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Football: The final greetings of the season

Hello, everyone. I just got settled here in the press box at AT&T Park. I’ve covered a few hundred Giants game at this place over the years, but I’ve never seen it quite like this. The configuration in person looks just as funky as on TV.

The streets outside are bustling with activity, as Cal fans have taken over the adjacent bars and restaurants. Inside, there are just a handful of special teams players working out on the field.

The first thing that strikes you about this setup is just how close the stands are to the field. There isn’t much space between each sideline and the first row of the stands. That could really give the Bears a home-field advantage.

Back with more soon.

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Basketball: Dartmouth game string

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FINAL SCORE: Cal 98, Dartmouth 62. The reserves finally got into gear, with Omondi Amoke quickly putting up nine points and 10 rebounds, and Eddie Miller scoring nine. The Bears improved to 10-2 and need one more victory to reach 11 for the first time before the start of conference play since the 1946-47 season. Jerome Randle led the Bears with 15 points and eight assists.
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6:40 2nd H: Montgomery removed the last of his starters at the last timeout, with 10:22 left, and the result hasn’t been pretty. Lots of grimacing from the Cal staff, but things are well in hand at 73-52.
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10:22 2nd H: The Bears responded to Dartmouth’s little burst with an 8-0 run of their own, rebuilding the lkead to 61-40. It’s now 68-46. Randle has 15 points and eight assists, Theo Robertson has 13 points, Wilkes 11 and Patrick Christopher 10. Dartmouth’s top player, senior Alex Barnett, has 10 points but also four fouls.
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15:49 2nd H: Cal quickly pushed its lead to 20 points before the Big Green ran off eight straight, including 3-pointers by Dan Biber and Ronnie Dixon, slashing the maragin to 53-40 at this point. Jordan Wilkes has 11 points, equaling his career high from a game three years ago at Eastern Michigan.
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HALFTIME: Cal leads 46-30. The Bears ran off 10 straght points late in the half, and Jerome Randle was in the middle of all of it. He had two of his seven first-half assists during the outburst and scored on a drive to the hoop. Then, after Marlon Sanders scored for Portland to end the streak, Randle hit a long 3-pointer, pushing the lead to 16 points and giving him 11 points for the half. The Bears shot 62.1 percent (18-for-29) in the first half, primarily content to feed the ball inside. Dartmouth wound up at 37.5 percent (12-for-32).
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5:41 1st H: Jordan Wilkes has scored eight points, including a nice postup move moments ago, and Cal’s lead is 31-24.
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MAX UPDATE: Zhang injured his right wrist in his fall a few minutes ago. He is back on the bench, but will be checked further at halftime. His status for the rest of the game is uncertain.
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7:38 1st H: Cal leads 27-21. Jerome Randle, with six points, is resting on the bench. The Big Green has cooled a bit — now shooting 40 percent. The crowd is filling in . . . maybe 2,000 fans now.
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10:28 1st H: Max Zhang just took a hard fall, leaving his feet on a head-fake and landing on his tailbone. He was helped off the floor to applause.
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11:34 1st H: Cal 20, Dartmouth 17. The Bears are scoring at will. They’re shooting 9-for-12 from the floor and might be in charge were it not for four early turnovers.
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PILOTS UPDATE: Portland coach Eric Reveno, whose team faces Air Force in the late game of the Golden Bear Classic, reports to us that De La Salle HS grad Ethan Niedermeyer, who has been out with a high ankle sprain, will play today. But center Kramer Knutson is out with a concussion he sustained during practice on Christmas.
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15:15 1st H: Dartmouth 13, Cal 12. Maybe the Big Green means business, after all. They are 3-for-3 from 3-point range, including two in a row by freshman guard Jabari Trotter. Mike Montgomery likely is talking about defense during this media timeout. Dartmouth is shooting 62.5 percent. Jordan Wilkes is Cal’s top scorer so far with four points.
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16:53 1st H: Cal is having its way so far, up 10-5. Bears are 4-for-5 from the field.

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CROWD COUNT: By the looks of things, there should be a great contingent of Cal fans at this evening’s Emerald Bowl in San Francisco. With 3 minutes left before tipoff here, there are perhaps 1,000 or so fans at Haas Pavilion. But the cheerleaders are here. And so is the Straw Hat Band – sort of. A seven-piece group, several of them clearly alumni members, marched in and played the fight song.  Stop the presses: Another trumpet player and clarinet just showed up. The band numbers nine.

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RECORDS: Cal is 9-2, Dartmouth 2-6.

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Basketball: Hart update

Thanks to Noreen Perscheid, Cal Class of 1949, for checking through century-old school yearbooks and passing on this update: the player named Hart on the first Golden Bears’ teams was Samuel Alexander Hart, Class of ’10 and captain of the ’08-09 squad.

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Basketball: Dartmouth scouting report

When schools put together invitational tournaments, Dartmouth is the kind of team they try to schedule in the opening game. No slap intended here, just reality.

It’s not by accident that the Big Green (2-6) finds itself facing Cal (9-2) this afternoon on Day 1 of the Golden Bear Classic.

