Cal again shows its dominance at home

Jorge Gutierrez helps Cal to a 41-31 rebounding advantage against Stanford in a 69-59 win.

BERKELEY, Calif. – There's no place like home.

The Pac-12 seems to be taking that quite literally this season, with the home team posting a .722 winning percentage (39-15) in conference games this season.

And then there's California, which improved to 14-0 in the friendly confines of Haas Pavilion with its 69-59 win over Stanford on Sunday night in front of a capacity crowd of 11,817.

"Well the crowd was like I remembered it when I used to come over before," Cal head coach Mike Montgomery said of the sellout, its first since a February 2010 game against Arizona State in which the Golden Bears clinched the Pac-10 championship. "There's something to that."

"It was a great environment for us and I don't think I've ever seen the gym that way. I've been here three years and that is probably the first time I've seen a game that packed," guard Jorge Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez had a career-high 12 rebounds, helping Cal (17-5, 7-2 Pac-12) to a 41-31 advantage on the glass.

"The ball wasn't going in for me so I thought about doing something else to help the team win," said Gutierrez, who added 11 points for his second career double-double.

"Jorge was critical in that," Montgomery said. "To outrebound them, in fact be up 10 is pretty incredible. I was pleased with that."

Stanford (15-6, 5-4) came into the weekend with the second-best rebounding margin in the conference, but was done in by an 11-4 disparity on the offensive boards.

Two came during a 5:38 stretch late in the second half as Cal extended its lead with a 12-3 run. Harper Kamp rebounded a missed Robert Thurman free throw that let to a lay-up by the senior forward, who finished with 15 points, while Crabbe later tipped in an errant Justin Cobbs put back to push the advantage to 10.

"That was the deciding factor for us," said Stanford forward Stefan Nastic, who scored 11 points off the bench. "We are a great rebounding team, but we have to show that every game. We had a bit of a let up late in the game."

Guard Allen Crabbe scored a game-high 18 points for Cal, which has now won four straight games against Stanford at home, its longest streak since the 1968-72 seasons.

Cal finds itself tied with Washington atop the standings at the halfway point of conference play, each with four home games left. However, there are seven teams within two games of first place.

"Everybody is trying to separate," Montgomery said. "It's not happening very much. We have to win at home and we did. We have to continue to win at home."

While the regular season ends March 4 at Maples Pavilion, Gutierrez made it clear Cal wants to do more that sweep its Bay Area foe.

"I don't think it's a rivalry," Gutierrez said of Stanford. "Whoever steps on the top is our rival. We want to end up in first."


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