Jan. 29, 2012
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STANFORD, Calif.- Jorge Gutierrez took little satisfaction walking off California's home floor guaranteed of a perfect record at Haas Pavilion against rival Stanford.
"Personally," he said, "I don't think it's a rivalry."
In the last three-plus years, Gutierrez and the rest of Cal's senior class have sure made it seem that way.
Allen Crabbe scored 18 points and Gutierrez had 11 points and a career-high 12 rebounds to lead the Golden Bears past Stanford 69-59 on Sunday in front of the program's first home sellout in almost two years.
Harper Kamp added 15 points to propel the Bears (17-5, 7-2 Pac-12) to their fifth win in the last six meetings against the Cardinal. The announced crowd of 11,877 at rowdy Haas Pavilion cheered Cal to a perfect 14-0 start at home this season to keep pace with Washington atop the crowded Pac-12 Conference race.
"Whoever is on top is our rival," Gutierrez said. "We want to end up first."
Move over, Stanford.
At least for now.
Stefan Nastic scored 11 points off the bench in place of foul-prone Dwight Powell, who had 11 points and four rebounds before fouling out as Stanford lost at Berkeley for the fourth straight time.
Josh Owens added nine points and nine rebounds for the Cardinal (15-6, 5-4), losers of a season-high three straight. Stanford shot just 2 of 15 from 3-point range and was outrebounded 41-31.
"They just were able to get more second-chance opportunities. That hurt us down the stretch of the ballgame," Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said.
The teams combined for 13 lead changes and five ties over a frantic 40 minutes, delighting a gold towel-waving crowd- sprinkled with Cardinal colors, of course- that pounced at every chance to roar to its feet.
Not until a late push did the Bears deliver ample opportunities to cheer.
Kamp's free throws extended Cal's lead to 48-43 late in the second half, igniting the crowd with his aggressive play. He also drew a fourth foul on starter Powell in the process that started an avalanche of Bears offense.
Gutierrez stole a pass from Powell soon after and sprinted for an uncontested layup, and Crabbe added a jumper and a put-back as part of a 12-3 run that put the Bears ahead 56-46 with a little more than five minutes remaining.
A rocking blue-and-gold crowd at Haas Pavilion had the home team energized from the start.
The Bears bullied and bruised Stanford on defense, holding the longer and lankier Cardinal scoreless for almost six minutes in the first half. Cal took advantage with a 10-2 spurt during that stretch, capped by Gutierrez's 3-pointer to take a 14-11 lead midway through the first half.
Cal defenders swarmed Stanford's shooters throughout, even adding some hard-hitting fouls and going elbow-to-elbow for rebounds. The Bears' blistering defense converted stops into transition scores, getting consecutive three-point plays on layups by Christian Behrens and Justin Cobbs- with Aaron Bright whistled for a foul each time- to go ahead 25-16.
Stanford stayed strong early with a boost off the bench.
With foul trouble sidelining starters Powell and Bright, Nastic had a career-high nine points in the opening half, including a baseline jumper at the buzzer by the redshirt freshman center that gave the Cardinal a 33-32 lead and sent teammates jumping off the bench in celebration.
"We had a bit of a letup toward the end," Nastic said. "Give them credit, they kept going."
- Antonio Gonzalez, Associated Press
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NOTES: Making his first career start, Josh Huestis finished with seven points, three rebounds and matched a season-high total with four blocks ... Stefan Nastic's 10 free throw attempts were the most for any Stanford player this year. Additionally, Nastic became the first Stanford player to attempt at least 10 free throws in a game against California since Brook Lopez was 9-15 from the charity stripe against the Golden Bears back on Jan. 26, 2008 ... Stanford was outrebounded for only the fourth time this year, with California holding a 41-31 edge ... The Cardinal was just 2-15 from three-point territory, and is now 13-67 (19.4 percent) from long distance over its last three games ... Jorge Gutierrez finished with 12 rebounds. Only Seattle's Eric Wallace has grabbed more boards (15) in a game against Stanford this year ... Josh Owens finished with nine points, snapping a streak of seven consecutive games in double-figure scoring ... In three career matchups against California, Dwight Powell is 14-28 from the field and has averaged 8.6 points per game. Powell's three-pointer at the 16:56 mark of the first half was his first of the season in 11 tries ... Stanford has lost four straight games in Berkeley for the first time since a five-year drought from 1968-72.
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Stanford head coach Johnny Dawkins
On Cal's surge near the end of the game...
"They had second chance opportunities and were rebounding the basketball. It was a three-point game down the stretch and then just rebounding the basketball hurt us. They ended up out-rebounding us, 41-31, and out-rebounded us on the offensive boards, 11-4. They were just able to get more second-chance opportunities that hurt us down the stretch of the ballgame."
On the lineup change in the backcourt...
"The lineup change, for us, was just based on the week of practice we had and the two prior games we had. We just wanted to take a look at chemistry with another group. I think it is one of our better lineups with regard to defending the basketball, and I think they showed that for a good part of the first half and a good part of the second half of this game. I thought that part was a positive in making that adjustment before this game."
