What a week for Oregon State Coach Craig Robinson! Tuesday, you watch your brother-in-law, Barack Obama, sworn in as the 44th President of the United States and then on Thursday coach your team to an upset, in conference, road win.
Halfway through the first half the Beavers switched to a half court zone trap defensive set that gave California fits all evening and led to a 69-65 win.
Cal came into Thursday night's game looking to rebound from a tough road loss to Stanford last weekend. Instead, the Bears played a sloppy offensive game with way too many turnovers that kept OSU in the game the whole way.
Cal seemed to have no answers for this trapping zone defense. Poor passing and a lack of lane penetration made it almost impossible for the Bears to get into any offensive rhythm.
Timely 3-point shooting for Patrick Christopher and Jerome Randle gave the Golden Bears double-digit leads in the first and second half. Christopher rebounded from a poor game against the Cardinal to knock down four 3-pointers on his way to 15 points and four rebounds.
Randle, who left the game with 2:49 left with an apparent hip injury but was back less that a minute later, improved on his recent poor play and scored a team high 20 points.
Bear Head Coach Mike Montgomery has a real problem on his hands.
Other than Jerome Randle and even he can be careless with the ball at times, no one in Cal's current rotation seems to be comfortable as a ball handler.
"We were not very comfortable against the 1-3-1," said Montgomery. "I'm just really upset, there's really no excuse for this. We just don't attack, we're afraid to attack. We just get very passive. They were a big zone, you've got throw diagonally across the thing, and we just got very tentative."
Gutierrez and Theo Robertson seemed to be especially lost as to how to handle the Beavers D. Coach Montgomery went on to say that the team practiced for this zone all week. It really didn't look as if they did.
Even after the break, Cal never attacked the zone, which is the way to defeat it and struggled on offense all night because of it.
The Beavers led the way with some bombs from downtown courtesy of guard Calvin Haynes and center Roeland Schaftenaar, who used the pick-and-pop play to no end down the stretch. One would set screens for the other, and instead of going towards the basket, they would pop out for a quick three.
Montgomery seems to believe they prepared sufficiently for what they would see Thursday night. His players just didn't execute.
"Calvin Haynes just pretty much had his way with us," said Montgomery. And he got a basket late to his left hand that was the nail in the coffin, and we showed them that 15 times [in practice]. Roeland Scahftenaar looked like an All-American... every time we made a mistake; he stepped off and hit it."
Up next for the Golden Bears is Oregon in a Saturday night contest at Haas.
©Copyright 2009, CalSportsDigest.com and Scout.com. All rights reserved.