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Basketball: Cal recruits update

Here’s the latest on Cal’s four basketball signees:

Allen Crabbe and Richard Solomon of Los Angeles-Price HS (11-1) sustained their first defeat of the season Monday night, losing 43-42 to Newark Memorial in the quarterfinals of the National Division of the MaxPreps Holiday Classic in San Diego. Solomon had 11 first-quarter points and Price jumped out to a 16-5 lead, but the 6-8 forward got into foul trouble and the East Bay’s Cougars rallied. Solomon finished with 14 points, Crabbe with 10, well under his average.

Price, which plays Bishop O’Dowd on Tuesday evening, crushed McClymonds 74-48 on Saturday as Crabbe scored 25 points and Solomon had nine.

Tuesday night update: Crabbe scored 23 points and grabbed seven rebounds and Price (12-1) beat O’Dowd 62-49. “We’re not losing two at this tournament,” Crabbe told MaxPreps. “We couldn’t do anything about last night. We just needed to move on and we did.”

Gary Franklin Jr. and Santa Ana-Mater Dei HS improved to 9-1 with a 94-57 rout of La Habra in the Orange Holiday Classic on Monday. Franklin, the Monarchs’ point guard, had nine points and seven assists. He had 14 points, seven assists and four rebounds in Mater Dei’s 101-30 win over Cantwell-Sacred Heart on Saturday.

Alex Rossi scored 24 points as Winnetka, Ill.-New Trier HS (9-2) beat Hinsdale Central 54-38 in the Proviso West Tournament on Monday. The Trevians were coming off a 73-62 loss to Waukegan, the No. 8 team in Illinois.

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Football: Alamar redux

Here is my story from today, on the dismissal of special teams/tight ends coach Pete Alamar.

I know many fans have been  unhappy with Alamar’s handling of special teams in recent years. Clearly, there were some problems on coverage teams. But I also felt there were some positives as well — good return games and last year three blocked kicks for a touchdown.

But the shortcomings on coverage teams just became too blatant this season. The defense was constantly put at a disadvantage with the kind of field position the opponent was getting after kick and punt returns. Jeff Tedford couldn’t look past this deficiency any longer.

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Basketball: UC Santa Barbara scouting report

A quickie scout on the Gauchos with just a 24-hour turnaround . . .

Good news for Cal (7-4) headed into the championship game of the 17th Golden Bear Classic — everyone is fresh. No one on the Cal roster played more than 29 minutes (Patrick Christopher) in Monday’s 85-51 opening-round win over Utah Valley, and forwards Theo Robertson and Jamal Boykin were on the floor just 22 and 21 minutes, respectively.

In fact, Mike Montgomery made a point afterward of noting he was pleased to be able to utilize so many players because it’s good for team morale. Thirteen different Bears got into the game and 11 of them played at least nine minutes.

In a perfect world, Monty won’t need to play his regulars much more in tonight’s finale against UC Santa Barbara. The Bears then get just three days off before Saturday’s Pac-10 opener at home against Stanford.

UCSB SCOUT: The Gauchos (5-4) got past Furman 72-60 on Monday night, led by sophomores Michael Nunnally (24 points) and Orlando Johnson (21 points). The win snapped a four-game losing streak that spanned nearly a month.

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Basketball: What’s happening in Tucson?

This is no way to glide into the Pac-10 season . . .  

AROUND THE PAC-10

Arizona (6-6) lost 99-69 to BYU at McKale Center. Junior guard Jimmer Fredette scored a BYU and arena record 49 points — and had nine rebounds and seven assists, for cryin’ out loud – as the Cougars (13-1) beat the Pac-10′s two Arizona schools by a combined 43 points. The Wildcats have lost twice at home in December for the first time since Lute Olson’s first season of 1983-84. Arizona allowed BYU to shoot 57 percent from the field and the Cats turned the ball over 19 times. Not that it mattered much, but Arizona freshman Derrick Williams had 17 points and seven rebounds.

– Sophomore center Michael Dunigan had a career-high 26 points and senior guard TaJuan Porter, sidelined by an ankle injury most of the past seven games, came off the bench to score 15 points on 5-for-7 shooting from 3-point range as Oregon (8-4) scored a 73-53 victory over winless Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Malcolm Armstead added 14 points and eight assists for the Ducks, who pulled away from a three-point halftime margin to win their fourth straight game, albeit against teams with a combined record of 11-40.

THE NATIONAL SCENE

Reserve guard Dexter Strickland scored 18 points to lead six players in double figures and No. 9 North Carolina (10-3) scored an 81-67 win over Rutgers  (9-3) . . . Ryan Brooks scored 19 points and No. 18 Temple (10-2) beat Bowling Green 63-39 for its sixth straight win . . .  Freshman Elias Harris scored 22 points and Gonzaga (9-3) bounced back from a 35-point loss to Duke to claim a 94-52 win over Eastern Washington.

