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Archive for January, 2009

Basketball: Bears still atop 3-point rankings

After shooting 14-for-32 from 3-point range in two games last weekend, Cal remains No. 1 in the NCAA rankings in 3-point shooting percentage. The Bears are at 46.9 percent, well ahead of No. 2 Oklahoma State, at 41.5 percent.

Posted on Monday, January 26th, 2009
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Basketball: Bears still No. 6 in Lunardi bracket

A loss to Oregon State dropped Cal two spots to a No. 6 seeding in Joe Lunardi’s most recent ESPN.com NCAA tournament bracket. If the season ended today, Lunardi projects the Bears would face No. 11 Wisconsin in Kansas City.

UCLA is a No. 7 seed according to ESPN’s “bracketologist,” and would take on No. 10 Saint Mary’s at Dayon, Ohio.

Once again, four Pac-10 teams are projected into the 65-team field, with Arizona State at No. 4 and Washington, the current conference leader, at No. 8

Posted on Monday, January 26th, 2009
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Football: Quick Senior Bowl hit

For those who didn’t see, Zack Follett had four tackles in the Senior Bowl. Alex Mack played both center and guard, something that he and fellow prospect Max Unger took turns doing during the week of practice. Mack and Follett played for the North team, which lost to the South, 35-18.

Posted on Monday, January 26th, 2009
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Basketball: Pac-10 reflections — Week 4

Random thoughts on a Monday morning while contemplating whether Oregon State will ever lose again . . .

– Oregon State coach Craig Robinson called it “really an unimaginable event.” And that was before his Beavers swept the Bay Area trip.

– Everything that came with the experience of watching his brother-in-law sworn in as the nation’s first African American president was perfect, Robinson said. Well, except complaints from his teen-age son Avery that dad blew the chance to say hello to Beyonce at one of the inaugural balls. 

– Roeland Schaftenaar? The 6-foot-10 junior from Utrecht, Netherlands had 40 points, 10 assists and just one turnover for the Beavers against Cal and Stanford. We all saw this coming, right?

– Not a bad weekend, either, for Washington, which finds itself alone in first place in the Pac-10 after beating USC and UCLA. It didn’t hurt that a team shooting 64.9 percent from the FT line converted 81.9 percent (68-for-83) for the weekend.

– When UW’s Jon Brockman warns there are a lot of games to play, he probably means the next four, all on the road, against Arizona, Arizona State, Cal and Stanford.  The Huskies are good, but if they do better than 2-2 during that stretch, we’ll be surprised.

– Should we be impressed that Cal shot 66.7 percent from the field on Saturday, or was that more a function of Oregon’s defense? Let’s see what the numbers look like Thursday at Pauley Pavilion.

– On the other hand, there’s this bold assessment of the Bruins from freshman Drew Gordon, the San Jose native, after UCLA lost for the second time in three games:   “Right now, we just don’t have enough heart, basically. At the end of the day, the other team wants it more.”

– Here’s something you don’t see every day . . . in fact, it’s been 28 years since another Pac-10 team did what Arizona State has achieved with road wins over UCLA, Arizona and Stanford in the same season. You could argue that among the contenders, the Sun Devils will have the most favorable second-half schedule.

– Before Saturday’s 46-44 victory at Washington State, it had been 40 seasons since USC won a game scoring so few points.  That one, by the exact same score, came at the expense of rival UCLA and was one of just two defeats suffered by Lew Alcindor in his 90-game varsity career.

– Bear with us on this, but if Cal beats UCLA and loses at USC, UCLA loses to Cal and beats Stanford, Arizona State beats Washington and loses to Washington State, and Washington gets swept in Arizona . . . we’ll have four teams tied at 6-3 for first place at the halfway point of the Pac-10 schedule.

Posted on Monday, January 26th, 2009
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Basketball: Sunday morning reading

Here is my story from this morning’s editions on Cal’s 76-69 win over Oregon. You might also want to check out columnist Gary Peterson’s piece on Cal forward Jamal Boykin.

And here is Bob Clark’s take on the game from the Eugene Register-Guard.

 Cal 76, Oregon 69

  HEADLINER: Two days after bruising his hip against Oregon State, point guard Jerome Randle played 36 minutes, contributing 22 points and five assists, as the Bears returned to the win column after two straight defeats.

   MOMENT THAT MATTERED: The Bears generally had control of this one from the start, never trailing, but foul trouble forced coach Mike Montgomery to get creative with his frontcourt rotation. No moment in the game was greeted more enthusiastically by the Haas Pavilion crowd than when 7-3 sophomore Max Zhang, who had played just one minute since the Pac-10 scheduled began, made a turn-around shot from the key over Oregon center Michael Dunigan.
   MAGIC NUMBER: 70.2 _ The field-goal percentage of Cal’s starters (26-for-37), contributing to an overall team number of 66.7 percent, highest by any team in a Pac-10 game this season.
   NEXT UP: The Bears (16-4, 4-2) visit Pauley Pavilion on Thursday to face UCLA  in a battle of two of three teams tied for second place in the Pac-10 standings. Tipoff is 7:30 p.m.

