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California uses big second half to beat McNeese State

Nov 29, 2011 - 7:23 AM Berkeley, CA (Sports Network) - Jorge Gutierrez dropped 26 points to go with six rebounds and five assists, leading No. 24 California to a 73-57 victory over McNeese State on Monday.

Allen Crabbe netted 20 points and pulled down six rebounds for the Golden Bears (6-1), who have won two straight since dropping a 92-53 decision to Missouri on November 22.

Patrick Richard paced McNeese State (3-3) with 18 points. Dontae Cannon tallied 15 points and five boards for the Cowboys, who had their two-game winning streak halted.

After a back-and-forth first half that saw neither team lead by more than four points, Cal escaped the opening 20 minutes of play with a 28-26 advantage after scoring the final six points.

"I just didn't think we were prepared for the game, mentally," California head coach Mike Montgomery said. "We didn't do much, yesterday. We had played four games in eight nights. We felt like what we needed was just to get up and down, break a sweat, and get away. We just weren't prepared to compete, and it showed."

In the second half, Cal woke up and played to its potential, outscoring McNeese State by a 45-31 margin.

The Golden Bears scored the first four points of the half and quickly built their lead up to 10, 38-28, just under four minutes into the half.

A three-pointer by Gutierrez with just under 11 1/2 minutes to go pushed the Cal lead to 15.

The Golden Bears shot 40 percent from the floor and 2-of-6 from downtown during a difficult first half, but shot 62.5 percent from the floor and 4-of-7 from three-point land in the second half.

"They turned it up a notch and I thought we got a little fatigued," McNeese State head coach Dave Simmons said. "They really took it to us for a stretch when they got the momentum going. I'm proud of my guys and this here was a better basketball team, no doubt. If we can play with those guys, then we can definitely play with people in our league."

Game Notes

Gutierrez's 26 points was a season-high and he has scored in double figures in every game this season...Cal is 25-3 in non-conference home games under head coach Mike Montgomery....Cal forward Richard Solomon tied a career-high with 10 rebounds..Cal had two players score at least 20 points in the same game for the first time this year...Cal held a 32-27 edge in the rebound column...Cal finished shooting 50 percent from the field, while the Cowboys shot 42.9 percent.