Nov. 20, 2010
Lobo Men's Basketball -- At Cal-Berkeley
Saturday: Cal 89, Lobos 64
By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
Take your pick of the poisons that led to the young New Mexico Lobos taking it on the chin 89-64 Saturday night at UC Berkeley.
Any one of those stats might have led to a loss at Berkeley. Throw them all out in one game and you have the Lobos on the canvas looking up at a 25-point loss.
"This was a beat down," said Lobo coach Steve Alford. "We got a pretty good lesson tonight. I'm not happy with the loss, but sometimes you have to take it in stride. We have a young team and we have to learn from this.
"We just had a really bad second half. Nothing went right in the second half. You don`t like to lose and you don`t like to lose the way we got beat in the second half."
The Lobos surely were expected to have a tough time against a Cal team that had rolled out 20 consecutive home-court wins against non-conference foes. Make that 21 straight. However, the Lobos came to Berkeley with a 2-0 mark and probably thought they could hang with a young Cal team.
The Lobos tied the game at 36-all in the first half, trailed 38-36 at the half and then were overwhelmed by a pretty young Cal team that played aggressive defense, scored out of transition and often simply drove the ball through the UNM defense all the way to the rim.
"We are down too many guys right now," said Alford. "We only have two upperclassmen playing and obviously A.J. (Hardeman) didn't play very well tonight. I don't know if there are going to be many positives here. Sometimes it takes getting a beating or a loss to get young guys attention in the film room."
UNM's Dairese Gary powered for 16 points, but had five turnovers to three assists. Freshman Alex Kirk had a decent game with eight points and seven rebounds. Jamal Fenton came off the bench to score 14 points, 13 in the first half. Freshman Kendall Williams had 12 points.
After those four Lobos, UNM had six players scoring fewer than six points. The combination of A.J. Hardeman, Curtis Dennis, Emmanuel Negedu, Chad Adams and Cameron Bairstow totaled nine points. Hardeman did not score.
Cal got 25 points from Harper Kamp, 20 from Jorge Gutierrez and 16 from Gary Franklin. Cal had only 11 turnovers to 18 assists. Cal won the board battle 37-35.
"We got beat in transition a lot," said Alford. "We can't be a team that turns it over that many times (18). That's a concern. This was a tough one and they exploited a lot of things. We have to get better."
SECOND HALF -- CAL 51, LOBOS 28
Cal shot 58.6 percent in the first half and stayed hot in the second half. Gary hit a 3-pointer at 15:38 to pull the Lobos to 46-44. It was pretty much downhill -- or uphill -- for the Lobos after that.
A short Cal run pushed the Bears up 53-44. Gary was fouled on a drive and went to the line in an attempt to end Cal's run. The Lobo senior made one and it was 53-45.
Cal's Gary Franklin came down to bank in a 3-pointer and Cal was up 56-45. An air ball by UNM's Curtis Dennis led to Cal's Harper Kamp getting fouled inside while shooting. He made two and Cal was up 58-45 -- a solid 13-point lead. That gap convinced UNM's Alford to call a timeout.
It didn't get any better for the young Lobos on the road. Fenton drove hard at the Cal defense, but turned the ball over which led to Cal scoring in transitions: 60-45. At the 11:38 media break, UNM was still down 60-45. The Lobos needed to rally, take care of the ball better, and find a way to cool down the Cal gunners.
The timeout didn't change much. Smith got behind the Lobos defense for a layup and made it 3-point play with a foul shot. Cal was up 63-45.
The Lobos got back-to-back scores inside from Gary and Snell to cut Cal's lead to 63-51. Cal called time.
The Bears came out settled and focused. They ran to a 71-53 lead. Cal was doing a good job of running and producing opportunities out of transition. At the 7:35 mark, Cal pushed its lead to 73-53 -- 20 points. The Bears, who were smoked earlier by Stanford on the football field, were about to end the day on a better note.
A Kamp trey made it 77-54. Cal then powered to a 83-56 lead with 4:44 left to play and cruised in for the easy 89-64 win.
FIRST HALF -- CAL 38, LOBOS 36
Stat Leaders: Fenton 13 pts., Gutierrez (Cal) 12 pts.
Cal-Berkeley jumped up 4-0. Guard Jorge Gutierrez quickly got the home crowd going with a steal leading to a dunk. A quick second steal by Cal led to a layup by Cal's Allen Crabbe. Gutierrez pushed in another layup in transition to move into a 9-4 lead and then a Cal 3-pointer by Gary Franklin dropped the Lobos into a 12-4 hole.
Cal had ran to a 20-8 lead at the 12:40 mark before the Lobos slowly began chiseling away at the Bears' lead. A steal by Gary led to a Fenton trey in transition to make it 20-13. A Cal turnover produced a Fenton layup and it was 20-15. Another Fenton layup at the 8:52 mark made it 24-20.
It was fitting that Fenton tie the game for UNM 36-all with a trey with 58 seconds to play. "In the first half, I thought Jamal was really good and a key for keeping us in the game," said Alford.
A turnover by Gary led to a Cal dunk by Richard Solomon and the Bears went into the half up 38-36. The Lobos did a good job rallying out of transition and hitting a few big treys. Still, UNM needed to do a better job with Cal's transition and the Bears' ability to drive the ball off the dribble.
UNM shot 48 percent from the floor in the first half, but that number was aided by the Lobos shooting 54.5 percent from 3-point range (6-of-11). Cal was cool from behind the line at 28.6 percent (2-of-7), but was hot everywhere else and finished the half shooting 58.6 percent. UNM got 18 points off the bench, fueled by Fenton's 13 points. Cal got 10 first-half points off its bench.