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Cal football — Wednesday practice

Hey everyone. This is Curtis Pashelka filling in for Jonathan, who is taking some well-deserved time off. I went to practice today and saw the last 10-15 minutes of the scout team scrimmage. The players looked and sounded enthusiastic, but it was clear most of them were eager to get started on their Thanksgiving break. The team won’t practice again until Sunday.  

One of the players who stuck around for a bit was tailback Dasarte Yarnway, who went through contact drills and scrimmage for the first time in over three months after he had surgery to repair a ligament on his right big toe. He loved being back on the field, and coach Jeff Tedford said Yarnway carried the ball five or six times in the scrimmage and looked fine.

“Now it’s all about confidence and continuing to master the playbook,” Yarnway said. “I think the future is going to be very bright.”

As a 6-foot, 220-pound tailback with 4.5 speed, Yarnway figures to play a role in Cal’s offense next season. I guess how big his role will be will partly be determined by whether Jahvid Best decides to enter the NFL Draft. What do you think? How do you work Yarnway into the offense when you already have Shane Vereen and possibly Best? Not to mention Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson? 

– Tedford said Best is still nursing a sore back and added there’s no timetable for when Best will return to practice. When Best feels 100 percent ready, Tedford he and the coaching staff will take it from there.

– Cornerback Syd’Quan Thompson (sprained ankle) did not practice Tuesday or Wednesday. Tedford said Wednesday that Thompson was feeling better and should be ready to go next week.

– Quarterback Ryan Wertenberger completed a 25-yard touchdown throw to tight end Garry Graffort, who made a nice catch in the end zone, towards the end of the scrimmage. The offense ran the ball fairly well but the defense, overall, kept the passing game in check.

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Football: Off for a few days

Hi, everyone. Just a quick note that I’m off the rest of this week for Thanksgiving. Curtis Pashelka is covering practice today and will have a report later. The Bears are off until Sunday after today.

Pay close attention to the USC-UCLA game Saturday. If USC loses, it will finish behind Cal is the Bears beat Washington. That would increase Cal’s chances of going to the Holiday Bowl, especially if Arizona loses one of its final two. In a three-way tie for second between Cal, Oregon State and Stanford, the Bears would have a good chance of getting the bid.

Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone.

P.S. I have received your comments about the problems with football and basketball being lumped together. I thought I had the problem fixed, but I guess not. I’ll try to get it straightened out.

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Basketball: Morning after Jax win

A few leftovers — not turkey leftovers, that’s Friday — following the Bears’ 79-47 win over Jacksonville Tuesday night:

– Mike Montgomery confirmed that an MRI exam showed Theo Robertson has no long-term injury to his right foot.  “Theo’s foot is still attached, we’ve not amputated it. He’s making great progress with it. There’s nothing structurally wrong. There’s still pain. As soon as there’s no pain, he’s going to be out there playing his butt off.”

Robertson has missed the past three games and likely won’t play Sunday against Princeton.

– In fact, if the Bears want to be conservative with Robertson, who is coming off hip surgeries the past two offseasons, you wonder if they will keep him on the shelf through the Dec. 9 game at Pacific — just two weeks from today — after which the team has a 13-day break for final exams before playing Dec. 22 at Kansas.

– Although point guard Jerome Randle scored a season-low 10 points, Montgomery was happy with Randle’s effort on defense. “We challenged him to guard No. 3 (Ben Smith),  who is very, very quick. (Smith)  was 3-for-13, and two shots he made were not on Jerome. Defensively, he set a tone.”  Smith, the Dolphins’ top scorer, finishied with nine points.

– Montgomery said his animated behavior at times on the sideline was not an indication he was displeased. “It’s coaching, we’re trying to get better,” he said. “I thought we played hard, which was a big deal for us. If  I sit over there and don’t do anything, I shouldn’t get paid. 

“If  I ever get to the point where I sit there and I’m satisfied with everything, we’re either going to win the natioonal championship or we’re not worth coaching. This is an imperfect game and you’re always striving to get better.  I’m not trying to be negative. This is November.”

