Basketball: A good New Year’s Eve for Bears

The final day of 2008 proved to be a good one for the Cal basketball team, even though it didn’t play.

Two teams the Bears beat during the non-conference schedule posted big wins today, which will reflect well on Cal in the computer rankings. Utah knocked off Gonzaga 66-65 and UNLV got out of Louisville with a 56-55 victory.

The Bears began Wednesday at No. 27 in the Sagarin ratings. We’ll see if they get a little bump on Thursday.

Happy New Year!


Football: Coming soon…

…a thorough review of the season. Starting next week, I will review the season position-by-position, looking at what what went wrong, what went right, and what has to be done in the future. In the meantime, stay tuned tomorrow for my season-ending review in the paper. I hope everyone has a Happy New Year!


Basketball: March2March show to begin

The March2March college basketball radio show will begin its new run on KNBR 1050 this Saturday.

The program, hosted by Eddy Kleinhans and Matt Foley, will be held from 8 to 9 a.m. each Saturday during the college basketball season.

All of Bay Area basketball will be the focus, and the program’s guests will include local cooaches and players along with media members.


Basketball: Sagarin computer likes Cal

With the start of conference play just four days away, here are this morning’s latest Sagarin computer ratings for teams from the Pac-10:

13. Arizona State (10-1)

19. Stanford (9-0)

28. Cal (10-2)

29. UCLA (10-2)

49. Arizona (8-3)

55. Washington (8-3)

66. Washington State (8-4)

67. USC (9-3)

129. Oregon (5-6)

220. Oregon State (4-5)


Basketball: Portland wrapup

Here’s today’s game story on Cal’s 81-61 victory over Portland Sunday night in the championship game of the Golden Bear Classic.

Game Summary

HEADLINER: Junior forward Jamal Boykin had 19 points and 12 rebounds for his first double-double of the season.
MOMENT THAT MATTERED: Cal scored 13 straight points over a span of 2:42 early in the game to open a 17-5 lead they never relinquished. Jerome Randle had two 3-pointers and assisted on another during the run.
 — MAGIC NUMBER: 62 _ Years since Cal had won as many as 11 games before the start of conference play.
 — NEXT UP: The Bears (11-2) open the Pac-10 Friday at home against Arizona (8-3), which has knocked off Gonzaga and Kansas in recent weeks and has beaten Cal 18 of their past 20 meetings dating back to the start of the 1999-2000 season.


Basketball: Portland game string


FINAL: Cal wins 81-61, improving to 11-2 in their final game before the start of Pac-10 play Friday against Arizona. The Haas Pavilion crowd loved the final few minutes, when 7-foot-2 1/4 Max Zhang blocked two shots, and should have gotten credit for a third but was whistled for a foul. Afterward, Cal coach Mike Montgomery gave Portland coach and protege Eric Reveno a nice pat on the shoulder.

All-tournament team: Jerome Randle (MVP), Theo Robertson, Jamal Boykin, Cal; T.J. Campbell, Luke Sikma, Portland; Anwar Johnson, Air Force.


3:30 2nd H: Max Zhang is entering the game, which means two things — his right wrist is OK and this game is over. Jamal Boykin has 19 points and 12 rebounds, Theo Robertson and Jerome Randle 16 each and Patrick Christopher 13. The Bears are at 55.8 percent from the field, the Pilots an even 40 percent. Cal leads 78-55.


7:49 2nd H: Cal’s lead is up to 69-48 and this is just about over. The Bears continue to execute their offense well, shooting 59.5 percent from the field. Portland is at 40 percent with 12 turnovers. Randle is returning to the floor after a nice 5 1/2 minute rest.


10:34 2nd H: Cal is taking charge. The Bears lead 62-46 after a jumper by Patrick Christopher, who has scored nine of his 13 points in the second half. Bears shooting 58 percent, Portland 41 percent.


14:32 2nd H: Portland just called timeout after a steal by Jorge Gutierrez and fastbreak dunk by Theo Robertson pushed Cal’s lead to 54-41. Patrick Christopher has come alive on offense, scoring on consecutive possessions.


15:53 2nd H: Cal leads 47-39. Portland is feeding the ball to the post at every opportunity, and Cal already has five fouls in the half. The Bears had just five in the entire first half, when they outscored Portland 11-1 at the FT line. The Pilots seem bent on reversing that. Jamal Boykin has scored twice for the Bears and has 14 points.


HALFTIME: Cal leads 42-32 after being up by as many as 16 points with 5 minutes left in the half. Cal is shooting 54.2 percent, including 5-for-6 from 3-point. Portland is at 41.9 percent, but has hurt the Bears with offensive rebounds, leading to eight second-chance points.  Nik Raivio, the Pilots’ leading scorer, didn’t take a shot in the first half until burying a 3-pointer with 26 seconds left to get the visitors within 10 points.


3:35 1st H: A 10-0 run by the Bears helped push them into a lead that is now 38-23. Patrick Christopher scored four points during the run, including a spectacular dunk off an alley-oop pass from Jordan Wilkes. The Bears are shooting 63.2 percent, the Pilots 41.7 percent.


6:53 1st H: Randle just wowed the crowd with a change-of-direction drive to the basket and Cal leads 33-21. Randle has 14 points. Cal is shooting 62.5 percent, including 5-for-5 from 3-point.


11:45 1st H: Cal leads 20-14 after a layup by Harper Kamp. He will be shooting one free throw after the timeout. The Bears led by as many as 12 points after a layup by Jamal Boykin made it 17-5 with 14:17 left. But Portland went 7-0, including a 3-pointer by Jared Stohl, to climb within four points before Kamp’s basket. 


