Basketball: Cal loses again in Vegas, despite career high 27 points from freshman Jaylen Brown

Freshman Jaylen Brown scored 27 points but Cal struggled defensively in a 94-90 loss to Richmond in the third-place game of the Las Vegas Invitational.

The No. 14 Bears (4-2) are almost certain to drop out of the Top-25 after losing on consecutive nights at the Orleans Arena.

Brown, coming off a seven-point effort against San Diego State in which he fouled out, hit 11 of 16 shots to score a career high.

But Terry Allen scored 34 points for the Spiders (4-2), including 11 of 12 from the free throw line. Richmond shot 31 for 39 at the line, as Cal committed 25 fouls.

Richmond scored 50 second-half points.

Cal was efficient enough on offense, converting nearly 54 percent of its shots and turning the ball over just eight times a night after it shot 37 percent with 15 giveaways.

Tyrone Wallace had 15 points, Ivan Rabb contributed 13 points and seven rebounds and Jabari Bird scored a season-high 12. Sam Singer scored 12 points off the bench, which provided the Bears 18 points.

Sharpshooting guard Jordan Mathews was just 1 for 8 from the floor and scored a season-low three points.


Basketball: Second-half collapse dooms Cal vs. SDSU

Up 15 points less than 3 minutes into the second half, the Cal basketball team wilted under San Diego State’s pressure defense and lost its first game of the season, 72-58, in the semifinals of the Las Vegas Invitational on Thurday night at the Orleans Arena.

The 14th-ranked Bears (4-1), playing away from home for the first time, led 45-30 after Jordan Mathews made a jumper with 17:24 left.

The Aztecs (4-2) outscored them 42-13 the rest of the way.

Cal shot 0 for 5 and turned the ball over twice in seven possessions after mounting its biggest lead. On their next 26 times with the ball after going up 45-30, the Bears shot 3 for 17 from the field, 1 for 4 from the foul line and turned the ball over eight times.

Barely tested at home while starting 4-0 against overmatched opponents, Cal showed little toughness or poise when things went sideways against the Aztecs. Bad shots by the Bears led to easy run-out baskets by SDSU, and Cal could never string together enough defensive stops to give its offense a chance to regroup.

In Friday’s third-place game, the Bears face Richmond (3-2), a 67-59 loser to West Virginia in the other Vegas semifinal. The game tips off at 5 p.m. on FoxSports1.

Freshman forward Ivan Rabb had 19 points on 7-for-10 shooting and grabbed nine rebounds for the Bears. Senior guard Tyrone Wallace had 16 points and five rebounds, but also five of the Bears’ 15 turnovers.

Mathews shot 4 for 13 and scored 10 points.

Freshman Jaylen Brown, coming off back-to-back double-doubles, had seven points and three rebounds before fouling out. And Jabari Bird, who had scored at least 10 points in each of Cal’s first four games, shot just once and was scoreless.

Cal shot 37.5 percent and missed eight free throws. The Bears’ bench players were outscored 34-7.


Football: Cal officially cleared for bowl game

Cal is officially cleared to play in a bowl game.

The Bears got word Wednesday that their season-opening 73-14 victory over Grambling State will count toward the six wins they need to be eligible to play in a bowl game.

Grambling, a Football Championship Subdivision school, confirmed to Cal that it meets the minimum requirements on scholarship totals so that the victory does count, per NCAA rules.

Spokesman Wes Mallette said Cal then confirmed with the NCAA that it is officially cleared to participate in the postseason.

Cal (6-5, 3-5 Pac-12) closes its regular-season schedule Saturday night at home against Arizona State.

The Bears became bowl eligible two weeks ago with a 54-24 win over Oregon State.


Football: Does Cal need an NCAA waiver to assure Grambling win counts toward bowl eligibility?

Does Cal actually have the six victories it needs to become bowl eligible this season?

The USA Today is reporting that the school has requested a waiver from the NCAA Football Oversight Committee that will allow its season-opening win over Grambling State to count toward the six wins necessary to play in a bowl game.

At issue, according to the story, is whether Grambling awarded enough athletic financial aid as a Football Championship Subdivision opponent to qualify it as an opponent that counts toward the six-win minimum without an NCAA waiver.

