DAYTON, Ohio — Cal's players knew they were facing a tough defensive team Wednesday night in USF, but what the Golden Bears didn't expect was a sharp-shooting Bulls team that would hit 15 of its first 21 shots from the field.
"They made pretty much every open shot they took," Cal senior Harper Kamp said after the Bulls' 65-54 win. "I think it's really our fault as players for maybe underestimating them at times. Maybe the reason they got that reputation for being a mediocre offensive team is because they play against great defensive teams every night. … We were a mediocre defensive team tonight."
USF jumped out to a 15-3 lead, getting eight points from freshman Anthony Collins, and the Bulls helped themselves by going 4-for-7 on 3-pointers in the first half, something Cal coach Mike Montgomery didn't see coming.
"If you look statistically at their team … they were not a very good 3-point shooting team," Montgomery said. "We felt like they were an in-the-paint team, and yet they shot it in right, just made baskets from 3. And then at one point it was 22-2 in the paint. We couldn't do anything about keeping the ball (out of) the paint."
FRESHMAN POISE: Montgomery had particular praise for Collins, who had only one assist but went 6-for-9 from the field for 12 points and had only one turnover under a huge spotlight.
"The one thing about it is that little guard is good," Montgomery said. "And he doesn't lose his poise out there. He controls the tempo. … He has the ball and he's not fazed with the late shot clock. He splits it and he gets it where he wants it to go."
THIS AND THAT: Icing on the cake for USF fans? Cal's director of operations is Gregg Gottlieb, whose brother Doug, an ESPN radio personality, has been outspoken in questioning whether USF deserved to be in the NCAAs. … The Big East improved to 5-1 against Pac-12 schools with USF's win. … Montgomery's teams (Cal and Stanford) had won their NCAA opener in 11 of his previous 12 appearances. … USF's women's team opens play in the Women's NIT tonight against Florida Atlantic in the USF Rec Center. The Bulls (17-15) have made the WNIT seven times in the past nine seasons and won the tournament in 2009.