Bears’ Comeback Bid Falls Short in Colorado


Jan 27, 2013; Boulder, CO, USA; in the first half of the game against the California Golden Bears at the Coors Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Despite a strong effort by Justin Cobbs and Allen Crabbe to keep the game within reach, the Cal Golden Bears (11-8, 3-4 Pac-12) are returning home from their Rocky Mountain road trip with another split, falling to Colorado 81-71.  The game featured the league’s top scorer in Allen Crabbe and the nation’s top rebounder in Andre Roberson, but many others played a vital role in the outcome of the game.

The Buffaloes (14-6, 4-4) had four starters in double figures, including a strong performance from their other guard, Askia Booker, who led the way for CU with 20 points.  The sophomore guard made two quick 3-point shots in the first four minutes and never looked back, shooting 75% from the field and going 4-6 from beyond the arc.  They also got a strong contribution from freshman Xavier Johnson, who had a double-double with 18 points and 12 boards.  Of course, Spencer Dinwiddie and Andre Roberson got theirs too, adding 16 and 15 points, respectively.

Cal went into the half down 18-34, and their demise seemed almost inevitable within the opening minutes of the game.  They quickly entered into a transition game, but could not capitalize on any of the misses by Colorado.  Additionally, the Bears’ backcourt of Allen Crabbe and Justin Cobbs was held in check, scoring only 10 points.  Also, the role players could not get it going; David Kravish and Richard Solomon had trouble against Roberson and Johnson inside, unable to matchup against their more athletic counterparts.

However, in the waning minutes, the two guards took their game to another level.  The lead was up to 18 with under nine minutes left, but the Bears did not quit.  Picking up their defense, the Bears scrambled, creating shots off transition and actually making them.  The backcourt caught heat, and they started to close the gap.  Crabbe scored 17 of his 21 points, and Cobbs scored 16 of his 22.  Cobbs hit a three with just over a minute to play to close the deficit to eight, but the game was finished as the Buffs did not miss their free throws.

This was a particularly top-heavy performance for Cal, and though the Cobbs outburst was encouraging given his sub-par conference play, they need more from the role players to win games and secure a better seed in the conference tournament.  They can start out this Thursday with their game against Oregon State.  Colorado will travel to Salt Lake City next Saturday to take on Utah.