 Cal issued the following statement on Tuesday afternoon:

“At this time, we have received assurances from Grambling and are fully confident that the program meets the NCAA requirements. We believe our game against Grambling will count toward bowl eligibility. We filed a waiver with the NCAA as a precaution in the very unlikely event that Grambling’s calculations do not meet the NCAA requirements.”

According to NCAA rules, Football Bowl Subdivision teams can schedule one game against an FCS opponent, but for the game to count toward bowl qualification without a waiver, the FCS program must award, based on a two-year rolling average, at least 90 percent of the 63 scholarships allowed.

Cal spokesman Wes Mallette told USA Today the university requested the waiver “as a fallback option in the unlikely event that Grambling’s calculation does not meet the NCAA requirements. But Grambling has told us and we believe strongly that the requirement has been met and this will not be an issue.”

The USA Today story said Cal has been working with Grambling officials to determine whether the Tigers meet the standard. Cal was not aware of the potential problem until last week, the story said.

Cal is expecting to play in its first bowl game since 2011 when it lost 21-10 to Texas in the Holiday Bowl.

The Bears, who are 6-5 overall and 3-5 in Pac-12 play, secured their sixth victory two weeks ago with a 54-24 verdict over Oregon State.

Cal faces Arizona State on Saturday night in its regular-season finale. Kickoff is 7 p.m. on FoxSports1.

Check back for updates on this story.


Football notebook: Where will Cal go bowling?

Cal and Arizona State both are bowl eligible heading into their matchup Saturday night at Memorial Stadium, and the winner could wind up securing a berth in the Jan. 2 Cactus Bowl in Tempe.

That’s the Pac-12’s No. 7 bowl slot and the Bears (6-5, 3-5 Pac-12), at least, cannot ascend any higher than seventh in the final overall conference pecking order. ASU (6-5, 4-4) could climb higher, depending on how other teams fare.

ESPN’s Mark Schlabach projects Cal to face Air Force in the Cactus Bowl, while Jerry Palm of CBS Sports has the Bears playing in Tempe against Texas Tech, which is Dykes’ alma mater.

The Bears also could fall to a game with no contractual ties to the Pac-12. Stewart Mandel of Fox has them playing Duke at the Independence Bowl on Dec. 26 in Shreveport, Louisiana, and the website Campus Insiders projects Cal against Air Force at the Armed Forces Bowl on Dec. 29 in Fort Worth, Texas.

Cal will play in a bowl game for the first time since 2011, when it lost 21-10 to Texas in the Holiday Bowl.

Nine Pac-12 teams already have six wins to become eligible and Washington could become the 10th on Friday with a win over rival Washington State in the Apple Cup.


Senior safety Griffin Piatt is lost for the season after breaking his collarbone in the second half at Stanford on Saturday. The Bears also will face ASU without safety Damariay Drew (knee), who was injured the week before, but could return in time for a bowl game.

Senior starter Stefan McClure will be paired with either Luke Rubenzer or Khari Vanderbilt.


Piatt (3.63 grade-point average/business administration), senior defensive lineman Todd Barr (3.18/legal studies) and junior placekicker Matt Anderson (3.75/business administration) all earned first-team Pac-12 All-Academic honors. Rubenzer (3.38/undeclared) earned second-team honors.


Football: Cal braces for Arizona State blitz tactics

Bryce Treggs is asking an awful lot from the Cal offensive line in Saturday night’s regular-season finale against an Arizona State that shares the national lead in sacks.

“They definitely bring an abnormal amount of pressure,” the Bears’ senior wide receiver said. “I told the line if they hold them for 10 seconds, that’s all we need to get open.”

Ten seconds?

“No, I mean two seconds. Sorry.”

“I’d prefer 10,” quarterback Jared Goff said, laughing.

No one gets much time against the Sun Devils, whose 44 sacks are 10 more than any other team in the Pac-12. They had eight just last week against Arizona.

Cal coach Sonny Dykes said most defenses tip off their blitz plans pre-snap, but ASU comes from all angles and rarely gives it away.

“They do a nice job of disguising what they do,” he said.

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Basketball: Golden Bears excited for Vegas trip

Appropriately, the main course of 14th-ranked Cal’s nonconference schedule will be served on Thanksgiving.

