BERKELEY'S NEWS • OCTOBER 01, 2022

Cal men's basketball bests Oregon State, 88-83, for third straight Pac-12 win

article image

SUPPORT OUR NONPROFIT NEWSROOM

We're an independent student-run newspaper, and need your support to maintain our coverage.

JANUARY 12, 2014

When Jabari Bird and Ricky Kreklow went down in relatively quick succession just as conference play approached, it was hard to see the Cal men’s basketball team as anything but doomed.

Bird and Kreklow were the Bears’ two best three-point shooters. Without the two wings, Cal’s offense lost its two best floor spacers and two of its best perimeter defenders. Justin Cobbs and Richard Solomon had led the team, but Bird and Kreklow were key cogs, essential to the identity of a team that was already lacking depth.

Cal’s 88-83 comeback victory over Oregon State (9-7, 1-2 Pac-12) at Gill Coliseum on Saturday served as a picture-perfect demonstration of how the Bears have, despite the loss of Bird and Kreklow to injury, started their conference play schedule without a defeat. The veterans — Cobbs, Solomon, David Kravish and Tyrone Wallace — stepped up in a big way. The fringe players — Christian Behrens and Jeff Powers — were shoved into role-player duty and contributed hustle plays and three-point shooting. And against all odds, the offense excelled, shooting 51.7% percent from the field and compiling 1.21 points per possession.

The Bears’ torrid shooting took a bit of time to heat up en route to their third consecutive conference road win. Cal (12-4, 3-0) arrived in Corvallis, Ore., two days after Thursday’s fast-paced 96-83 victory over No. 17 Oregon. Perhaps as a result of tired legs, the Bears trailed by 14 points at one point in the first half to the underdog Beaver squad.

“We didn’t compete in the first half,” said Cal coach Mike Montgomery. “We looked very tired, whatever the reason, maybe some carryover from Thursday. It wasn’t the same team in terms of our hustle, we didn’t get out on shooters, and we just looked flat. We looked tired, we looked flat, and we didn’t look mentally engaged.”

A 6-2 spurt capped by two Solomon dunks shrunk the halftime deficit to ten. Solomon and his frontcourt partner-in-crime Kravish were just about the only Bears engaged on the offensive side of the ball in the first 20 minutes. Cobbs, the team’s leading scorer, finished the half without a point. The point guard seemed tentative, settling for mid-range jumpers instead of looking for close-range looks at the basket.

Any hesitance evaporated with the sound of the second-half horn. The senior attacked the rim relentlessly in the second frame, pouring in 20 points on mostly point-blank shots. His first points came with 15:57 remaining in the game when Cobbs scooted Roberto Nelson with his off-hand for a wide-open lay-in. The basket capped an 8-2 run, bringing Cal within three points of Oregon State.

The Bears remained deadlocked with the Beavers for a few minutes, until an unlikely contributor broke the game open. Powers, a walk-on senior, nailed two threes within two minutes of each other to grant Cal some breathing room.

“Jeff Powers was fabulous,” Montgomery said. “Kind of took the place of Jordan (Mathews) in terms of a guy taking shots.”

Powers’ second three gave the Bears a 70-61 lead, one they would not relinquish. From there, the Cal defense clamped down, and the Bears rolled to their third straight conference win.

Contact Michael Rosen at  or on Twitter

LAST UPDATED

JANUARY 12, 2014


Related Articles

featured article
featured article
featured article
featured article
featured article
featured article