Emotions Flare as Kansas Takes Down Cal
The Jayhawks are still undefeated and the Bears are still learning tough lessons after Wednesday night's 78-63 Kansas win at Haas Pavilion.
The game featured a handful of impressive performances by Jayhawks players, a game run at the nation's No. 3 team by the young Bears and a lot of extracurricular activity.
When it was all done, there were three technical fouls, one intentional foul, an ejection and a lot of barking between the benches. The game was dubbed the "Pete Newell Classic." It was not nearly as gentlemanly as the former Cal head coach.
"Things happen, that's sports," said Kansas coach Bill Self after the game. "Mike has a class team and we have a class team. Guys were competing. We didn't react very well to it. ... We had to get in the last word and we have got to learn from that."
Cal was trying to get coach Mike Montgomery his 600th career victory. But it was going to be an uphill climb even before the game started against one of the best teams in the nation.
In fact, it was, as the Bears played from behind most of the night.
Yet Montgomery's team was able to rally from a 47-30 deficit early in the second half with a 13-3 run to pull within 50-47 with less than 13 minutes to go.
And in the middle of that run, things got interesting.
Cal guard Jorge Gutierrez, the only returning starter from the Bears team that won the Pac-10 title last year, was scrambling for the loose ball with Kansas' Thomas Robinson, and things got ugly in the pile.
Bears forward Harper Kamp pulled Gutierrez from the pile by his feet, with Montgomery restraining his senior guard. The players on the benches started jawing, as did the assistant coaches.
"That was ridiculous," Self said. "We obviously contributed a great amount to it. Cal was chippy too. ...On the positive side, it was the most fun game we have played all year. Our guys liked that. They just need to learn to handle it better."
By the time it was sorted out, both Robinson and Gutierrez were hit with technical fouls. It was Gutierrez's fourth foul and it
took him out of the game for a long, crucial stretch.
A little more than a minute before, Kansas' Marcus Morris was ejected for throwing an elbow at Kamp under the basket. Self said Morris will be "punished big time" for his actions.
"We have been waiting for this game for a long time," said Cal center Markhuri Sanders-Frison, who finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds in 25 minutes. "We knew it was going to be a physical game."
Was it something more than that?
"No, just physical, two teams going real hard, that was it," Sanders-Frison said.
Montgomery said he was surprised to see the game go that way.
"Obviously, both teams reacted to the other team," Montgomery said. "We went out, we wanted to compete, stuff happened and there's a reaction both ways. No, I didn't expect that."
Kansas was led by Markieff Morris' 21 points and 10 rebounds. Fabulous freshman Josh Selby pitched in 18 points, as did guard Tyrel Reed.
Kansas (11-0) completed its Pac-10 tour with a sweep, having beaten Arizona, UCLA, USC and now Cal.
This was the biggest margin of victory in the bunch.
The Bears (6-5) have one game left before the Pac-10 season begins, a Tuesday night home game against Hartford.
They have lost three of the last four games after an early-season that included wins over No. 20 Temple, New Mexico and Iowa State.
Cal hurt its own cause against Kansas by committing 17 turnovers and missing 14 free throws. Gutierrez, who played just 28 minutes because of foul trouble, led Cal with 15 points.
The Bears shot 30 percent in the second half and 4 of 22 beyond the 3-point line.
"The free throw situation is scary because we were getting to the basket, getting foul calls ... and that's 14 points that we gave away," Montgomery said. "There's points you don't get and against a team like that you can't do that. To go down and make a great play, get to the basket, get fouled and don't get anything or come away with one (point), that's discouraging."
And there's no solace in showing the kind of toughness that lets a team know you can't be pushed around, but not enough toughness to stick around in a big game against a highly-ranked team.
"It shows we have a lot of heart," Sanders-Frison said. "We always play hard. Everybody is always doubting us, saying we are not going to be that good this year. We just want to prove we belong."
Montgomery boiled it down.
"These guys will compete, you can see that," Montgomery said. "We have to get smarter and we have to get better performances."