The Bears (4-0) cruised through their final pre-holiday appetizer, using career-high totals of 18 points and 11 rebounds from freshman Jaylen Brown to post an 89-63 win over Sam Houston State in front of an announced crowd of 8,492 at Haas Pavilion.

Rice, UC Santa Barbara, East Carolina and the Bearkats of Huntsville, Texas are all in Cal’s rear-view mirror.

Now the Bears find out if they’re deserving of all the early hype and their national ranking at the Las Vegas Invitational.

Cal faces San Diego State (3-2) in the Thursday semifinal of the Vegas event, tipping off at 9 p.m. on FoxSports1. The Bears will take on either West Virginia (4-0) or Richmond (3-1) on Friday.

“I think our guys are excited to play in Vegas,” Cal coach Cuonzo Martin said. “We have a good team — I know that. You have to still win games to measure yourself.”

For Brown and fellow freshman Ivan Rabb, Vegas will provide the stiffest tests of their young college careers.

“They’ll be ready for it,” Martin said. “You’re never ready for something you’ve never seen. Physically and skill-wise they’re ready. It’s part of going through it, but they won’t be afraid.”

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Basketball: Brown, Wallace lead Cal to easy win

Freshman Jaylen Brown had career-high totals of 18 points and 11 rebounds and No. 14 Cal eased past Sam Houston State 89-63 in front of an announced crowd of 8,492 fans at Haas Pavilion on Monday night.

The Bears (4-0) used a fastbreak-fueled 15-0 run late in the first half to take charge. Cal scored eight points in a span of 75 seconds to break open a 23-20 game.

Brown dunked a putback, then stole the ball and fed Tyrone Wallace for a fastbreak basket, before Wallace returned the favor with a steal and feed to Brown for a dunk. Wallace scored seconds later on a 2-on-1 break off a pass from Sam Singer.

The Cal lead reached 38-20 before the Bearkats (2-2) from the Southland Conference ended a 6½-minute drought.

Jordan Mathews also scored 18 points and Wallace had 17 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

Cal resumes play on Thanksgiving at the Las Vegas Invitational against San Diego State (3-2). The Bears will play Friday against either West Virginia (4-0) or Richmond (3-1).

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Football: Jonathan Johnson likely to have surgery

Cal coach Sonny Dykes said Sunday evening that defensive end Jonathan Johnson is likely to have knee surgery and won’t play again this season.

The senior from Pittsburgh injured the knee two Saturdays ago against Oregon State, and did not play in the Bears’ 35-22 Big Game loss at Stanford. Johnson started five games this season and had 20 tackles, including two sacks and four tackles for loss.

Also scratched for Saturday’s regular-season finale against Arizona State is safety Damariay Drew (knee), who could return in time for a bowl game, per Dykes. Drew is the Bears’ second-leading tackler with 64 in 10 games.

Senior running back Daniel Lasco (ankle) remains questionable for ASU but junior Khalfani Muhammad (foot) is expected back.


Dykes said he did not meet Sunday with Cal athletic director Michael Williams.


Basketball: Cal takes on Sam Houston State

The fifteenth-ranked Cal basketball team (3-0) take on the Sam Houston State Bearkats (1-2) on Monday night at Haas Pavilion. Tipoff is 8 p.m. on the Pac-12 Networks.

This is the Bears’ final tuneup before facing San Diego State and either West Virginia or Richmond on Thursday and Friday at the Las Vegas Invitational.

The Bearkats of the Southland Conference may not be much of a test. Their lone victory so far was a 114-92 win over St. Thomas, an NAIA program from Texas. Sam Houston opened the season with an 85-50 loss at SMU and, most recently, dropped an 86-81 overtime decision to Southern Illinois.

The Bearkats’ best player is Dakarai Henderson, a 6-foot-2 junior guard, who averages 20.7 points and has scored at least 17 in each game so far. Forward Aurimas Majauskas of Lithuania and guard Ameer Jackson each average 13.7 points.


Senior point guard Tyrone Wallace needs just seven points to move ahead of ex-teammate David Kravish and into the No. 20 spot on Cal’s career list. Wallace currently has 1,260 points, and is averaging 21.3 points through three games.