Posted on Sunday, January 25th, 2009
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Basketball: Health updates

A couple quick updates after Cal’s win over Oregon:

– Jerome Randle played with a bruised hip, but did not sustain a hip pointer in Thursday’s game against Oregon State. He sat out practice Friday, got some treatment and played 36 effective minutes against the Ducks. “I was in pain,” Randle said afterward. “I just played through it.”

He had 22 points on 7-for-10 shooting from the field and was 6-for-6 from the FT line. Also had five assists and just one turnover. Coach Mike Montgomery was happy with Randle’s management of the game.

– I mentioned during the in-game blog that reserve forward Harper Kamp appeared to be having trouble before and during the contest with his surgically repaired right knee. He spent more time than usual beforehand loosening up and “testing” it with change-of-direction manuevers. While on the bench early in the second half, Kamp was massaging the area around his knee.

He played eight minutes against the Ducks, and it would have been more had he not gotten into foul trouble defending Oregon’s big men. Afterward, Montgomery said Kamp’s knee was sore, but that it’s not much different than what he’s been dealing with all season.

Posted on Saturday, January 24th, 2009
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Basketball: Oregon game string

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FINAL SCORE: Cal wins 76-69. Christopher hit one of two FTs with 18.3 seconds left, Porter missed a 3-pointer and Catron missed the putback. Cal snapped its first two-game losing streak of the season and improved to 16-4 overall, 5-2 in the Pac-10. The Bears share second place in the conference with UCLA and Arizona State, one game back of Washington. Randle scored 22 points, Boykin and Christopher each had 13 and Robertson scored 11. Porter scored 26 for the Ducks — his best games in a while. No one else in double digits for Oregon, which dropped to 6-14 and 0-8 in the Pac-10.

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0:18.3 2nd H: Porter just hit a 3-pointer. It’s 75-69.

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0:27.0 2nd H: Cal just called timeout after Boykin hit the second of two FTs. Cal leads 75-66. It’s that close because Christopher fouled Porter on a 3-point attempt, and Porter converted all three FTs. Porter has 23 points, one more than Randle.

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1:18 2nd H: Wilkes just made two FTs and it’s 72-59.

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2:47 2nd H: Cal led by 13 points a few moments ago, but it’s now 68-56 with Boykin going to the FT line for two. Randle has 20 points, including a nice spin drive into the lane. Boykin has 12 points and nine rebounds. Christopher has 12 points, but has used much of his energy chasing the 5-foot-6 Porter. Porter leads the Ducks with 15 points on 6-for-15 from the floor.

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6:37 2nd H: Dunigan posted up Kamp, knocked him back and dunked. Next time down, Kamp stepped around and stole the entry pass and the Bears cashed in with a jumper by Boykin. It’s 62-50 after an Oregon timeout.

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7:56 2nd H: Cal leads 58-48 after two FTs by Oregon’s Dunigan. The Ducks, who have lost their past five games by double digits, don’t seem to want to go away.

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9:08 2nd H: Just as it appeared the Ducks were making up ground, the Bears struck quickly. Randle made two free throws — just the fifth and six Cal has converted all day — before Boykin blocked a shot by Porter, leading to a fastbreak that ended when Randle lobbed an alley-oop for a Christopher dunk. It’s 56-46.

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9:46 2nd H: Cal just called timeout leading 52-46, and Montgomery spent the first 20 seconds or so complaining to the officials about a botched backcourt violation against the Bears. But Cal is struggling, empty on its past three offensive possessions. The Bears are shooting 63.9 percent from the field and lead by just six points. Thirteen turnovers aren’t helping.

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11:50 2nd H: Cal leads 52-40, but doesn’t seem to have a real firm grip on things still. Kamp entered the game at 13:07 but left with 12:42 remaining after picking up his third foul. Randle is checking back in, so the Bears have Randle, Gutierrez, Amoke, Christopher and Wilkes.

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14:10 2nd H: Christopher just returned to the game.

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15:44 2nd H: Timeout with Cal up 42-34. Christopher seems OK. But Harper Kamp may be having trouble with his right knee. He spent a long time before the game trying to loosen it up, and now is working on it again. Wilkes picked up his third foul with 17:33 left, but Montgomery has left him in the game.

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16:28 2nd H: Cal leads 42-32, but Christopher just left the floor after getting poked in the eye.

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HALFTIME: Cal leads 36-28. After the Cal timeout with 13.5 seconds left, Randle scored on a drive into the lane, giving him 12 points on 5-for-7 shooting. His hip seems fine. The Bears shot 61.5 percent in the first half and Oregon converted just 40 percent. But Porter has 10 points and the Ducks have gotten themselves to the FT line for 10 attempts (made six). The Bears are 2-for-2 from the line.

