RTC Live: CBE Classic SemifinalsPosted by Brian Goodman on November 21st, 2011
RTC Live comes to you from Kansas City for the semifinal rounds of the CBE Classic at Sprint Center. Four power conference schools will square off tonight, with Missouri facing Notre Dame in the first game and Pac-12 contender Cal meeting Georgia in the nightcap. Join us for the conversation on a busy Monday of Feast Week, after the jump.
Tonight, the Fighting Irish get fifth-year senior Tim Abromaitis back from a suspension stemming from his participation in a summer league. While he makes his official season debut this evening, Notre Dame won its first three games without him, most recently a 74-41 drubbing of Sam Houston State. Sophomore Eric Atkins has carried most of the weight and averages a team-leading 20 points per game in the early going on a hot 62.5% shooting clip. They’ll be in a de facto road environment against the Tigers, a team in transition with Frank Haith at the helm. Like Notre Dame, Missouri does most of its damage without relying on strength inside, though not by choice, as big man Laurence Bowers was lost for the season with a torn ACL. The Tigers are doing just fine without him, though, passing three early-season tests with a high-scoring offense that churns out 82.3 points per game.
Cal’s participation holds significance for freshman David Kravish, who hails from Lee’s Summit, a suburb just outside Kansas City, but the bigger story for the Golden Bears will be the play of Allen Crabbe and Jorge Gutierrez, Mike Montgomery’s two best players. They’ll go up against Georgia and head coach Mark Fox, who saw Gutierrez when he recruited the west coast in his last stint as head coach of the Nevada Wolfpack. The undefeated Bulldogs feature freshman Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, a 2011 McDonald’s All-American who hasn’t had any trouble adjusting to the next level, with averages of 13.3 points and 5.7 assists per game against just three total turnovers in the young season.
We’ll be here until the final horn, so stick with us!
The opener to Monday night’s CBE Classic involved one of the most complete performances of the early season. In convincing fashion, Missouri pummeled Notre Dame 87-58 in front of a partial semi-home crowd. Behind a huge night from Marcus Denmon (26 points on 9-11 shooting), the Tigers were lights-out, especially in the first half. Missouri shot 63% in the first half and led 52-37 at halftime despite laying a goose egg on the offensive glass. Monday night marked Tim Abromaitis’s return to game action, and while he wasted no time getting reacquainted, posting a team-high 22 points and 8 rebounds, he had little help, The rest of the team made just nine shots combined as the pressure of Denmon, Phil Pressey and Kim English stifled the Irish.
In the late game, Georgia hung with Cal for most of the first half before the Golden Bears reeled off 14 straight points to gain separation and win convincingly, 70-46. The second half was more of the same, with the Golden Bears disrupting passing lanes at every chance and showing a ton of awareness and smart decision-making on both ends of the floor. Harper Kamp and Jorge Gutierrez led the way offensively with 16 and 14 points, respectively. As it tends to be with Cal, defense was a big story as, as Mike Montgomery’s team cleaned up on the glass. Positives were hard to come by for the Bulldogs, but now that freshman phenom Kentavious Caldwell-Pope knows what he’s up against, the experience should serve him well in the long run.