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Football: Allen visiting?

There are multiple reports out there that safety Keenan Allen of Greensboro, N.C. is visiting Cal this weekend. This is something I heard last week may happen but have yet to get confirmed. But there is no reason to believe the reports out there are wrong. Allen reportedly is on campus along with his half-brother, Zach Maynard, who is transferring out of Buffalo and is looking to join Allen at the same school.

Allen is the No. 1-rated safety in the country by scout.com and the fifth-best overall prospect. He is a soft commit to Alabama and is believed to also be strongly considering Clemson.

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Basketball: Bears practice at ASU, head south

Cal  went through a 2-hour workout at a student rec center on ASU’s campus early this afternoon before boarding a bus to drive south to Tucson.

As practice ended, it was clear the players still were feeling good about Thursday night’s win over the Sun Devils. Lots of smiles, lots of optimism about Sunday’s battle with Arizona.

Guards Jerome Randle and Jorge Gutierrez both emerged with ice packs taped around their knees, but there is no doubt both will be on the floor two days from now.

Also, a note from Cal about our earlier report that the Bears never have excecuted an Arizona road sweep. It did happen once, but with a big asterisk: Cal beat both the Sun Devils and Wildcats on the road during the 1955-56 season — in a pair of non-conference matchups 23 years before the two desert schools were folded into the Pac-10.

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Football: Senior Bowl stuff

Practices for the Senior Bowl are done for the week. Both teams just have walk-throughs today. I don’t have any links today but can tell you that by almost every account both cornerback Syd’Quan Thompson and defensive end Tyson Alualu impressed during the week and likely helped their draft stock. Before the week, it seemed both players were regarded around third-round talent. Thompson may have moved up into the second round and Alualu might have done the same, or possibly early third. The last evaluation of the week will come tomorrow with the actual game, which begins at Noon and airs on the NFL Network.

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Basketball: Can Bears get historic desert sweep?

OK, here’s something even I didn’t remember. In fact, I was so sure it couldn’t be true that I re-checked it three times: Cal has NEVER pulled off a (Pac-10) road sweep against the Arizona schools.

Yeah. Wow!

Cal will try to re-write that long history Sunday at Arizona in a battle for first place in the Pac-10.

Here’s my story on the Cal-ASU game from this morning’s editions. From the Arizona Republic, this look at how ASU’s defense suddenly is slipping.

And here is Cal’s year-by-year ledger in the desert since the Arizona schools joined the conference in 1978-79:

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Basketball: Arizona beats Stanford, emerges from five-way tie for second place in Pac-10

AROUND THE PAC-10

– Arizona 76, Stanford 68: The Wildcats (11-9, 5-3) took over sole possession of second place by winning their third straight game. Freshman Derrick Williams had 23 points and eight rebounds, Kyle Fogg had 15 and Nic Wise 14. The Wildcats won despite shooting 32.8 percent. Stanford (10-10, 4-4) remained winless on the road this season despite 31 point and 11 rebounds from Landry Fields and 25 points from Jeremy Green. The rest of the team shot a combined 5-for-15. Quarterback Tavita Pritchard, who joined the team on Tuesday, did not play.

– Oregon State 51, USC 45: The Beavers (9-11, 3-5) used 25 points from guard Calvin Haynes to upset the Trojans (12-8, 4-4) in Corvallis. OSU rallied from 10 points down in the first half. Nikola Vucevic had 12 points to lead USC, which shot 39 percent and had 19 turnovers.

– Oregon 71, UCLA 66, OT: The Ducks (11-9, 3-5) snapped a five-game losing streak as Tajuan Porter and Matt Humphrey each scored 15 points. E.J. Singler scored six points in the final 1:10 of overtime to help secure the win. UCLA’s Michael Roll buried a long 3-pointer with 10.7 seconds left in the second half to force overtime. Nikola Dragovic scored 19 points for the Bruins (9-11, 4-4).

– Pac-10 standings: Cal 6-2, Arizona 5-3, Arizona State 4-4, Stanford 4-4, UCLA 4-4, USC 4-4, Washington State 4-4, Oregon 3-5, Oregon State 3-5, Washington 3-5.

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Basketball: Quick post-game notes

A few things from the post-game:

– Mike Montgomery said center Markhuri Sanders-Frison, who was going to join the team on Friday after skipping the ASU game because of ongoing back issues, won’t make the trip to Arizona, after all. Just doesn’t make sense, Monty said. He hasn’t practiced, and they want him to stay home so he can, hopefully, get healthy for next week’s trip to L.A.

– Forward Omondi Amoke, who played just 10 minutes and was scoreless, was sick, Montgomery said, adding that missed his energy.

– Cal had three players — Randle, Chistopher and Boykin — each score 20 points or more. No one was sure the last time that happened, but it hasn’t been done dating back at least through the start of the 2007-08 season.

– Cal was 14-for-14 from the FT line.

– Among the five teams that entered play on Thursday tied for second, only Arizona won. The Wildcats will be sole owners of second place Sunday when the first-place Bears visit.

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Basketball: ASU game thread

FINAL SCORE: Cal 78, ASU 70. A huge win for Cal (14-6, 6-2), which retains sole possession of first place heading to Arizona on Sunday afternoon. Az beat Stanford 76-68 and is 5-3, just one game out. This may have been Cal’s best all-around game — a road win against a good team where the offense and defense clicked pretty well. ASU falls to 14-7, 4-4.

0:23.2 2nd H: Cal had a 10-point lead a moment ago, but Victor Rudd stole a Randle pass and dunked, so it’s 78-70. Cal still in very good shape. Christopher has made six straight FTs and has 21 to go with 25 each for Randle and Boykin. That’s 71 from those three.