– Monty did have a few complaints, such as allowing 17 offensive rebounds and turning the ball over eight times in the first half.

– Princeton, which visits Sunday afternoon, dropped to 2-2 after losing 65-50 at George Washington Tuesday night. The Tigers shot just 35 percent from the field, including 5-for-26 from 3-point range.

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Basketball: Two days ’til the big meal

While your turkey is thawing out . . .

AROUND THE PAC-10

Stanford (3-2) picked up a good win today at the Cancun Challenge, beating Virginia and former Washington State coach Tony Bennett 57-52. The Cavaliers (3-2) aren’t great, but they are an ACC team. Another big game for senior Landry Fields, who had 25 points and 12 rebounds. The rest of the team combined to score 32 points on 12-for-37 shooting.

– Senior guard Nic Wise scored a career-high 30 points and Arizona (3-1) beat Colorado 91-87 in overtime in the consolation bracket of the Maui Invitational. Wise scored the Wildcats’ final eight points in regulation, then scored eight of their 11 points in the OT period.

THE NATIONAL SCENE

Ohio State’s Evan Turner had his second triple-double of the season, leading Ohio State (4-1) to an 84-64 win over Lipscomb. Turner had 14 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists . . .  Freshman guard John Wall scored 15 points and Kentucky (5-0) beat Cleveland State 73-49 at the Cancun Challenge on a somewhat warped floor on a makeshift basketball court in the ballroom of the Moon Palace Resort. Wall has scored at least 15 points in each of the Wildcats’ games . . . Syracuse (5-0)  followed up its victory in the Coaches vs. Cancer event with an 88-73 win over Cornell . . . Cincinnati (4-0) handed Maryland (4-1) its first loss of the season with a 69-57 verdict at the Maui Invitational . . . Damion James scored 20 points as Texas (4-0) posted a 78-62 win over Pitt (4-1) in the championship game of the CBE Classic in Kansas City. Pitt had won 38 consecutive games in November . . .

FAMILIAR FACES: A great win for ex-Cal coach Todd Bozeman, whose Morgan State team beat Arkansas 97-94. The loss snapped the Razorbacks’ 45-game home win streak against non-conference opponents. Likewise, Ben Braun’s Rice squad beat Furman 77-65. Both teams are 4-1.

LOCAL HEROES

Oakland HS grad Damian Lillard scored 20 points, leading Weber State to its first win over the season, an 89-62 victory over Western State . . . Ex-Monte Vista HS star Cory Higgins, a junior guard at Colorado, scored a season-high 28 points in the overtime loss to Arizona. Higgins is averaging 23.4 ppg in five games . . . Dominic Calegari, formerly of St. Mary’s HS in Berkeley, scored a season-high 23 points in UC Davis’ 63-62 loss to North Dakota State.

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Basketball: Jacksonville game thread

QUICK POST-GAME UPDATE: Montgomery said Randle is fine after colliding with an opposing player when a screen was not called out. He also confirmed the MRI showed there is no structural damage to Theo Robertson’s right foot and the senior will be back on the floor as soon as he no longer is experiencing pain.  

FINAL SCORE: Cal 79, Jacksonville 47. It’s over, at last. Amoke wound up with a career-high 15 points and eight rebounds. In his past two games, Amoke is averaging 13 points and 11.5 rebounds. Jax shot 28.3 percent and had 17 turnovers. Cal shot 52.7 percent, despite 10 minutes of garbage time.

SOMEWHERE LATE IN THE SECOND HALF: Just in case you were wondering, they’re still playing at Haas Pavilion. Just got a timeout with 3:49 left, and the Bears lead 72-43. Amoke and Randle each have 10 points to complement Christopher’s 23. Will have a final score ASAP.

11:14 2nd H: Can’t we change the channel? Bears lead 61-31. Jax shooting 29 percent with 16 TOs. Christopher has hit three straight 3-pointers and has 23 points. His reward: a spot on the bench, likely for the rest of the night. Randle also is sitting after a big collision with an opponent. Bak is back.

