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Duke's Nolan Smith (2) blows past California's Patrick Christopher (23) during the first half. Duke defeated California, 68-53, in the second round of the men's NCAA Tournament in Jacksonville, Florida, Sunday, March 21, 2010. (Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT)

Christopher's final game unsightly from the start

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The only souvenir Patrick Christopher took home from the NCAA tournament was a swollen left eyebrow decorated by four stitches.

Cal's two-time all-conference senior took an errant elbow from Duke's Jon Scheyer less than 30 seconds into their second-round game Sunday and left the floor for nearly seven minutes.

The Bears trailed just 14-11 when he returned, but Christopher never seemed himself again. The school's No. 3 all-time scorer, he managed just two points on 1-for-4 shooting — his lowest-scoring game in more than two years.

"I really can't explain what happened with my eye. That was just really, really weird," he said. "I tried to come back in and do the best that I can. I don't know if I took a shot attempt in the second half."

He didn't.

Christopher said Duke denied him the ball "probably the best I've ever seen. They topped me (with a second defender) so much that I couldn't even come off a screen."

Point guard Jerome Randle said the Bears missed Christopher during his early absence.

"Patrick not playing seven minutes of the game, it messed with our team mentally," Randle said. "Getting stitches in your head, I don't think anybody's going to come back themselves after getting banged in the head like that."

  • Cal forward Jamal Boykin, who began his career at Duke, had team-high totals of 13 points and 11 rebounds against the Blue Devils.

    "To imagine this is the last time we'll put on a California uniform and play, it hasn't sunk in yet," said Boykin, one of five graduating seniors. "You win games, you lose games, but at the end of the day it's about the relationships you build. These four guys are my brothers."

  • Randle's 12 points pushed his school-record career total to 1,835 points, sixth-most in Bay Area Division I history. Christopher is third all-time at Cal with exactly 1,700 points, and Theo Robertson, who had 10 points Sunday, sits 16th with 1,315 points. Including Boykin's 929 career points, the four senior starters combined for 5,782 points during their time at Cal.

  • "Who would have imagined two years ago that we would have won the Pac-10 Conference, played into the second round of the NCAA, won 24 games. We made a tremendous amount of progress as a group. ... They learned how to play together. They learned how to win games." — Cal coach Mike Montgomery

    — JEFF FARAUDO