Cal was getting thumped by lowly USC at home Sunday, and then this happened: during a timeout, as the Bears players came over to the bench, coach Mike Montgomery directed his ire at his best player, Allen Crabbe. After shouting at him, Montgomery shoved him with two hands in his chest, as if to ask, ‘what the hell is wrong with you?’
Crabbe, not surprisingly, didn’t take it well. He said, ‘don’t push me’ and then kept talking before teammates stepped in to diffuse the situation. Then, Crabbe walked away from the bench to cool down.
Cal proceeded to go on a 44-24 run the rest of the game to beat the Trojans, 76-68. Said Crabbe afterward:
“Coach used his way to motivate me,” Crabbe said. “There’s nothing wrong with it; spur of the moment. He was trying to motivate me. Everything is fine. He’s my coach.”
Asked if the shove did indeed motivate him, Crabbe said, “Yeah, obviously. I think it woke me up. My teammates kept me up. They told me to keep my head in the game.”
Crabbe led the Bears with 23 points, including 14 after the shove.
Montgomery and the school apologized for the incident this morning. No mention in the apology about how the Bears, at 16-9, have vaulted themselves on the NCAA tournament bubble (RPI: 54, SOS: 35, 3-5 vs. the RPI Top 50).