BERKELEY, Calif. — Because Wednesday night’s NIT game against Utah Valley was not a regular-season game, Cal students weren't given free admission to the event.
However, in order to get a decent student contingent out for the game, the Cal basketball program “provided financial support” so students would show up to support the Bears.
“Students are what this is all about,” said Cal coach Mike Montgomery. “You love to build a really strong student base of kids that love to come to basketball games, have fun and get a little study break. I am glad we were able to help with that. Hopefully we get a great turnout to watch our guys and they get involved in the excitement.”
A pretty good student crowd filled the student section opposite the team benches, including loud band members with straw hats. However, the rest of the crowd was pretty sparse, probably less than half of the 8,408 season average crowd.
Utah Valley had a pretty good group on hand, approximately 75 fans who sat directly behind the UVU bench.
PRIOR PAC-12 SUCCESS: Utah Valley teams had played twice before at Cal’s Haas Pavilion without much success. In 2006, the Wolverines lost to the Bears 60-47 and in 2009 they lost 85-51.
However, the Wolverines have had success on the road against other Pac-12 schools, defeating Arizona State 75-71 in 2005 and Oregon State 70-68 in 2010.
GAME NOTES: This marked UVU's second postseason appearance. The Wolverines lost to Weber State in the first round of the CIT in 2012. ... The Bears have advanced to the postseason all six years under Montgomery with four NCAA appearances and two NITs. ... The Bears lost to another Utah team, the University of Utah, exactly two weeks earlier on the same court. ... Holton Hunsaker and Ben Aird were both named first-team All-WAC, while Dick Hunsaker was named Coach of the Year. ... Coach Hunsaker and Cal’s Montgomery have known each other since Hunsaker played basketball for Weber State in the 1970s and Montgomery was an assistant at Boise State.