For the first time since the 2005-2006 season the Golden Bears have opened the Pac 10 schedule 2-0. "This just means we did a nice job, we held homecourt," said Head Coach Mike Montgomery, with his usual reserved optimism.
"We want to compete every night out. We're goiung to take our chances. We had to see if we could compete, and I think we can if we do the things we did tonight".
Jerome Randle was again the scoring leader as he led Cal to an 81-71 victory over No. 14 Arizona St; their first win against a ranked opponent this season. Randle's season-high 26 points was highlighted by a four-point play late in the game, when Ty Abbott fouled him from way behind the arc. The made free throw that followed gave The Bears a six-point lead.
As exciting as that was, it was due to more than highlight reel plays but by the play of the Cal bench. Star ASU guard James Harden scored a team-high 26 points but only two of them in the final six minutes of play. No one was more responsible for that scoring drought than freshman guard Jorge Gutierrez.
He smothered Harden every time he touched the ball. That defensive intensity is the exact reason why Coach Mike Montgomery made him the first recruit he signed once he took over the program.
"I thought Jorge did a really nice job of going in and playing against Harden," said Montgomery. "You've got a freshman out there just kind of guttin' up, at least cause some problems. At least we made him have to take 22 shots to get his points."
Also off the bench, Harper Kamp made a very big impact. The Arizona native, who almost went to Arizona St., only chipped in six points but his impact was felt much more on the defensive end. He had six rebounds and two blocks, including an emphatic one in the second half that landed in the front row, were key to holding of the Sun Devils.
Patrick Christopher continues to show that he can create his own shots and be counted on down the stretch. His outside shot opens up his inside game, and it was potent down the stretch. He added 20 points on 9-of-16 shooting.
This win means even more considering that ASU had won eight in a row including a 30-point thrashing of Stanford. Cal next plays at Washington State.
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