KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A few thoughts from California's 70-46 thrashing of Georgia in the CBE semifinals at the Sprint Center ...
What happened: Trailing 25-22 with five minutes to go in the first half, Cal went on a 31-4 run that extended until midway through the second half. They came back against a Georgia squad that is rebuilding following the loss of Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie to the NBA. Harper Kamp scored 16 points and Jorge Gutierrez added 14 for the Golden Bears, who held Georgia to just 32.8 percent shooting. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was the only Bulldog in double figures with 10 points, but he missed nine of his 13 field-goal attempts. “In all fairness to [Georgia], we knew exactly what they were going to run,” Cal coach Mike Montgomery said. “I’ve been running that [offense] for 30 years.”
Star of the game: It had to be Kamp, who made all six of his shots in 27 minutes. But Gutierrez continues to be a defensive pest for Cal. “Jorge is the kind of guy where you say, ‘Jeez, he doesn’t do this and that,’ but at the end of the day you say, ‘Gosh, I love that kid,’” Montgomery said. “He just does so much.” Cal also got 10 points from Minnesota transfer Justin Cobbs. Montgomery’s squad, as always, displayed good discipline in terms of shot selection, which resulted in a 25-of-50 performance from the field.
What it means: With Washington and Arizona struggling somewhat and UCLA still trying to incorporate new pieces, the Bears are the favorite to win the Pac-12. They certainly lived up to their No. 18 national ranking against Georgia, but tougher tests await.
What’s next: After Georgia faces Notre Dame in the consolation game Tuesday night, Cal will take on No. 21 Missouri for the championship. The Tigers dismantled Notre Dame 87-58 in Monday’s opening game and are an incredibly athletic team that employs a four-guard lineup.
"It’s a hard guard, because they’re very unconventional,” Montgomery said. “They have one big guy and four guys who really put it on the floor and drive it at you. They get you spread out whether you want to get spread out or not. [Marcus] Denmon shoots the ball very well and [Phil] Pressey gets to the hole whenever he wants.”
Asked if Cal will face an opponent similar to Missouri in the Pac-12, Montgomery said: “There might be some people that play small, but they won’t have the talent these guys have at all positions.”