- Blair Angulo, Reporter, WeAreSC.com
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A few notes to preview Thursday night's home game against California:
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS
California (9-8, 2-3 Pac-10)
C Mark Sanders-Frison (10.1 points, 8.1 rebounds)
F Harper Kamp (13.8 points, 5.6 rebounds)
G Allen Crabbe (11.1 points, 5.5 rebounds)
G Jorge Gutierrez (12.2 points, 4.0 assists)
G Brandon Smith (4.5 points, 3.3 assists)
UCLA (11-6, 3-2 Pac-10)
F Brendan Lane (3.9 points, 4.4 rebounds)
F Reeves Nelson (13.9 points, 7.8 rebounds)
F Tyler Honeycutt (13.4 points, 7.9 rebounds)
G Malcolm Lee (12.4 points, 1.7 assists)
G Lazeric Jones (10.4 points, 3.2 assists)
Tyler Honeycutt vs. Allen Crabbe -- Maybe Gary Franklin's transfer was for the better of Cal basketball. With local product Allen Crabbe (Los Angeles, Calif./Price) leading the charge, it sure looks that way. Crabbe, last year's Gatorade State Player of the Year, has averaged 17.4 points in five Pac-10 games, highlighted by a breakout, 30-point performance against Washington State last week. He has netted an average of 20 points since Franklin (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei) departed Jan. 5.
"It's coming easy to me now," Crabbe told reporters at Cal's weekly news conference. "The more I'm playing, I'm just getting into the flow and letting it come to me instead of thinking too much."
That leaves Tyler Honeycutt with a big chore Thursday night. It promises to be an interesting battle on both ends. Can Honeycutt, who is coming off a season-low seven points, squeeze every inch out of his height advantage?
"He's 6-8, so that's going to be a challenge," said the 6-foot-6 Crabbe. "Honeycutt is a good player, a really good player. Playing against good people, I tend to step up. I believe in myself. It's going to be a good matchup."
ABOUT THE GOLDEN BEARS
Cal, a No. 8 seed in last year's NCAA tournament, lost to eventual champion Duke, 68-53, in the second round. ... Coach Ben Howland has enjoyed success against the Golden Bears. Howland's teams are 15-6 against Cal. ... On the flip side, Cal coach Mike Montgomery is 55-30 (.647) in his two-plus seasons in Berkeley. It's the best winning percentage for a Cal coach since Pete Newell (.730) was at the helm from 1955 to 1960. ... Cal knocked UCLA out of the Pac-10 tournament last year, slashing the Bruins' hopes of going dancing. Michael Roll's career-high 27 points were not enough, as UCLA fell 85-72 in the semifinals at Staples Center.
BEARS MIGRATING HOME
Crabbe is one of five Southern California players on Cal's roster. The others are: Bak Bak (Sun Valley, Calif./Village Christian), Nigel Carter (Los Angeles, Calif./Dorsey) and Richard Solomon (Los Angeles, Calif./Price). Justin Cobbs (Los Angeles, Calif./Bishop Montgomery) is sitting out this season after transferring from Minnesota.
"I think it's going to be a fun weekend," Crabbe said. "I'll get to see friends and family at the games. ... I've been waiting for this weekend for the longest. I'll get to play against some L.A. guys that I used to play against in high school. ... It's just going to be fun playing in front of them. Many of them haven't seen me play since high school. ... I considered UCLA, it was one the schools I wanted to go to when I was younger, but I'm glad I'm here. Cal is a good fit for me."