Cal basketball coach Mike Montgomery had some explaining to do following Cal's comeback win over USC on Sunday night. Down 12 early in the second half, Montgomery got in a heated exchange with guard Allen Crabbe and pushed him in the chest. A few teammates intervened to calm Crabbe down. After a foul was called and Crabbe regained his composure away from the bench, Montgomery put the junior right back into the game.
Cal rallied back and went on to win 76-68, with Crabbe recording 23 points and 10 rebounds.
WATCH SHOVE ABOVE
"It worked didn't it?... We were standing around. Nobody was ready to play. Allen had come down twice, he'd gone to the wrong side of the floor and his guy shot two threes in. I was trying to get him going," Montgomery said after the game. "Probably over-exaggerated, but I think what over-exaggerated was everybody jumping up and grabbing a hold of him like there was a deal. So I probably overdid it a little bit but Allen is my guy. I need him. I need him to be going. We can't win if he's not ready to play."
Crabbe said the shove was "just coach using his way of motivating me."
"But everything's fine. It's under the bridge," said Crabbe. "He's my coach, no hard feelings. We're just going to keep moving on."
Following the incident and postgame press conferences, both Montgomery and Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour released a statement, via the Mercury News.
"Sunday's game was an emotional one for everyone who cares deeply about our men's basketball program, and the Bears certainly showed tremendous resolve coming back to earn a win over USC. However, it is unacceptable for our coaches to have physical contact with student-athletes regardless of the circumstances. The second-half incident was certainly out of character for Mike Montgomery, and I am confident that something like this will not happen again."
"I have great passion for this game and tonight, I let my emotions get away from me in the heat of the moment. While my intent was to motivate our student-athletes, my behavior was inappropriate and I apologize for my actions."