Christopher's Defense Sets Tone

When you look at the official stat sheet of the Bears' 76-69 win over Oregon, you won't immediately be blown away by the number line put up by junior guard Patrick Christopher. His 13 points, two rebounds, and three assists were nowhere near game highs. Furthermore, the player he was defending—Oregon guard Tajuan Porter—scored an impressive 26 points on nine field goals…

However, if you watched the contest, you saw how big of an impact that Patrick Christopher had in securing the Bears' fifth win in Pac-10 play.

For much of the game, Christopher was assigned to guard Oregon's playmaker – Tajuan Porter – due to the health of teammate Jerome Randle, who suffered a hip pointer in Thursday's loss to Oregon State.

For Christopher, he knew that the task of guarding Porter was going to be tough. Afterall, Porter does have an impressive resume, including a 38-point performance and being named the 2007 Pac-10 Tournament MVP.

"[Porter's] a great shooter," said Christopher. "He has a very quick release. Just when you think you have him, he pulls up. He's a great player and tough to contain."

So, despite having Porter score 26 points, coach Mike Montgomery was extremely pleased with Christopher's performance.

"Pat can always tell his kids that he held Porter to 26," said Montgomery.

"But truthfully, he really made him work. [Porter is] a hard guy to guard. He's had huge numbers before. He made shots that there's not much you can do about, but he made him work, he made him run clock."

"I was pleased."

On the offensive end, Christopher was one of four Bears that wound up with double-digit point totals. However, his nine second-half points ultimately helped hold off an Oregon rally, and his key play ultimately set the tone for much of the second half.

With the Bears only up 54-46, and the crowd of 9,550 at Haas feeling slightly nervous, Christopher made the play that brought everybody onto their feet.

Following a block by forward Jamal Boykin, Christopher sprinted down the floor as Randle lobbed him an alley-oop. Christopher simply took Randle's pass in mid-flight and finished with a monstrous jam that upped Cal's lead back to 10. The play quickly sprung momentum back to Cal, and prompted Oregon coach Ernie Kent to use a timeout.

The Bears would eventually increase their lead to 13 and would never look back.

Now, with a visit to the L.A. schools next week, Christopher had the chance to reflect on the status of the team under Montgomery.

"This group has come together," said Christopher. "These past two years have been rough for us. It's a lot about trust and wanting to win. Just playing together is the main thing."

Game Notes

  • The Bears' 66.7% shooting from the floor is the best performance in Pac-10 contests this year. Only once has Cal shot better this year, shooting 67.9% against Texas-Pan American.
  • Among those in attendance was a good portion of the football team. Besides Cal head coach Jeff Tedford, who received a standing ovation during a first half timeout, other's spotted were defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi and offensive lineman Mike Tepper.

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