TIGERS ROAR TO PROGRESSIVE CBE TITLE
Kim English had 19 points to lead six Tigers in double figures and No. 21 Missouri dominated No. 20 California 92-53 on Tuesday night to win the Progressive CBE Classic.
Marcus Denmon added 18 points and was the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Matt Pressey had 13 points and Michael Dixon finished with 11 for the Tigers (5-0), who won the event just a couple hours’ drive from their campus in Columbia for the second time in four appearances.
Missouri built a 45-26 lead by halftime and the outcome was never in doubt over the final 20 minutes, with coach Frank Haith pulling his starters with a few minutes left in the game.
Jorge Gutierrez scored 11 points to lead Cal (4-1), but fouled out with 11:12 remaining. Richard Solomon also fouled out with more than 7 minutes left and finished with nine points.
The Tigers used relentless man-to-man, half-court pressure to force the guard-oriented Golden Bears into a plethora of early turnovers, and the result was a lot of easy points.
After a free throw by Allen Crabbe got Cal within 19-14 with just under 10 minutes left in the first half, the Tigers went on a 12-2 spurt in which five different players scored. Phil Pressey’s bucket with 7:29 left prompted Cal coach Mike Montgomery to call timeout, but Dixon added a 3-pointer moments later off a feed from Denmon to keep the run going.
Denmon’s two free throws made it 31-16 with 5:55 remaining in the half.
Missouri showed over two games in Kansas City that it has made a flawless transition from the fast-paced, “40 minutes of hell” style of former coach Mike Anderson to a style employed by Haith that values scrappy defense, transition baskets and lights-out shooting.
All of which was on display Tuesday night.
The Golden Bears never managed to get into a rhythm, settling for a series of off-balance jumpers, awkward shots at the rim and contested 3-pointers – when they got a shot off at all.
Just as often, it seemed, California was coughing up the ball. The 14 turnovers it had in the first half were two shy of its season high, set against Austin Peay last week, and one fewer than it had in the semifinals against Georgia the previous night. Jorge Gutierrez scored 11 points to lead Cal (4-1), but fouled out with 11:12 remaining. Richard Solomon also fouled out with more than 7 minutes left and finished with nine points.
In the consolation game, freshman guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led Georgia (4-1) with a career-high 16 points and five rebounds as the Bulldogs took a 61-57 decision from Notre Dame. Caldwell-Pope has had double-digit point performances in every game this season.
Sophomore forward Marcus Thornton led Georgia on the boards with eight rebounds.
“It was a hard fought win,” said head coach Mark Fox. “This is another terrific game for us to learn from, as was last night, but it’s good to leave here with a quality win.”
The Bulldogs’ offense was kick started by junior guard Vincent Williams who scored a career-high eight points in his first collegiate start.
“I felt like Vincent was going make an impact. He’s a tough little guy…He brought out a great competitive spirit to start the game for us tonight,” Fox said.
As a team, Georgia went 12-26 from behind the arc and was plus-14 in rebounding margin, both season bests.
Georgia jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead, but a stingy Notre Dame team brought the game to a 15-15 tie midway through the first half. Georgia trailed by as many as five in the half, but took the halftime lead, 31-29, off of a Sherrard Brantley 3-pointer with just three seconds remaining.
Early in the second half, Georgia extended its lead to 42-34 off of senior guard Dustin Ware’s third three-pointer of the night. However, Notre Dame went on a 10-2 run, capped off by a pair of free throws to tie the game at 53 with 5:11 remaining. Three Georgia possessions later, Caldwell-Pope hit his fourth triple of the night to put Georgia back on top for good, 56-53.
– Associated Press