On Stefan Nastic's game...
"Stefan has a lot of potential. Stefan is just in one of those positions where we have a lot of depth at the big spots with those three seniors; Jack Trotter, Andrew Zimmerman, as well as Josh Owens. It's been hard for Stefan to kind of crack the lineup and get opportunities. I was very proud of his effort tonight and he is capable. We have a lot of confidence in what Stefan can do in the low post and he will continue to grow as a player for us because he is only a freshman."
On Cal being able to take away the post with double teams...
"They started collapsing and double- and triple-teaming our post guys, but we were fine with that would give us opportunities on the perimeter to do some of the things we want to do. Unfortunately, it just didn't work out that way for us tonight. I thought our guys did a good job of valuing the basketball in a tough environment, and I think we should get better from this experience."
On how he feels about his team, halfway through conference play...
"We've had a tough stretch being on the road for three straight games and come up empty handed. For us, we have to regroup, go back, and work on getting better before we start a stretch of home games. We have to look at improving and moving in the right direction, but, at the halfway point, I think it is a competitive race. We are about two wins behind the leaders in first place with the whole second half of Pac-12 play to go. We thought there would be a lot of parity in the league this year and there has been."
Sophomore Josh Huestis
On being close until Cal's surge...
"You have to give them credit. They fought the whole game. We were right there with them until about the 14-minute mark. We had some letdowns, defensively, turned the ball over, and weren't rebounding like we should, which came back to hurt us. Again, you have to give them credit because they never gave up, but we just kind of put ourselves out of it there with letdowns."
On playing defense against Allen Crabbe...
"As far as [Allen] Crabbe goes, we know he is a great shooter and great player. I went out there and just couldn't leave him to make sure he couldn't get any open shots. You have to chase him through all the screens to get a hand up on all of his shots and make him drive. That is the plan we had going into the game, but he had a good game still."
Redshirt freshman Stefan Nastic
On being outrebounded...
"I think that was a deciding factor for us. Rebounding wraps into a lot of things, definitely toughness and something that we know we are, but we didn't show it tonight as much as we could. We are a great rebounding team, but we have to show that every day. Tonight we had a bit of a let up towards the end, but you have to give them credit because they kept going. It is something we will look to keep stride on. They are a good rebounding team. It surprised me that we didn't rebound as much; especially myself, but next game we just have to rebound more."
On having a bigger role tonight...
"Coach always says stay ready so I prepare just like these guys in practice. I'm just as capable so that when I get the chance, I am doing my best to contribute to the team."
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California head coach Mike Montgomery
On the stretch where Cal pulled away...
"We were defending better. I thought the guys got tuned into what they needed to do, defensively. They got some stops. Coming down the floor, we actually got out of the set offense. We were having a hard time getting the ball where we wanted to, in set, so we weren't getting very good shots. So we spread the court a little bit. We kind of went to stuff that we have but that we don't run all that much but it allowed the court to open up. [Allen] Crabbe was able to curl and get the shot or curl and drop and Jorge [Gutierrez] did the same thing. We were able to consistently get some good looks and score either at the foul line or from the floor, but the key thing was getting stops. Jorge was spectacular on the defensive glass. We weren't giving them any seconds. [Dwight] Powell is a high riser. [Josh] Owens is a high riser. We had our hands full with those block-offs. Jorge was getting those rebounds off the defensive glass. Sometimes you don't get that and then you're back to playing defense."
On the defense...
"We made a conscious effort to try to characterize what people need to do and what it is that they want to do. We wanted to pressure the guards and not let them get comfortable, and then they changed their lineup and started Mann, Huestis, and Randle, so it was a little different than what we had expected. Huestis had a great game. He's a nice player and is only going to get better. We talked about Owens being a focal point. Harper [Kamp] is a really good defender, but he got two fouls, and we had to make some adjustments. Jorge [Gutierrez], one, he can pressure the ball and cause a guy to get nervous. Or, he's also a very smart defender, and sometimes we'll say okay, let's take Jorge out and put him in help because he understands where the ball is going to go and he can be a factor. That's what we did with that particular matchup."
Senior Jorge Gutierrez
On the team's aggressive nature...
"I think we started playing a little more aggressive on defense. It gave us a little cushion, and we started playing better."
On the atmosphere in Haas Pavilion...
"It was great. It was a great environment for us. I don't think I have seen the gym this packed. I have been here three-and-a-half years, and I don't think I've seen a gym that packed. It was just a great feeling for me."
Sophomore Allen Crabbe
On the win...
"It feels good. There are still other teams that are pretty good in the Pac-12. I just feel like with us, there is more on our shoulders. We just need to stay more focused so we can stay at the top."
On Stanford's defense...
"[Huestis's defense] was pretty solid. He played great defense, and they played good team defense. When I drove, they got help defense over. We played well together, tonight, and executed our offense well."