TIGERS AND BEARS, OH BOY
It’s Missouri and California for the Progressive CBE Classic title.
Missouri’s Marcus Denmon figured he had about 30 friends and family members inside the Sprint Center on Monday night, taking advantage of the chance to see the hometown kid made good.
Denmon certainly gave them something to remember.
The senior guard poured in 26 points, Phil Pressey added 17 and the No. 21 Tigers used a big run spanning halftime to knock off Notre Dame 87-58 in the semifinals of the Progressive CBE Classic.
Ricardo Ratliffe added 12 points and Kim English had 10 for Missouri (4-0), which shot 63.3 percent from the field while building a 52-37 lead by halftime. The Tigers scored the first six points out of the break to put things away early, punching their ticket to the championship game.
Tim Abromaitis returned from a four-game suspension to score 22 points with seven rebounds for Notre Dame. Scott Martin added 12 points, the only other player in double figures, as the Fighting Irish shot just 25 percent (7 of 28) from the field in the second half.
“Flat out, men versus boys,” Irish coach Mike Brey said. “They’re really good, they’re really mature. It was the varsity playing the JV at times.”
In the evening’s second semifinal affair, Harper Kamp was perfect from the field and finished with 16 points, Jorge Gutierrez added 14 and No. 20 California cruised into the Progressive CBE Classic championship game with a 70-46 rout of Georgia.
Justin Cobbs added 10 points off the bench for California, which still hasn’t been tested this season. The Golden Bears led UC Irvine, George Washington and Austin Peay by at least 20 early on, and built their lead to that much against Georgia with 13:11 left in the second half.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 10 to lead the Bulldogs (3-1), but he shot just 4 of 13 from the field and the team wound up shooting 33 percent – including 4-19 from beyond the 3-point line.Gerald Robinson and Nemanja Djurisic each added nine points for Georgia.
The Bulldogs actually led 25-22 with about five minutes left in the first half when Caldwell-Pope scored on a dunk in transition and Djurisic was credited with a basket after goaltending.
Brandon Smith’s only points of the first 20 minutes stopped the Bulldogs’ brief flurry and began California’s half-ending 14-0 run. Allen Crabbe hit a go-ahead 3-pointer, Kamp converted a three-point play and Gutierrez added another short basket.
Cal and Missouri will play for the Progressive CBE Classic championship following the consolation match between Notre Dame and Georgia, which starts at 7:45pm (ET). That game will air on ESPNU while the title game will be seen on ESPN2.
– Associated Press