15:33 2nd H: Cal used a 9-0 run opening the half to extend its lead to 45-19, and there is no turning back. Christopher scored seven of those nine points and has 14. Randle has 10 points. The Bears are back up to 56 percent from the field, while Jax is stuck at 26.3 percent, and has 14 TOs.  Max and Seeley are in for Cal, which leads 50-24.

HALFTIME: Cal leads 36-19. Everybody is playing in this one. Bak has four points — all from the free throw line — along with a rebound and a blocked shot. Randle, Christopher and Amoke each have seven points for Cal, which is shooting 48 percent, but just 1-for-7 from the 3-point line. Jacksonville not putting up much of a fight — 27.6 percent from the field with 11 turnovers. Best moment of the first half: Some Cal student just won a free airline ticket by making a half-court shot. Jacksonville may want to sign this guy at halftime.

3:40 1st H: Cal leads 32-15. Bears are shooting 57 percent, Jax just 26 percent. There is little evidence the Dolphins are about to make a move on Cal.

5:53 1st H: A work of art this is not. Nine turnovers for the Dolphins, seven for the Bears. Cal leads 28-15. Bears are shooting 59 percent, Jax just 29 percent. Only bad news for Bears: Sanders-Frison picked up PF No. 2 with 8:59 left. Randle and Amoke each have seven points. Bak Bak is in.

11:47 1st H: Bears lead 17-7, as Jacksonville is shooting 3-for-12.  But Monty was very unhappy with a careless Randle pass on a 2-on-1 fastbreak that became a turnover just before the timeout.

15:00 1st H: Cal leads 10-5. The Bears jumped out to a 4-0 lead, then Jacksonville tied it at 5-all, thanks mostly to Cal missing three of four FTs. But Gutierrez hit a 3-pointer and Christopher scored inside to push the Bears back in front. Sanders-Frison jumped picked up his first foul and was replaced by Omondi Amoke.

STARTING LINEUPS: Cal will go with Jerome Randle, Patrick Christopher, Jorge Gutierrez, Jamal Boykin and Markhuri Sanders-Frison. Jacksonville starts Ben Smith, Travis Cohn, Glenn Powell, Lehmon Colbert and Ayron Hardy.

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Basketball: Robertson says it’s nothing major

Talked briefly with Theo Robertson, who said several doctors have checked his MRI results and that he does not have a stress fracture in his right foot.

“Things are looking up,” he said. “It’s nothing major.”

Robertson missed both games at Madison Square Garden last week and will not face Jacksonville tonight at Haas Pavilion because of the injury. He said the pain in the upper portion of his right foot, just below the ankle, is about the same as it was last weekend, and isn’t sure when he’ll be ready to play again.

He’s unlikely to be ready by Sunday against Princeton, but it doesn’t appear the injury will keep him sidelined long-term.

“I’m tired of the injury thing,” he said, alluding to surgeries on his hip the past two off-seasons.

Robertson was in street clothes, wearing a boot on his foot, while his teammates warmed up for Jacksonville. The senior small forward  from De La Salle HS averaged 18 points in Cal’s first two games.

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Basketball: Jacksonville scouting report

 With Theo Robertson and Harper Kamp on the shelf trying to get healthy, the onus falls on a couple complementary players to hike up their production and help take the heat off senior guards Jerome Randle and Patrick Christopher.

The Bears, who face Jacksonville on Tuesday night at Haas Pavilion, need something more from sophomore guard Jorge Gutierrez, now starting in place of Robertson, and from junior center Markhuri Sanders-Frison.

Mostly, the Bears need them on the floor.

The two have combined for 43 points, 36 rebounds . . . and 31 personal fouls through Cal’s first four games.

Sanders-Frison is averaging just 20 minutes per outing as a starter, mostly because he has been in foul trouble every game. He accumulated four fouls in each of Cal’s first three games, then fouled out last Friday night against Ohio State in the third-place game of the Coaches vs. Cancer event at Madison Square Garden. Gutierrez also fouled out of the Ohio State game.

