McNeese St.-California Preview
A lopsided win gave California some of its confidence back, but
it may have to wait until the weekend to measure itself again.
The 24th-ranked Golden Bears will be favored to improve to 5-0
at home when they take on McNeese State on Monday night.
California (5-1) suffered its first loss Tuesday, 92-53 to
then-No. 21 Missouri in the CBE Classic championship. The Golden
Bears bounced back Saturday with an 80-59 home win over Denver.
“We all were just frustrated and couldn’t believe it happened,”
guard Justin Cobbs said of the blowout loss. “The next day, it felt
like something was wrong, we kind of got embarrassed out
After building a 16-point halftime lead and cruising past the
overmatched Pioneers, the Golden Bears still were talking about
what happened against the Tigers.
“It just kind of spun out of control on us,” coach Mike
Montgomery said. “It could have affected our confidence. We’re
obviously better at home. This was very necessary for us at this
The Golden Bears’ average victory margin at home is 21.5
Leading scorer Allen Crabbe bounced back from a six-point effort
against the Tigers with 26 on Saturday. Cal’s other star, Jorge
Gutierrez, has turned in consecutive 11-point efforts.
Montgomery knows he needs his stars to play well for his team to
“If Allen doesn’t make shots and if Jorge doesn’t do his thing,
then we’re not going to be as good of a basketball team,”
California will be expected to have little trouble in its first
matchup against McNeese State (3-2), but this contest will serve as
a tuneup for Sunday’s trip to face 7-1 San Diego State.
Getting consistent play from Cobbs will be important to how Cal
fares this season. Cobbs is Cal’s third-leading scorer at 11.5
points per game despite coming off the bench, and he made all four
3-pointers en route to scoring a career-high 22 points
“I want to be out there with the team and help us win,” Cobbs
said. “Like I said before the season started, anything I can do to
help the team, I’m down to do. It’s just a process of figuring out
my role and to just keep playing hard.”
McNeese State is considered one of the favorites to win the
Southland Conference’s East Division. The Cowboys ended a run of
four straight losing seasons by going 21-12 in 2010-11 and losing
to Boston College in the NIT.
Patrick Richard was the star of that team, and he’s back for his
senior season. Richard scored 19 points to lead McNeese State to a
68-63 victory at Sacramento State on Saturday to open this
three-game road trip.
The Cowboys rallied from a 17-point halftime deficit thanks to
62.1 percent shooting after the break.
“Patrick wouldn’t let us lose,” coach Dave Simmons told McNeese
State’s official website. “He took the lead and showed us the way.
This was a good identity win for us.”
McNeese State isn’t much of a threat from beyond the arc,
shooting 24.5 percent. Cal is limiting foes to 30.8 percent on