Cal clings to narrow halftime lead

BERKELEY -- No. 20 California had its second-worst first-half shooting performance of the season on Monday night against McNeese State, going just 12-of-40 from the field as the Bears clunk to a slim 28-26 lead at the half.
Cal had to scrape just to get that, thanks to a three-pointer at the buzzer by sophomore wing Allen Crabbe, who committed two of the Bears' six turnovers in a sloppy first half that saw a total of 11 turnovers between the two teams.
Cal shot 0-for-6 from three-point land until Crabbe and senior guard Jorge Gutierrez nailed two treys in the final minute. Gutierrez led all scorers with 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting, marking the sixth time this season that he's been in double figures.
The shooting woes were spread all around, as sophomore Richard Solomon -- who has shored up his play down low of late, pulling down five boards in the first half -- shot 0-for-4, including 0-for-1 from three. Solomon has yet to hit a three-pointer this year in four tries.
In 12 first-half minutes, even sophomore Justin Cobbs -- who came in shooting 48.8 percent -- could not find his stroke, going 0-for-3 from the floor and 0-for-1 from three, as the Bears saw zero points scored off the bench.
Neither team shot particularly well, with the Cowboys shooting 12-for-29 in the first half, led by guard Dontae Cannon, who hit five of seven from the field.
McNeese State's big weapon in the first half was forward Patrick Richard, who scored eight points, pulled down three boards and recorded two blocked shots.
Cal was pressured for much of the first half, and drew seven personal fouls from the Cowboys, but could not capitalize, shooting 2-for-8 from the free-throw line. Crabbe could not get a handle on his outside shot for much of the first stanza, and could not capitalize when driving the lane, going 0-for-3 from the charity stripe.