Gutierrez bounces back in rout of Utah

Jorge Gutierrez posts team-high 15 points and six assists as Cal pummels Utah, 81-45.

BERKELEY, Calif. – There wasn't much California head coach Mike Montgomery needed to say to guard Jorge Gutierrez after a dismal 2 of 17 shooting performance against Colorado.

"You let him know you got all the confidence in the world in him," Montgomery said. "You know he's obviously a better shooter than that."

Even though the pep talk and extra shooting the senior did might not have been necessary, it paid off as Gutierrez scored a team-high 15 points in a 81-45 rout of Utah in front of 7,457 at Haas Pavilion to maintain a share of first place in the Pac-12.

Dismissing his performance Thursday as "Just a bad night for me," Gutierrez was more active from the start and especially effective in catch-and-shoot situations coming off screens.

"I was a little frustrated last game," he said. "Coach talked about it. I knew my teammates were going to get me open shots."

And he hit them, going 7 of 9 from the field.

Gutierrez was also active in creating opportunities for teammates, finding Harper Kamp for back-to-back assists during an 18-1 first half run.

Cal (15-4, 4-1 Pac-12) finished with 24 assists on 34 field goals. Gutierrez had six, while Justin Cobbs finished with a career-high 11.

"We waited to get people open and we delivered the ball," Montgomery said. "We made the extra pass on several occasions."

Cobbs also scored 14 points for his first career double-double and was one of five Bears in double figures.

Kamp was an efficient 7 of 12 for 14 points, while Allen Crabbe added 10 points as Cal shot an astonishing 59.6 percent from the floor (34-for-57).

On the defensive end, they were just as effective to stymie senior guard Josh Watkins.

Watkins had a team-high 15 points for Utah (4-13, 1-4 Pac-12), but needed 14 shots to do so. He also committed five turnovers and never got comfortable to take "the wind out of their sails," as Montgomery put it.

"We felt like Watkins was the key," he said. "Watkins has the ball in his hands all the time."

The blowout afforded freshman guard Alex Rossi a chance to make Cal debut after missing a year and a half because of a sports hernia, recording his first collegiate points on a jumper with 2:48 left in the second quarter.

"I can't even tell you how happy I am for him," Gutierrez said. "I saw him struggle trying to get healthy. Seeing him out there, seeing that he feels good and is happy too, that feels pretty good for everybody."

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