In the game of basketball, everybody strives for perfection.
On Thursday night, guard Jerome Randle pretty much was.
Randle started the game hitting his first eight shots – including his first four 3-point attempts – en route to 22 first half points, as the Bears finished off Oregon 90-74 to advance to the semifinals of the Pac-10 Tournament in front of 12,125 at Staples Center.
Guard Patrick Christopher contributed 21 points, while forward Jamal Boykin added 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting in the second half. All in all, the Bears produced an encouraging offensive effort to open up tournament play. California shot 54% for the game, including 11-20 from three-point range, along with setting a team record 6 blocked shots.
In other words, the Bears dominated the stat sheet, and Head Coach Mike Montgomery definitely took notice.
"This was definitely a game that we needed to win," Montgomery said. "We shot the ball well, and when we do that it makes us very hard to beat."
"We defended well and I'm glad to say that no one played more than 30 minutes."
The Bears strove for perfection and accomplished it on Day 1, but they know it's just step one in the big scheme of things. What started as a tumultuous season is slowly being righted, one game at a time.
What started as disappointed showings on national television has turned into a Pac-10 regular season championship.
What started as a season of what-ifs and uncertainty now has a chance to end with this team making their mark on history.
But in order for the Bears to reach that goal, they know they must take it one game at a time. Up next on Friday is a matchup against rival UCLA, whom the Bears split the season series. The Bruins zone defense gave the Bears fits in Berkeley, and the Bears are well aware of their prior struggles.
"UCLA plays a great zone defense," Randle said. "In order to overcome that, we are going to have to be unselfish."
"Any time you play UCLA in Los Angeles, on their turf, you have to be ready," said Montgomery. "And I know we will be."
How will the Bears overcome UCLA?
By aiming to play the highest quality basketball down the stretch. To put in maximum effort. To fight for every loose ball and rebound. To be smart.
To be perfect.
And the Bears certainly will be.
You can now follow Cal Sports Digest via Twitter.
Discuss in Cal Sports Digest Forums.
If you have not by now, subscribe to CalSportsDigest.com. Click HERE to get access to the members-only content from CSD and the nation-wide Scout.com network.
©Copyright 2010, CalSportsDigest.com and Scout.com. All rights reserved.