BERKELEY -- Cal basketball star Allen Crabbe, appearing uncomfortable and weary of the topic, told a throng of Bay Area reporters and TV cameras, "I'm over this. Me and my coach have settled everything. These questions can stop."

Of course, they didn't. The fallout from coach Mike Montgomery's sideline shove of the Bears' junior guard continued Tuesday with a far larger-than-usual turnout at the coach's weekly news conference.

Crabbe, who scored 14 of his 23 points after the incident late in the first half that sparked Cal's comeback win, called the media reaction "blown out of proportion."

California’s Allen Crabbe (23) celebrates a score against Southern California during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game on Feb. 17,
California's Allen Crabbe (23) celebrates a score against Southern California during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game on Feb. 17, 2013, in Berkeley.

Bay Area media outlets didn't agree. Cameras from Channels 2, 4, 5 and 7, along with CSN/NBC and FoxSports were on hand, along with radio stations KGO-810 and KCBS-740. Typically, few or none of them attend Cal's basketball press briefings.

Crabbe's tone was the same as it was post-game.

"Like I said, it was just an emotional game. Coach tried to get me fired up," said Crabbe, the Pac-12's scoring leader. "People may look at it as the wrong way to fire up a player. I didn't take anything negative out of the situation."

Crabbe said he doesn't believe Montgomery deserved to be suspended. When asked what the reaction might have been had he pushed Montgomery, instead of the other way around, Crabbe said, "I wouldn't put my hands on my coach."


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Montgomery said he has spent a couple sleepless nights since the Sunday incident.

"It's obvious I made a mistake," he said. "I feel very badly about it. There's no place in sports that you can basically put your hands on one of your student-athletes. Got a little carried away in the heat of the emotion of a basketball game.

"I apologized to Allen, I apologized to the team. In 30-plus years of coaching, it's never happened before. It's something I deeply regret. Not going to happen again."

Montgomery said his immediate post-game remarks, which included him saying, "It worked, didn't it?" and that he would do it again to get a win, were ill-advised and partly the result of being caught up in the euphoria of the victory.

"I probably hadn't realized the gravity of it," he conceded.

Likewise, Montgomery was unprepared for the reaction a day later.

Asked to respond to those who argue he should have been suspended for the incident, Montgomery said, "I am responsible to this university and my boss here. They're the ones who make that decision."

Montgomery, whose career at Stanford and Cal largely steered clear of headlines for the wrong reasons, said this has been an unusual couple days.

"It's a situation I always hoped to never be in, to be honest with you," he said. "Like I said, it was my fault. I'm a big boy. Got to live with the consequences. Had a long time avoiding controversy."

For more on Cal sports, see the Bear Talk blog at ibabuzz.com/beartalk. Follow Jeff Faraudo on Twitter at Twitter.com/CalBearsBANG.