15:19 1st H: Cal leads 13-5 after hitting 3-pointers on its past three possessions — two by Jerome Randle and one by Theo Robertson off a feed from Randle. Cal is 4-for-4 from beyond the arc after making just three the entire game on Saturday against Dartmouth.  


LINEUPS: The usual five for Cal — Jerome Randle, Patrick Christopher, Theo Robertson, Jamal Boykin and Jordan Wilkes. A couple of changes for Portland. Former De La Salle HS standout Ethan Niedermeyer gets a start at small forward, and Luke Sikma starts again for Kramer Knutson, apparently still out after suffering a concussion during practice on Christmas.


MAX WARMS UP: Sophomore backup center Max Zhang, who fell hard on his right wrist during Saturday’s Golden Bear Classic opening-round win over Dartmouth, is dressed and warming up with his teammates for tonight’s championship game vs. Portland.

His wrist is taped, but he’s taking shots and appears OK.


RECORDS: Cal is 10-2, Portland 7-5


Basketball: Air Force wins consolation title

Air Force claimed the consolation title at the Golden Bear Classic with a 63-41 win over Dartmouth.

The Falcons (9-3) got double-figure scoring from four players, led by guard Anwar Johnson with 14 points. Dartmouth (2-8) shot just 21.3 percent, including 3-for-26 in the first half. Alex Barnett led the Big Green with 14 points, on 2-for-11 shooting from the field and 10-for-10 from the FT line.


Basketball: Portland scouting report

Portland (7-5), which hopes to scramble into the upper division of the West Coast Conference this season, can climb above .500 against the Pac-10 this preseason with a victory tonight in the finals of the Golden Bear Classic.

Cal (10-2) will try to prevent that and, in the process, earn an 11th victory before the start of conference play for the first time since the 1946-47 season.

Coached by Eric Reveno, a former player and assistant coach under Mike Montgomery at Stanford, the Pilots opened the season by beating Washington 80-74, and last weekend lost 79-76 in overtime at Oregon.

“He’s done a fabulous job. I’m really proud of him,” said Montgomery, in his first season at Cal. “They are disciplined and organized. They’re tough to beat.”

The Pilots should look familiar to the Bears as they run the same offense Monty has been teaching for years.

“Portland does the best job of feeding their inside people of anybody we’ve faced,” Montgomery said.

The Pilots are significantly bigger than the Dartmouth team Cal beat 98-62 in Saturday’s first-round game.

Their usual starting center, 6-foot-9, 245-pound sophomore Kramer Knutson, averages 7.5 points and 3.2 rebounds. But he suffered a concussion during practice on Christmas and did not play Saturday against Air Force. His status for tonight is unclear.

Luke Sikma, a 6-8, 230-pound sophomore, started in his place against Air Force and responded with seven points and 13 rebounds. If the name sounds familiar, Sikma is the son of former Seattle Sonics star Jack Sikma.

Also up front is Robin Smeulders, a 6-10, 240-pound junior from Braunshweig, Germany. Smeulders missed his first seven shots against Air Force before converting a layup and free throw with 33 seconds left to secure the 43-42 victory.

Portland’s size should provide Cal center Jordan Wilkes with the kind of challenge he could face in Pac-10 play. Wilkes equaled his career high with 11 points in Cal’s win over Dartmouth, but Montgomery said evaluating his performance has been tricky.

“There’s been tough matchups,” Montgomery said. “We really haven’t played against big guys. It seems like every game people end up going small and that provides awkward matchups for us.”

Portland’s best player is junior wing Nik Raivio, who failed to score double digits on Saturday for just the second time this season, finishing with seven points against Air Force. Raivio has scored 18 points or more seven times.

NIEDERMEYER COMES HOME: Portland junior forward Ethan Niedermeyer, who missed five games with a high ankle sprain, scored eight points off the bench against Air Force in his most productive outing since Nov. 21.

The De La Salle High grad averaged 12 points over Portland’s first three games this season, including 14 in the season-opening upset of Washington. For the season, he’s averaging 6.4 ppg.

TIPOFF: 5 p.m. Sunday, Haas Pavilion, Berkeley.
TV: None. RADIO: 1550 AM.

NOTES: Cal has won 10 of the previous 15 Golden Bear Classic titles, including three of the last four . . . This is the third time in five years the Bears will meet a team from the West Coast Conference in the tournament final. Cal beat Pepperdine 61-58 in the 2004 title game, but lost 72-67 to San Diego in 2006 . . . Jerome Randle’s 15 points against Dartmouth made him Cal’s leading scorer for the 11th time in 12 games this season . . . The Bears, who have led the nation in 3-point accuracy much of the early season, remain just above 50 percent at 76-for-151 for 50.3 percent . . . Portland’s Jared Stohl, who entered the weekend shooting 43.3 percent from 3-point range, was just 1-for-11 against Air Force . . . Doubtful to play tonight is Cal sophomore backup center Max Zhang, who injured his right wrist in Saturday’s game.


   PF Jamal Boykin, 6-8, Jr., 9.2 ppg, 5.7 rpg
   SF Theo Robertson, 6-5, Jr., 11.8 ppg, 3.4 rpg
   C Jordan Wilkes, 7-0, Jr., 4.9 ppg, 4.3 rpg
   SG Patrick Christopher, 6-5, Jr., 14.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg
   PG Jerome Randle, 5-10, Jr., 19.8 ppg, 4.8 apg

   PF Robin Smeulders, 6-10, Jr., 12.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg
   SF Nik Raivio, 6-4, Jr., 16.1 ppg, 6.4 apg
   C Kramer Knutson, 6-9, So., 7.5 ppg, 3.3 rpg
   SG Jared Stohl, 6-1, So., 10.2 ppg, 1.8 rpg
   PG T.J. Campbell, 5-9, Jr., 10.5 ppg, 2.4 apg