December 20, 2011
BERKELEY -- California sophomore wing Allen Crabbe had a defender in his face, had already picked up his dribble, and the shot clock was winding down. Less than six seconds left. He head-faked. He shot-faked. He finally went up for a shot, and at the peak of his leap, he looked to his right. There was Justin Cobbs. A sneeze away from the half-court line.
Crabbe passed. One second left on the shot clock. Cobbs caught the ball at his chest, set his feet, and fired. Good. From well past 30 feet. With 4:25 left in the game. That was Cobbs' 10th basket in 12 tries, his third three in three tries. Simply put, the sophomore point guard could not miss, and neither could the Bears, who downed visiting UC Santa Barbara, 70-50 at Haas Pavilion for their eighth straight win at home to open the season, thanks to a game- and career-high 25 points from the Minnesota transfer.
"I went up, and I was going to shoot it, but the ball slipped a little bit, so I just looked, and I didn't even know there were only two seconds left," Crabbe laughed.
Cobbs finished the night 10-of-12 from the field, 3-of-3 from three and 2-of-2 from the line, chipping in two rebounds, two assists and a block.
With starting two-guard Jorge Gutierrez on the shelf with food poisoning, with sophomore big man Richard Solomon sidelined with a stress fracture in his left foot and with senior forward Harper Kamp at less than 100 percent due to illness, Cal (10-2) found some kind of mojo.
"It shows that we have other weapons on the team," Crabbe said. "We got it into our heads that we would just have to step up, and that's what we did, each and every one of us."
The Bears sunk a season-high 11 three-pointers in 20 attempts, and drained their first six three-point attempts before missing for the first time with 3:53 left in the first half. The six treys equaled or exceeded the team's full-game total for seven of Cal's first 11 games of the season.
The Bears started the game on a 14-2 run over the first 5:41 of the game, capped off by a Brandon Smith strip of Orlando Johnson, who had just swiped the ball from true freshman David Kravish. Smith went coast-to-coast for the lay-in to get the crowd buzzing, but it was Crabbe who brought the Cal faithful to their feet, sinking a three which just barely touched the last threads of the net as it went through.
Crabbe was not on as much of a rampage as Cobbs, but he still had one of his finer shooting nights of his season, sinking 7-of-15 from the field and 5-of-9 from three, with his first three buckets coming from beyond the arc. Crabbe also chipped in six rebounds and two assists in 38 minutes.