California-Washington: Bears Steal 88-85 Win in Triple Overtime
Only watched the game on my Blackberry last Saturday, so didn’t get time to see it until an hour or so ago. Here are the notes I typed up while watching.
* One thing to note is how the Huskies gave Cal a taste of their own medicine. Instead of trudging up at a halfcourt pace like many of the other Pac-10 teams Cal has faced, they brought the game to the Bears and played at the fast pace that Cal’s smaller defense isn’t quite set to face.
The paint was open on multiple occasions as Thomas weaved his way in for numerous drives and layups in the first half. Once Washington slowed things down, Cal was able to make their comeback.
* There are bigger intricacies that are involved in the game, but basketball is mainly about playing at your tempo. Both teams had good point guard play, but Cal adjusted to theirs late by not only switching Gutierrez onto Thomas, who struggled to do anything in the overtimes, but also letting Gutierrez ball handle.
* Husky defense was very good, as they switched multiple players on Randle. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Stanford put multiple players on the point guard and force other players to beat them. Cal looked flustered for much of the game.
* I’m still not quite sure how they lost this game considering how quiet our point guard play was and how strong Washington’s point guard play was. The ball was moving much more fluidly for Washington. Sharp cuts, backdoor passes, breaking the zone, etc.
* Cal only utilized a little bit of their zone offense; there wasn’t a lot of ball movement, probably attributed to fatigue from the last leg of a road trip. Washington actually moved the ball much better for the majority of the game. I wouldn’t be surprised if they came to Haas and played another nail-biter with this experience under their belt.
* I was impressed by how well Cal rebounded as a team. Teamwise the Bears boxed out pretty well, and with only minimal help from Boykin or Wilkes. Christopher was a monster at following his own shots.
* Surprised Washington did not try once to go at Christopher defensively down the stretch when he had four fouls during the overtimes. You foul him once and it’s probably over for the Bears.
* It takes a lot to blow a nine-point lead with three-and-a-half minutes left in a college game at home, but Washington just tried to work the clock too much and couldn’t execute. Romar probably overcoached them by calling a half-dozen timeouts down the stretch, which really took the Huskies out of their rhythm when they had seemingly insurmountable leads and gave them a little too much time to think about it.
Only two points in the final four-and-a-half minutes of regulation at home? Cal’s defense was solid, but they weren’t exactly shutting down Washington’s driving lanes. Huskies just didn’t play well when they needed to close.
* Montgomery looked like the calmer coach down the stretch. Bears mentioning.
Thomas’ play got a little bit in his head, and he tried to outduel him a little too much early on as Cal fell behind. I’d say he was bothered a lot by players switching on him. Far more effective on the fast break, but in the half court he struggled to do anything. He didn’t get much help from his teammates early on though, who sort of stagnated off the ball.
He ended up playing much better late when he switched to the two and extended the game to the third overtime before fouling out.
He sets good picks. Mostly a finisher of plays, but the defense I’ve seen from him so far is basically putting his hands up in the air.
Him and Wilkes can drive me crazy. For all the good things they do on defense, they often get lost on offense. Too many times they got in the way of the scorers and crowded the shots of Robertson and Christopher or weren’t in position for Randle. I guess they’ll be more useful when the zone offense is moving more crisply.
Struggled creating his own shot early; was much more prolific with the catch-and-shoot. He didn’t look comfortable dribbling around the perimeter, but did finish the game with the go-ahead drive. Can go inside and shoot outside though, and that was all they needed in the third OT.
The most complete player on our team. Can shoot the three ball, creates his own shot, moves well off the ball, has the speed to grab his missed shots. Still not sure about his defense though.
Played like a man possessed in the second half and the third overtime. This could partly be due to the fact that no one on Washington could really guard him one-on-one. Also played great defense on Dentmon on the last crucial possession without getting called for the foul.
He’s very good at those backdoor passes and has excellent defensive skills that make him valuable down the stretch. He breaks up passes in the paint, can bother his man in the post, etc.
Might end up eating into Knezevic’s minutes down the road, simply because he plays better defense and can shoot the three. His fast break defense was especially notable. Oh, and let’s not forget the clutchness.
Strong defender (really bothered Thomas in the last few minutes) and plays well in the system on offense, had a crucial drive to the lane in the third OT, even has a nice pass; Montgomery allowed him to ball handle at times, showing how much confidence he has in him playing spot point. All you ask for off the bench.
He’s the kind of player the fans of opposing teams will love to hate. That swipe across the face of Thomas is a perfect example.
Didn’t pay as much attention to Washington, but here are my quick (and probably biased) notes.
Very strong point guard, and does remind me of the real Isiah at least in terms of the way he attacks the basket. I love aggressive point guard play, and off the dribble he was unstoppable much of the game. Cal really doesn’t have anyone who can guard him—their point guards are too small and their big men aren’t quick enough.
It’s going to be interesting when the Bears face good point guards down the road and how they deal with him; my thoughts are zone-zone-zone. Of course, I don’t know what the hell he was doing reaching in on Seeley on that final shot.
Another big awkward white dude. Of course he has that hustle and rebounding that most journalists drool over in college, but has too much Hansbrough in him (and even Tyler can make his free throws). A good 11th man on an NBA team before people realize he’s kind of useless.
Made some absurd shots. Also works well off the ball and had some good rebounds off his own shot (Randle was switched onto him after Gutierrez took over defensive responsibilities). The senior dominated the second and third overtimes and nearly took them home. Got Randle fouled out too drawing the charge.
Great penetrator to the inside.
Lives up to his name. Did a lot of quizzical things in this one (not closing out on his man, not finishing his shot, travelling trying to turn around in the paint, etc.).
Like every Euro player, can’t believe he’s ever committed a foul in his life.
Add your thoughts of Cal’s dramatic triple overtime win in the comments.
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