Bears Begin Pac-10 Play with Loss

Cal allowed rival Stanford to shoot 72 percent in the second half in the teams' Pac-10 opener, and the result was a predictable 82-68 defeat...

The California Golden Bears understand their offense isn't ready for prime time. So when their defense abandons them, it's trouble.

Cal allowed rival Stanford to shoot 72 percent in the second half in the teams' Pac-10 opener, and the result was a predictable 82-68 defeat.

"We can't give up 82 points and expect to win," Cal coach Mike Montgomery said.

The Bears will need to tighten the bolt in their next game at Arizona, which will be smarting after a loss at Oregon State and eager to take it out on someone.

Cal, which has shot the ball poorly much of the season, actually converted 51 percent from the field against the Cardinal. It was just the fourth time in 13 games the Bears made at least half their attempts.

But 16 turnovers and non-existent defense were their undoing.

"We've been a team that's prided ourselves on defense," junior forward Harper Kamp said. "We just didn't show up today."

The Bears appeared a step slow, an inch short and a tad bit less athletic than Stanford. It's going to be a problem, especially if senior center Markhuri Sanders-Frison continues to battle foul problems.

When he goes out, the Bears answer with either Bak Bak or Richard Solomon, both young, erratic and short on muscle.

NOTES & QUOTES

  • Coach Mike Montgomery is now 3-2 against his old school, Stanford, including 1-2 at Maples Pavilion.

  • The Bears strayed from their usual man-to-man defense against Stanford, playing some 2-3 zone and even a box-and-one alignment against Cardinal guard Jeremy Green. Nothing worked -- he had 21 points.

  • Cal surrendered 18 points off its 16 turnovers against Stanford, and its bench was outscored 21-19.

    BY THE NUMBERS: 5 -- Times senior C Markhuri Sanders-Frison had fouled out this season through Jan. 2.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "We just couldn't get stops. They kind of had their way with us." -- Cal coach Mike Montgomery after watching Stanford score 44 second-half points.

    STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

    THIS WEEK'S GAMES:

    at Arizona, Jan. 6

    KEY MATCHUPS: Arizona sophomore F Derrick Williams is a difficult matchup for most teams, but Cal's frontcourt players may have trouble matching his quickness. Williams had 32 points and 17 rebounds in two games against the Bears last year, and he is adept of drawing fouls and getting to the free-throw line.

    at Arizona State, Jan. 8

    KEY MATCHUPS: The Bears celebrated clinching a tie for their first Pac-10 title in 50 seasons with their home victory over Arizona State a year ago. They put the defensive clamps on the combo of Ty Abbott and Rihards Kuksiks in that one, limiting the pair to 10 points on 5-for-20 shooting. But Abbott has often been a thorn in Cal's side, including a 20-point game at Tempe last year, and a 30-point outburst in 2008 when Abbott was a freshman.

    FUTURES MARKET: Perhaps freshman G Gary Franklin will get another shot at the starting lineup. He scored 15 points -- his best game in more than a month -- and had four assists in the loss to Stanford. He entered the game shooting 27 percent from the 3-point arc and made four of seven. Coach Mike Montgomery said Franklin wasn't demoted from the starting group because he's not a good player, but that he needed a change of pace, perhaps something that would ease the pressure. Maybe it worked. "I tried to shoot in the flow of the game. It definitely gives me a lot of confidence," Franklin said.

    PLAYER NOTES

  • Junior F Harper Kamp scored 16 points against Stanford but was at times helpless to stop Cardinal freshman Dwight Powell, who had a career-high 20 points.

  • Sophomore PG Brandon Smith, after scoring a career-high 15 points in his first career start vs. Hartford, had just one point, one assist and two turnovers in 14 tepid minutes against the Cardinal.

  • Junior G Jorge Gutierrez had 11 points and eight assists vs. Stanford, but he shot only 4-for-11 and turned the ball over four times. It was his fifth consecutive game with at least three turnovers.

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