the Buffaloes into 20 turnovers and recorded 16 steals. The Bears scored 53 points in the second half, but it could not offset an 18-point first half.
Crabbe and Cobbs will keep California in most games, despite the lack of a bona fide third scoring option. Oregon State on the other hand has a slew of contributors, but needs to be wary of its play at the other end of the floor if it wants to end its Pac-12 slate with some success.
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