Cal Basketball Drops Third Game On Europe Trip To Norway National Team

The Cal basketball offseason is highlighted by a trip to Europe! What does 2011-12 have in store for Mike Montgomery and the California Golden Bears on the hardwood of Haas Pavilion?

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Cal Basketball Sweeps Danish National Team

The California Golden Bears men's basketball team concluded a very successful European trip by winning both their matchups with the Danish National squad. In the first game on Saturday, Cal won 81-73. They then blew out Denmark 95-78 in the second game on Sunday. Both games were played in Copenhagen.

The biggest contributor scoring-wise has been the surprising walk-on center Robert Thurman, who in his junior campaign and his second year with the team is starting to show some great signs. Thurman notched 21 points in the first game and put up 17 in the second game, leading the team on both occasions in scoring. Jorge Gutierrez returned to action after missing the first three matchups and put up 13 points in the first game and nine in the second.

Newcomers/freshmen David Kravish and Christian Behrens also produced relatively well on both occasions, with Kravish reaching double figures on both occasions. Likely point guards Justin Cobbs and Brandon Smith combined for 19 points in the first matchup and 15 points in the second (Cobbs also dished eight assists). Allen Crabbe had 13 points and Jeff Powers had 10 in the second game.

Kravish and Thurman probably get extended time after the injuries to Cal's starting bigs. Richard Solomon sat out both games after getting his eye scratched. Harper Kamp played sparsely in the first game and sat out the second matchup.

For more on Cal basketball, go to the California Golden Blogs.


Cal Basketball: Inaugural Pac-12 Title Favorite?

The California Golden Bears men's basketball team is generating the type of fruit fly preseason buzz that comes with a team that is unspectacular, filled with solid but not elite talent. You hear a few quick zips, then things go quiet again and you start pondering the UCLAs and Arizonas of the world.

Doug Gottlieb of ESPN explains further.

I know that the UCLA Bruins have better big men; Josh Smith, Reeves Nelson and the Wear twins can all score and make up a deeper front line than any in the league. The Washington Huskies bring in Tony Wroten, while Arizona brings in Josiah Turner, and both teams return solid supporting casts to play alongside their athletic freshman studs. But Cal is quietly a dangerous team with a deep bench and a bevy of scoring talent. While Washington, Washington State, Stanford, USC, Colorado and Oregon all losing their top scorers, and UCLA losing two of its top three scorers, Cal returns its top three scorers in the Pac 12.

That being said, it should be a far more competitive conference race than the lackluster 2009-10 race that saw Cal hoops win their first Pac-10 title in nearly half a century. UCLA will have a deep frontcourt that will be difficult for an undersized team like the Bears. Both Arizona and Washington will have a bevy of young and talented individuals that will try to offset the losses of their premier players.

Cal might have a deep squad this season, but they are far from locks to win any conference title, and it's hard to call them the favorites off the bat. Still, as the season grows closer, expect the buzzing to grow louder and more frequent.

For more on Cal basketball, go to the California Golden Blogs.


Cal Basketball In Europe: Norwegian National Team Beats Golden Bears

The California Golden Bears finally hit the wall on Wednesday night. After winning their first two games on their European road trip against the Solna Vikings and the Upsala Basket squad, Cal finally dropped one, this one against the Norway national basketball squad 69-64.

Cal got off to a roaring 24-12 start in the first quarter, but then proceeded to score only 40 points for the rest of the game. Norway deployed a 1-2-2 zone that forced Cal to shoot threes, and miss threes (1 for 14). Allen Crabbe only took 5 shots and was clearly the focus of Norway's defensive efforts. Richard Solomon played well again, putting in 15 points and 6 rebounds, Harper Kamp added 12 points and Justin Cobbs scored 13, but Cal could not get anything going from the outside.

There are a lot of caveats you can take from this one. Cal has played their third game in four nights, and Cal is not going to be playing many three game in four night sets that don't involve the words "Pac-12 tournament." And this is the best Norway has to offer. Although you probably can't name more than zero Norwegian basketball players, these guys probably have some familiarity with each other and have been playing hoops together as a unit, so they know how to handle their opponents fairly well.

Also, Jorge Gutierrez wasn't playing. That generally means something.

The Bears will get two days off, then play two games this weekend on Saturday and Sunday against the Danish national team in Cophenhagen.

For more on Cal basketball, check out the California Golden Blogs.


Cal Basketball In Europe: Allen Crabbe, Golden Bears Beat Solna Vikings

The Cal basketball offseason is highlighted by a trip to Europe!

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