Cutting from the baseline, Richard Solomon caught the ball from a driving Jorge Gutierrez who had drawn two defenders into the paint. Solomon thunderously slammed home the entry pass and the buzzer sounded to end the first half.
It all looked too easy.
Pretty much everything seemed too easy for the No. 23 Cal men’s basketball team on Tuesday night, as the Bears absolutely annihilated Austin Peay (0-2) on both sides of the ball in the first half en route to a 72-55 victory in the second game of the CBE classic.
After the first 20 minutes mercifully ended, the Bears (3-0) had opened up a 40-13 halftime lead, and had twice as many assists as the Governors did field goals. Despite a sluggish second half, Cal coasted to a 72-55 victory over at Haas Pavilion in the second regional round game of the CBE Classic.
“We’ve had good energy defensively and taken people out of what they wanted to do,” coach Mike Montgomery said. “In fairness we have probably been a little better than our opponents, but our energy has allowed us to take them out, board the ball, run the break and take the lead.”
Gutierrez led the Bears with 14 points and was one of four players to reach double figures. Forward David Kravish turned out another solid performance and did not miss a shot until 3:54 remaining in the game. The savvy freshman finished with 12 points and three rebounds. Point guard Brandon Smith also churned out a fine game, missing only one shot, stealing the ball twice and not turning the ball over all night.
Austin Peay shot a putrid 18 percent from the floor in the first half and started the game 1-13 from the field. The Governors inability to connect from outside and get the ball inside resulted in a nine-minute scoring drought which seemingly put the game away before the the game was even 10 minutes old. Vaunted shooting guard Tyshawn Edmonson, who averaged 17.1 points per game last season, was held scoreless until 15:39 remaining in the second half and scored only four points on the night on 2-of-10 shooting.
“Jorge was in him as we would say,” Smith said. “I love when we see scouting reports and see their best player is a shooting guard. I smile inside. I know Jorge is probably going to guard him and that he probably isn’t going to score.”
Despite being on the winning side, Allen Crabbe didn’t have a much better night shooting the basketball. The sharpshooting sophomore endured what might end up being his worst game of the season: a 2-for-12 performance for only five points and 1-for-6 from beyond the arc.
“It was a very rare occasion to see Allen Crabbe play like this,” Smith said. “I know he’ll bounce back. I’m looking forward to next time because I know he’ll play really well.”
With the rest of the team so easily penetrating the Governors’ man defense and passing around their zones, it was hard to notice Crabbe’s struggles.
After building an insurmountable lead so early in the contest, the Bears endured a sloppy stretch midway through the second half that allowed Austin Peay a 9-0 run to cut the lead down to 18. The Governors would get no closer than 17 in the final 20 minutes.
The Bears will now travel to Kansas City, Mo., to take on Georgia next Monday and either Missouri or Notre Dame the following game.
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