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."
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."
"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."
— JEFF FARAUDO