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0:13.5 1st H: The Ducks have scored six straight, including a drive to the basket by freshman Matthew Humphrey with 19 seconds left, cutting the gap to 34-28. Not exactly an efficient final 3 minutes of the half.

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2:59 1st H: Max Zhang hit a turn-around shot from the key over Dunigan and the Cal crowd went nuts. Bears lead 34-22.

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4:15 1st H: The crowd comes alive – Max Zhang enters the game for Boykin. The 7-foot-3 sophomore has played just one minute since the Pac-10 started. He will be guarding Dunigan. Cal leads 32-22.

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5:41 1st H: Christopher just hit a long jumper and the Bears pushed the lead to 30-18.

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7:28 1st H: Timeout with Bears up 26-18. Will be interesting to see how they fare without either Wilkes or Kamp on the floor, both sitting with two fouls. Dunigan is a beast, raw but very aggressive. He just came out for a rest, still with just one foul — his biggest problem.

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8:00 1st H: Cal stretches lead to 26-18 after back-to-back baskets by Jamal Boykin, who has six points and four rebounds. Boykin is defending the 6-10 (maybe) Michael Dunigan and Amoke has the 6-6, 235-pound Catron.

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9:07 1st H: Trouble brewing. Wilkes just picked up his second foul and took a seat for Omondi Amoke.

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9:40 1st H: Kamp just picked up his second foul and is out of the game. Wilkes back in. Cal leads 20-16.
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THIS SCORE JUST IN: Washington beat UCLA 86-75 and has sole possession of first place in the Pac-10.

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11:50 1st H: No rout so far. The Bears lead 16-12, and the Ducks are hanging in. Randle has eight points. Harper Kamp has checked in for Cal. Freshmen Michael Dunigan, Josh Crittle and Garrett Sim all have come in for Oregon.

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15:42 1st H: Bears lead 10-4 at the first official timeout, although Joevan Catron will be shooting a free throw after being fouled by Jordan Wilkes on a successful drive to the basket. Randle already has a pair of 3-point baskets and Wilkes has scored four points.

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OFFICIALS: The three-man crew working today’s game includes Chris Rastatter, who ejected Ernie Kent from last Saturday’s home game against Washington State. It was Kent’s first career ejection.

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LINEUPS: The Bears just announced their starting five, and it’s the same group as always. With Jerome Randle at point guard. Big changes, however, on the Oregon side. Neither of their usual freshmen starters, center Michael Dunigan or guard Garrett Sim, is in the lineup. Instead, the Ducks are going with TaJuan Porter, Chuchill Odia, LeKendric longmire, Kamyron Brown and Joevan Catron. This is a quick but small group, with no one taller than the 6-foot-6.

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RANDLE, CONT.: The Bears took the court for warmups about 3 minutes ago . . . without  Jerome Randle. Alas, he arrived a couple minutes later and is doing layup drills without an apparent limp. Lineups have not been announced, but the guess here is he’s playing.

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RANDLE UPDATE: Just arrived at my seat in Haas Pavilion and neither team is on the court right now. About 38 minutes until tipoff, but the word is Jerome Randle was out earlier shooting around. Will give you an update when the real pre-game warmups begin.

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RECORDS: Cal is 15-4, 4-2 in Pac-10, Oregon is 6-13, 0-7.

Posted on Saturday, January 24th, 2009
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Cal football: Senior Bowl

Just a reminder that the Senior Bowl is today at 4 p.m. on the NFL Network. Alex Mack and Zack Follett are playing.

Posted on Saturday, January 24th, 2009
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Basketball: Oregon scouting report

“When things are going to hell, they’re going to hell.”

That was Oregon athletic director Pat Kilkenny assessment to the Eugene Register-Guard a week ago, after the Ducks’ 74-62 home loss to Washington State.

Kilkenny went on to say coach Ernie Kent’s job is in no immediate jeopardy, but certainly things aren’t headed in a positive direction for the Ducks.

You think the Bears have problems after losing two in a row?

The Ducks, 6-13 overall and 0-7 in the Pac-10 Conference, are off to their worst start in league play since the 1992-93 season.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Saturday, January 24th, 2009
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Basketball: No word on Randle

This we know: Jerome Randle attended Cal’s practice this afternoon.

Beyond that, we don’t know much about the junior point guard’s status for Saturday’s game against Oregon.

Randle, who injured his hip with 2:49 left in Cal’s 69-65 loss to Oregon State Thursday night, was examined Friday, but Cal did not release information on his condition or whether he will play against the Ducks. Nor do we know if Randle practiced or just watched.

If his injury is no worse than a hip pointer, Randle — the Pac-10′s No. 2 scorer at 18.8 ppg — is likely to try to play. In pain, but play. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Posted on Friday, January 23rd, 2009
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