LOCAL HEROES, RICHMOND HS EDITION

Eli Holman (Richmond HS) had 13 points, 15 rebounds, six blocks and three steals, leading Detroit past Shawnee State 82-53 . . . Not to be outdone, Wendell McKines (Richmond HS) totaled 22 points, 13 rebounds and six assists and New Mexico State routed Prairie View A&M 95-76.

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Basketball: Utah Valley game thread

FINAL SCORE: Cal 85, Utah Valley 51. The Bears (7-4) play UC Santa Barbara in Tuesday’s final. Cal will shoot for its 12th Golden Bear Classic title in 17 years. Utah Valley is 6-6. Some other numbers: Omondi Amoke scored nine points off the bench, Boykin finished with eight points, Zhang had three blocks and Bak Bak had two in 5 minutes. Utah Valley’s most interesting stat: Rory Fannon fouled out in 6 minutes. The Wolverines shot 23.3 percent in the second half.

7:53 2nd H: Cal’s lead is 73-40 with Sanders-Frison shooting 2 FTs. Christopher has 18, Randle 16 and Robertson 13. All three are on the bench.

14:38 2nd H: Max just dunked and it’s 54-28.

15:22 2nd H: Cal has stretched the lead to 50-28 by outscoring the Wolverines 10-2 to start the half. Robertson is going to the FT line after the timeout. Christopher now has 14 points, including a thunderous fastbreak dunk. Swarbrick is on the Utah Valley sideline after banging his left knee. Not sure if he’ll be back.

HALFTIME: Cal 40, Utah Valley 26. That 14-point lead kind of snuck up us. Bears didn’t really play that well during stretches, but got enough done with 11 different players to take control. Cal is shooting 48.3 percent, Utah Valley 44.0 percent. Just three Cal turnovers. Sanders-Frison has two fouls, but no one else has more than one. Christopher has 10 points — the only player on either team in double figures.

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Basketball: Rankings time

It’s Monday, so the new rankings — human and computer — are out.

Here’s the latest:

– CollegeRPI.com: Duke, Kansas State, Temple, West Virginia and Texas hold down the top five spots. Cal is No. 12. Washington is No. 8. The rest of the Pac-10: 46. USC; 61. WSU; 71. Arizona; 110. ASU; 170. Stanford; 194. Oregon; 232. OSU; 236. UCLA. And Utah Valley — Cal’s opponent tonight — is No. 330.

– Sagarin: Texas, Syracuse, Duke, West Virginia and K-State are the top five. Cal is No. 20. The rest of the Pac-10: 21. UW; 49. ASU; 68. WSU; 71. USC; 107. Arizona; 118. Oregon; 138. Stanford; 168. OSU; 185. UCLA. And Utah Valley is No. 299.

– AP writers poll: 1. Kansas; 2. Texas; 3. Kentucky; 17. UW.

– ESPN/USA Today coaches poll: 1. Kansas; 2. Texas; 3. Kentucky; 16. UW.

Here’s my story from this morning’s editions on the Bears’ game tonight against Utah Valley.

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Basketball: Utah Valley scouting report

It’s been six days since the Bears (6-4) gave it their best shot at Kansas and five more until they face Stanford in their Pac-10 opener.

Today and Tuesday they host the 17th annual Golden Bear Classic, and the event has neither the panache nor the urgency of the above mentioned games.

So, what will the Bears’ goals be when they face Utah Valley tonight and either UC Santa Barbara or Furman in Tuesday’s championship game?

Let’s consider a few possibilities:

1) A couple more chances for Theo Robertson to sharpen up for the Pac-10. The senior from De La Salle HS has played twice — Dec. 9 and 22 — since missing six games with a foot injury. He was better against Kansas than against Pacific, but scored just one second-half point. Figure Robertson to play as many minutes as he needs to find his rhythm.

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Basketball: UW, UCLA head into Pac after wins

 Reeves Nelson stars for victorious Bruins . . .

AROUND THE PAC-10

– Quincy Pondexter shot 10-for-12 and scored 22 points, lifting No. 22 Washington (9-2) to an 86-71 win over visiting USF. Isaiah Thomas scored just four points on 1-for-9 shooting and is 4-for-22 from the field the past two games. The win was the 1,600th all-time for the Huskies. UW opens Pac-10 play Thursday at home against Oregon State.

– Fresshman Reeves Nelson of Modesto Christian HS scored a career-high 21 points and UCLA (5-7) won its second straight game and third in four, beating Delaware State 66-49. Nelson, replacing the departed Drew Gordon as the Bruins’ starting low post, shot 7-for-8 in the game. He is averaging 15.8 ppg and shooting 24-for-31 (77.4 percent) the past four games. The Bruins open conference play Thursday at home against Arizona State.

THE NATIONAL SCENE

Stanley Robinson scored 29 points and No. 11 UConn (9-2) beat Iona 93-74 . . . Samardo Samuels had 18 points and 14 rebounds, leading Louisville (9-3) to a 79-53 win over Radford . . . Kim English scored 23 points and Missouri (9-3) topped Austin Peay 94-79.