Seriously, for just a moment we have to get down and get serious my friends. Senior Day. Zimm goes all career day. Mann grabs four huge offensive rebounds and throws down a tip dunk and Trotter tomahawks. On Cal! Damned good stuff Gentlemen. Thank you. That is the way to walk out swingin'!
Chasson Randle straight up earned All-Conference today and instead they gave him only All-Freshman team. That is silly. Randle was, for the first time at the point guard spot, firmly in control. He shook off an early turnover as though it didn't happen and sustained his focus on both ends of the court. The weenies have been good this year largely because Cobbs and Gutierrez out scrap and outsmart everyone they play. Not Sunday though. Randle handled his veteran competition 17 points, five rebounds, four assistsm and only one turnover. He outscored those two and his one turnover to their six screams who was in control. More to the point, Chasson out-toughed them.
Jarrett Mann started Senior Day and played well. Gutty, physical defense, a tip dunk and an offensive rebound put back in the second half, four offensive rebounds, and only one turnover (which was a perfectly acceptable dive into Jorge to try and get a fourth foul called). But, most laudably Jarrett came out with a physicality that helped set the tone for this young Cardinal team and this young team responded.
Anthony Brown had his best game of the year. This is the guy we thought we would have all season. 34 minutes, five rebounds, 10 points, a huge three in the second half, and a great hard-nosed defensive effort (Brown took a good bit of chin/nose music from Crabbe who, along with Gutierrez, is a great arm flailer). Allen Crabbe went and got 20, but he made some shots that were exceptionally well-guarded by Anthony. And Crabbe was the beneficiary of some terrible bail out calls. The Crabbe-Brown matchup was a great one to watch, right there with the Randle-Jorge matchup.
Speaking of matchups, Aaron Bright playing visibly dinged up, came off the bench and played great. I mean great. Under control, assertive, the ball stuck his hands less and his shot selection was shot selection. He hit a beautiful tear drop floater in the first half where he barely left the floor and got the ball elevated quickly—which saved him a huge hit. Most importantly, he made enough free throws and he hit the floor after the ball late in the game. Contrast this game by Aaron with his game over in Jerkeley and its an even better game by Aaron. In fact, Aaron's two offensive rebounds late the game off his own missed free throws were emblematic of what this team did to win this game, with Zimm and Mann keeping the missed free throws alive and Aaron staying on the line, not backing off down the court on defense, and sticking his nose into contact and badgering the ball back to us. You could technically call those offensive rebounds team rebounds, because of the efforts of the two or three guys that kept the ball alive for Aaron. But, let's give Aaron credit for the nose sticking for damned sure.
There is a new thing that has arrived in college basketball the last few years with the advent of the dribble drive focused offenses, where guards over-penetrate on the baseline and look to kick the ball weakside for threes or make bail out passes in traffic from behind the backboard. This makes for some great passes and it makes for a lot of turnovers (I counted five on these types of plays and if we had done a better job of keeping our hands and feet moving on the interior, we would have forced more). Our offense is less predicated on this phenomenon than most. Cal's over-reliance on this type of play was exemplified on Sunday and resulted in some great interior passes and scores, but also played a big part in their 16 turnovers, including Crabbe's critical fumble out of bounds with 1:32 left on the clock. What we didn't do exceptionally well against this style of play on Sunday was defend the paint against the cute little dump offs to Kamp, Kravich, and Bak Bak. But, what we did do well was defend the opposite side three ball, keeping Cobbs and Crabbe from easy threes. When they don't get good looks at threes, just like us, they don't shoot as well because they really aren't that dynamic off the bounce.
Final Thought: Did I mention Coach Montgomery dressing up like Dana Altman yet? You can't coach that. Ask your wife.
Final Final: Josh Owens, Second Team All-Conference seems about right, unfortunately. Josh Huestis almost made the All-Defensive team, and will next year. And again, how the hell is Chasson Randle not on the Second Team All-Conference or Honorable Mention All-Conference. Randle didn't get three votes for All-Conference? That is curious to me.
Final Final Final: By the time Mrs. Roscoe and I got to the car KNBR 1050 had the Warriors on, so we switched and listened to the weenies postgame report and they interviewed Coach Montgomery. You could hear the psychological thrashing in his head, the pain of having lost a conference title by five points to an inferior squad—a bunch of stuff about executing down the stretch and composure and doing the "little things". And then this coach speakism," Stanford's pretty good when they shoot the ball well." Walk away and taste the pain…
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