Dartmouth’s resume includes a 65-60 home loss to the Colgate team that Cal just beat by 35 points. One of the Green’s two victories was a 96-47 win over Division II Plymouth State.

Winless in three road games, the visitors have been outscored by nearly 17 points per game outside Hanover, N.H.

Continue Reading

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Football: It ends on Christmas

Today was the last practice of the 2008 season. And it was a cold one at Memorial Stadium. Jeff Tedford kept his ears warm by wearing a Santa hat all through practice.

The biggest news really wasn’t much of a news flash — Nate Longshore will start at quarterback Saturday. Longshore had taken every first team rep this week, including Thursday, so it wasn’t a big surprise when Tedford announced Longshore as the starter after practice. Tedford said Longshore has simply been practicing too well not to have him play.

“He’s just had a couple of really good weeks of practice,” Tedford said. “He’s really sharp throwing the ball and has a really good command of what we’re doing. He’s really done a nice job.”

Tedford said the shoulder injury Longshore incurred against Oregon has been lingering, but he finally appears to be completely healthy.

“I think his shoulder is finally healthy,” Tedford said. “He has a lot of zip on the ball, a lot of command of the offense. He’s really throwing accurate.”

Tedford added that “He’s really had two of the better weeks I’ve seen Nate have at practice.”

It was a very lively last practice — perhaps the players were trying to keep warm — with a lot of hooting and hollering and tons of enthuasiasm as the team huddled on the field afterward. Tedford spoke of the seniors getting emotional, with wide receiver Drew Glover breaking down as he talked about it being the seniors’ last practice while the team stretched to begin the session.

It was also the last practice at Cal for offensive line coach Jim Michalczik, who is moving on to Washington after the Emerald Bowl.

The team had Christmas breakfast together and Christmas dinner together. There will be a pep rally at Yerba Buena Gardens tomorrow at 11 a.m and the team will hold a walk-through at AT&T Park later in the afternoon.

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Football: Quick Christmas Eve shoutout

HI, everyone. Hope everyone is having a great holiday season. Just wanted to take a break from Christmas Eve festivities to give a quick update from today.

The Bears moved practice from Memorial Stadium to the nearby Rugby Field so they could get some work in on grass, in preparation for the surface at AT&T Park. They practiced under a steady drizzle.

Nate Longshore once again took all the first team reps, a further sign that he will start Saturday. Jeff Tedford once again said he won’t name a starter until Thursday, but it’s hard to believe now that Longshore wouldn’t start after working exclusively with the first team the past two days.

Tedford also confirmed that Sean Cattouse has taken over one starting safety spot over Brett Johnson. He said Johnson is healthy (he missed the Big Game with a shoulder injury) and Cattouse’s new role is performance-based.

The Bears had a team dinner tonight on Fisherman’s Wharf. A handful of players will visit a local hospital Thursday. The team will hold its last practice of the season in the afternoon.

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Basketball: Colgate game string

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FINAL: Cal 83, Colgate 48. Cal improves to 9-2. Jerome Randle scored 16 points to lead the Bears in scoring for the 10th time in 11 games. Patrick Christopher, who had two fouls and just two points at halftime, wound up with 15 points. Jamal Boykin scored 13. Cal got a nice defensive effort from Jorge Gutierrez, whose intensity helped coax 20 turnovers out of the Raiders (3-7), who shot 31 percent.

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11:50 2nd H: The Bears lead 55-30 and Colgate seems incapable of making this a game. The Raiders are shooting just 30.6 percent and have 15 turnovers. Randle has 16 points for Cal and Boykin 13. Will check back after the game.

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15:51 2nd H: Cal leads 49-30 and Randle is going to the line for two FTs. Randle has 14 points after making his first 3-pointer of the night and Jamal Boykin has 13.

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HALFTIME: It’s 39-24. Cal used a 19-2 run to break this one open. It was 20-all when the Bears tightened their defense, allowing the Raiders just one basket in a span of nine possessions. Colgate finished the half with 12 turnovers and just eight field goals. Jerome Randle led the Bears with 11 points, while freshman guard Jorge Gutierrez had two steals and took a charge to spark the defense.

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8:39 1st H: Even still at 15-all. Cal is getting all the shots it wants, but is just 5-for-19 from the field. Colgate counters with six turnovers. Patrick Christopher has been watching from the bench since 14:44, when he picked up his second foul.

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11:57 1st H: Tied 11-11. Cal had forced turnovers on four consecutive Colgate possessions before Anthony Hill, son of ex-Dallas Cowboys star Tony Hill, buried an uncontested 3-pointer.

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14:00 1st H: Score is tied at 8-8. Cal’s defense is getting a little tougher.

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15:26 1st H: Colgate leads 8-4. Not an impressive start by the Bears, who are shooting 1-for-6 from the field and haven’t so far gotten the ball inside against the Raiders.

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LINEUPS: Bears will go with the same quintet for the 11th straight game — Jerome Randle, Patrick Christopher, Theo Robertson, Jamal Boykin and Jordan Wilkes.

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RECORDS: Cal is 8-2, Colgate 3-6.