Mizzou hands Bears first loss in 39-point romp

Many milestones sum up the Cal basketball team’s kowtow to Missouri Tuesday night. The Bears’ worst loss in 106 games under head coach Mike Montgomery. Fourth-worst loss since 1937. Worst non-conference loss ever.

Missouri, ranked just a spot below No. 20 Cal, steamrolled the Bears in the final of the CBE Classic in Kansas City, Mo. The Tigers ran out a 19-point, first-half lead at the Sprint Center, cruising to a 92-53 win to over a Cal team (4-1) plagued by sloppy turnovers and fouls.

With another down year for the Pac-12 on the horizon, Mizzou is one of the few ranked teams Cal will play in the regular season — if not the only one. In what may the stiffest test on the schedule, the Bears didn’t look like they spent much time studying.

Before tipoff, famed commentator Dick Vitale raved about Missouri guard Marcus Denmon. Quickness off the dribble, deadly in the lane, the total package. Denmon backed up the talk almost immediately.

One night after dropping 26 points on Notre Dame, the All-Big-12 first teamer paced the Tigers (5-0) with a balanced performance, logging 18 points, four assists and two rebounds in 20 minutes. He earned the tournament MVP award.

The first half also showed off the talents of senior Steve Moore. The 6-foot-7, 267-pound center scored a career-high 10 points in the first half before his hometown crowd, tossing in a three as two early fouls strapped starting forward Ricardo Ratcliffe to the bench.

Missouri feasted on Cal’s carelessness, converting 21 turnovers into 23 points. The unofficial home team only gave the ball away 11 times, and didn’t cough it up once until halfway through the first half.

Cal’s uncharacteristic shooting woes also gave the Tigers’ win margin a healthy boost. The Bears entered the game shooting 50.9 percent from the field, but mustered an anemic 31.5 percent against Mizzou’s full-court pressure defense.

Starting Cal guard Jorge Gutierrez drew his second offensive foul of the game — his team’s fourth — with 6:16 left in the first half, raising his hands in disbelief as he headed to the bench. He fouled out with 11:32 left in the game, his fifth offense coming when he shoved Missouri guard Michael Dixon after the whistle.

Only two Bears scored in double digits, and each needed 10 shots to do so. Backup guard Cobbs scored 10 on 3-of-10 shooting, while Gutierrez netted 4-of-10 from the field for 11 points.

Reigning Pac-10 Freshman of the Year Allen Crabbe struggled mightily, scoring six points on 1-of-7 shooting. Crabbe, arguably the most talented player on the roster, remains more of a spot-up shooter. The Los Angeles native still does not assert himself in the paint; he took his first free throw of the season on Friday night, finishing 3-of-4 from the line. He is the only Cal starter who has attempted fewer than 15 free throws.

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  • Anonymous

    We lost a game but we’re not as far apart from Mizzou as the score indicates.  Mizzou came out with more energy – that’s their home court advantage.  We were with them until the fouls came along.  Then momentum shifted to Mizzou.  We forgot to play defense and Mizzou got a lot of open looks.  Then we lost our poise.  Give Mizzou credit – they did the right things but they are not 39 points better.  It would be a much different game at Haas or maybe on another given day.

    • Anonymous

      It wasn’t played on their home court.  Kansas City is 1.5 hours from their home.

      • MondayQB57

        Thanks for the correction.  It’s close enough to be home – same time zone, same fans, and same band. 

  • Jack’s Grandpa

    unbearable:  Those “ticky-tac” & “fifty-fifty” fouls could not possibly have accounted for the entire 39-point difference.  Mizzou just flat out kicked Cal’s butt.  Perhaps you should call yourself unBEARable. 

  • anotherday

    Mizzou did not use full court pressure except for a couple of times.  This is not the “40 minutes of Hell”.  The head coach, Frank Haith, even said they focused on the half court pressure.

    @unbearable  if you are going to blame this on the refs, on ticky tack fouls, look no further than the handful of calls under the basket.  It went both ways.  The Bears just didn’t keep their heads about them.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UL2JQ5Q45I556TCGICUKFC247U Robert

    @ unbearable – The University of Missouri is located in Columbia, not Kansas City. Agree it’s only two hours and not two time zones away.  Also it is Mizzou, not Mizzu. But Cal couldn’t have beat a good D2 team last night. Big - yes; slow – what comes after yes? I guess OMG. Try to keep up!   

  • unbearable

    This game was an aberration, I can’t see this happening again. Cal will benefit from this in the long run. It didn’t help that Cal had all the “ticky-tac” & “fifty-fifty” fouls called against them, while the hometown boys got all the love from the refs, and got away with murder. Mizzu will probably not have as great a night as this night either, they were on fire, unfortunately for Cal.

    • Anonymous

      They were on fire the  night before  vs. Notre Dame as was this past Sunday night.  

  • Sshafikh

    I was shocked by Cal’s performance last night. I thought last night players just packed it in and surrendered. It was so painfully obvious how bad Cal needs a couple of good point guards to be able to handle a team like Mizzou. Having said that, I have so much respect for Mike Montgomery. I know if anyone can bring the team back and recuperate from a bad loss like last night’s, it would be Mike Montgomery.