0:51.9 2nd H: Christopher made two FTs with 1:02 left, making it 74-68, and Gutierrez just drew a charge from Abbott. Cal ball after a timeout.

1:05 2nd H: Boateng just scored again on a putback — has 19 points, 13 rebounds. Likely greatest game of his life. It’s 72-68. Cal has the ball after Robertson was fouled. A new 35-second shot clock.

1:54 2nd H: Cal’s lead back to 72-66 on a 3-pointer from the right corner by Gutierrez, answering Boateng’s FT. Then Christopher just dropped in a step-back shot from the FT line. ASU timeout. Good game.

3:23 2nd H: Boateng’s FT — good. 67-66.

3:23 2nd H: It’s a whole new ballgame, folks. ASU has gone 12-2 on the  Bears, pulling within 67-65 just now when Boateng put back his own miss, and was fouled. He’s going to the FT line for one. Cal has scored just two points since leading 65-53 on Randle’s steal and layup with 8:52 left. Since then, Bears are 1-for-5 with two TOs and no offensive rebounds. ASU has slowed the pace, so each possession is critical, and Cal has wasted a few. Boateng has 16 points and 12 rebounds. Randle and Boykin 25 points each.

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Basketball: Arizona State scouting report

A reunion of sorts tonight for seniors Jamal Boykin of Cal and Eric Boateng of Arizona State.

The two began their college careers at Duke, both transferring out as sophomores. Now they’ll bang one another in the low post when the Bears (13-6, 5-2) face the Sun Devils (14-6, 4-3) at Wells Fargo Arena.

“We were roommates. I consider him like a brother,” Boykin said this week. “You start out with someone in college, go through the same things, we have a special bond.”

Both played in these matchups a year ago, but power forward Boykin never guarded Boateng, or vice versa. Harper Kamp (injured) or Jordan Wilkes (departed) had the assignment for Cal against Boateng, a true center.

“It should be fun,” Boykin said.

Boateng made the call to exit first, and Boykin said he figured that opened the door a bit more for his future. He was going to redshirt that season, anyway, because he missed time with mononucleosis. Ultimately, he followed Boateng out the door.

“It was just a realization of where you stood in the program and  understandng the role we had envisioned going into Duke wouldn’t be the role that would be carried out over those four years,” Boykin said. 

Three years later, Boykin has no hard feelings. He said he enjoyed his time at Duke, and still follows them on TV. Actually, he can hardly get away from them.

“They’re on TV more than a lot of NBA teams. In our locker room, ESPN is on all the time, so you can’t help but see them,” he said. “I think they’re a great basketball team to watch.”

Boykin said the Bears, who play their next four games on the road, are entering a key stretch in their season.

“It’s very huge,” he said. “If we can come out on top of these four games, we’ll definitely be looking at the Pac-10 championship, which has been our goal for the past two years.”

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Basketball: Villanova (19-1) off to best start

AROUND THE PAC-10

Thursday’s schedule . . .

– Cal (13-6, 5-2) at Arizona State (14-6, 4-3), 5:30 p.m.: The Bears try to stave off advances of a pack of five teams just one game back in second place.

– Stanford (10-9, 4-3) at Arizona (10-9, 4-3), 5 p.m.: The Cardinal basketball team has a new quarterback — a real one. Senior Tavita Pritchard, the football team’s starting QB in 2007 and 2008, has been added to an injury-depleted roster and has accompanied Stanford to Tucson. Can he help the Cardinal win a road game?

– USC (12-7, 4-3) at Oregon State (8-11, 2-5), 5:30 p.m.: Four of OSU’s five conference defeats are by single digits. USC is coming off a 26-point rout of Washington.

– UCLA (9-10, 4-3) at Oregon (10-9, 2-5), 7:30 p.m.: As bad as the Ducks were last weekend in the Bay Area, they’re 0-3 at home in the Pac-10.

THE NATIONAL SCENE

Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher each scored 17 points and No. 3 Villanova (19-1) is off to the best start in school history after a 90-72 win over Notre Dame. Luke Harangody scored 21 for the Irish . . . Damion James had 28 points and 13 rebounds and No. 6 Texas (18-2) snapped a two-game losing streak with a 95-83 win over Texas Tech. John Roberson scored 27 points for the Red Raiders . . . Jon Scheyer scored 22 points and Kyle Singler had 20 as No. 8 Duke (17-3) beat Florida State 70-56 . . . Dairese Gary scored 25 points, leading No. 20 New Mexico (19-3) to a  76-72 win over No. 12 BYU (20-2). Jimmer Fredette had 27 points and seven assists for the Cougars . . . Jamine Patterson scored 23 points and Providence posted an 81-66 upset of No. 19 UConn (13-7), the Huskies’ fourth straight conference road defeat . . . Led by 16 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists from Evan Turner, No. 20 Ohio State (15-6) claimed a 65-57 win at Iowa . . . No. 21 Vanderbilt (16-3) won its 10th straight game, an 85-76 win over Tennessee, fueled by 25 points from Jermaine Beal.

LOCAL HEROES

Kyle Roemer (Concord-De La Salle HS) scored 18 points and Colgate beat Holy Cross 69-68 . . . Stephen Lumpkins San Mateo-Serra HS) had 14 points and six rebounds in American’s 69-59 defeat of Navy . . . Cory Higgins (Danville-Monte Vista HS) contributed 11 points, six rebounds and three steals to Colorado’s 72-60 victory over Nebraska.