The Bears simply don’t have the depth to afford either of these guys spending long stretches on the bench, nursing foul trouble.

Continue Reading

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Basketball: The Daily Wrap

 Here’s the hoop scoop for Monday . . .

AROUND THE PAC-10

 – UCLA (2-1) rallied from an early deficit to beat Pepperdine 71-52.  Sophomore Drew Gordon of San Jose had 18 points and nine rebounds for the Bruins. Also, a lawyer for Nikola Dragovic said the suspended senior forward will plead not guilty to felony assault charges he allegedly knocked a man into a glass display case at a Hollywood concert last month.

Oregon (3-2) lost for the second time in three nights, falling 68-55 at home to Montana. Leading scorer, senior guard TaJuan Porter, shot 1-for-5 and scored two points and the Ducks converted just 33 percent from the field.

– New coach Sean Miller suffered his first defeat at Arizona (2-1) when Wisconsin edged the Wildcats 65-61 in the opening round of the Maui Invitational.  Freshman Derrick Williams scored a career-high 25 points, including 13-for-21 from the FT line,  and senior Nic Wise had 13 points. But the rest of the team combined to shoot 7-for-25 from the field.

– USC redshirt junior forward Kasey Cunningham likely will miss the entire season after sustaining an ACL injury to his left knee, Cunningham, who averaged 5.0 points and 4.0 rebounds as a starter in USC’s first two games, has three times previously undergone surgery on his left knee.

THE NATIONAL SCENE

 Deon Thompson scored 22 points and 10 rebounds and North Carolina (5-1) rebounded from its loss to Syracuse with a 93-72 win over Gardner Webb . . .  E’Twuan Moore scored 22 points and Purdue (4-0) edged Tennessee (4-1) 73-72 in the championship game of the Paradise Jam in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands . . . Samardo Samuels scored 16 points, leading Louisville (4-0) to an 80-53 win over Appalachian State . . . Clemson (4-0) forced Winthrop into 26 turnovers and won its 30th straight game in the month of November in a 102-66 rout . . .  Texas (3-0) outscored Iowa 47-22 in the second half on the way to an 85-60 win in Kansas City.

LOCAL HEROES

San Ramon Valley HS grad Omar Samhan scored a career-best 33 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as Saint Mary’s handled Cal Poly 92-67. The senior center is averaging 21.8 ppg . . . Freshman guard Will Cherry of Oakland’s McClymonds HS scored a career-high eight points in Montana’s 68-55 upset victory at Oregon . . . One-time Monte Vista HS star Cory Higgins had 19 points, six rebounds and three steals, but Colorado lost 76-72 to Gonzaga . . . Cal State Northridge junior Michael Lizarraga, a graduate of the California School for the Deaf, had seven rebounds in a starting role in the Matadors’ 68-67 loss at Western Kentucky . . . Senior Kyle Roemer, formerly of De La Salle HS, scored 18 points for the second straight game in Colgate’s 76-63 loss at TCU . . . Berkeley HS grad Dior Lowhorn scored a season-high 26 points but USF lost 76-65 at UC Santa Barbara .

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Basketball: Robertson to miss Jacksonville

Cal coach Mike Montgomery said that senior Theo Robertson had an MRI on his right foot Monday morning, but will not play Tuesday night against Jacksonville.

Results of the test weren’t immediately available, but Montgomery said, “At first blush, it was pretty positive.” He meant posititive, as in good news. We should know more Tuesday.

Robertson, who averaged 18.0 ppg in Cal’s first two games, injured the foot sometime last week and missed the Bears’ two games at Madison Square Garden. Senior forward Harper Kamp will miss his fifth straight game while still recovering from knee surgery last spring.

RANKINGS: Cal’s losses to Syracuse and Ohio State dropped the Bears from No. 13 to No. 29 in the Associated Press national rankings, and from No. 12 to No. 23 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll.