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.