Basketball: Arizona game thread

FINAL SCORE: Cal 95, Arizona 71. The Bears improve to 19-9, 11-5 in the Pac-10, inching closer to their first Pac-10 title in 50 seasons. Randle finished with 24 points and seven assists, Boykin had 20 points and 10 rebounds, Robertson scored 18 and Christopher had 14. Arizona (13-14, 7-8) got 17 points from Derrick Williams. With a win Saturday over Arizona State, the Bears will clinch at least a tie for their first conference crown since 1960.

7:56 2nd H: Cal’s lead is 76-53 and it’s beginning to look pretty safe. Randle just got his sixth assist of the game — No. 500 for his career. That makes him just the sixth player in Pac-10 history with 1,700 points/500 assists. Robertson has 18 points, Christopher 14. The Bears are 10-for-19 from 3-point.

12:39 2nd H: Cal’s lead is 67-46 after Randle’s fourth 3-pointer in a span of 4:24. He has 22 points — 17 of them in the second half. Robertson has 16, Christopher 14. We’ll see if they can hold this lead.

15:26 2nd H: The Cats got within 45-37 when Wise scored on a drive and free throw with 18:09 left. Since then, the Bears have outscored them 13-3 and lead 58-40 with Robertson going to the line for one FT after scoring on a fastbreak layup. Randle hit three straight 3-pointers, the last one from three steps inside the halfcourt line. Gutierrez has three fouls for Cal after coming into the game for Amoke, who got his third foul. Robertson made the FT.

HALFTIME SCORE: Cal 43, Arizona 31. The Cats closed with a 14-2 run, chopping in half the Bears’ one-time 24-point lead. It was 41-17 after Christopher hit a 3-pointer with 6:13 left. At that point, he and Robertson had combined to shoot 9-for-11, including 5-for-5 from 3-PT. Cal produced just two points on its final 11 possessions of the half, and now we have a game. The Bears finished the half at 51.1 percent, shooting 1-for-10 over the final 6 minutes of the half. Christopher has 12 points, Robertson 11. Boykin has eight points and five rebounds. Randle has five points, three assists and five of Cal’s six turnovers. Lavender has 11 for Arizona, including three 3-pointers. Arizona brought its FG percentage up to 44 percent. 

3:52 1st H: Well, the Bears are up 41-23, but it was 41-17 a few minutes ago after a 3-pointer by Christopher. Since then, Cal has failed to score on five straight possessions and the Cats have crept back with a 6-0 run. Arizona has eight turnovers.

7:56 1st H: The lead is 33-17 and it was bigger until Brendan Lavender hit a 3-pointer — his second — a few moments ago for the Cats. Cal playing with great energy at both ends. Arizona not putting up much of a fight on defense — the 3-pointers are wide open. Cal is shooting 63.6 percent (14-for-22), Arizona 40 percent (6-for-15) and has six turnovers.

10:06 1st H: Now we find out if this team can put its foot on the opponent’s neck. Cal leads 29-11 after another 3-pointer by Robertson, who has 11 points. Cal is shooting 12-for-60 — 60 percent — including 4-for-6 from 3-PT.

11:29 1st H: A good sign for Cal — five offensive rebounds that have led to six second-chance points already. It’s 23-11 after a putback by Boykin.

12:23 1st H: Cal leads 21-11. The Bears are running their offense crisply — getting good open 3-pointers. They’re 3-for-4 from the arc, the last two by Robertson. Cal was up 21-9 before Brendan Lavender just scored on a drive.

14:48 1st H: Cal leads 13-8 at the first timeout. Bears are 6-for-12 from the field. Christopher has five points, including a 3-pointer. Arizona is 3-for-6 but has three turnovers. Cal is playing with energy and purpose so far.

IF YOU BUILD IT . . . Crowd starting to fill in now, although this won’t be close to a sellout. Time for tipoff.

STARTING LINEUPS: Cal will go with Jerome Randle, Patrick Christopher, Theo Robertson, Omondi Amoke and Jamal Boykin. Arizona coach Sean Miller has replaced Kevin Parrom (sore foot) with Solomon Hill. The rest of the Cats’ lineup is Nic Wise, Kyle Fogg, Jamelle Horne and Derrick Williams.

THE CROWD: Well, it’s not here yet, although we’re not terribly surprised, given the early start time. The place is less than one-fourth full right now and there are 7 minutes left until tipoff. This could benefit Arizona early, until the place starts to fill up.

A FAMILIAR FACE: Courtside with the Arizona radio team is one-time Pleasanton resident and Bishop O’Dowd HS grad Matt Meuehlebach, who authored a triple-double while part of the Wildcats’ backcourt in the late 1980s. Muehlebach is UA’s radio analyst.

GREETINGS: Hello all from Haas Pavilion. It’s not every night here at the House that Jason Kidd Built that we get a game of this much importance to the Golden Bears. Should be fun.

Both teams are on the floor warming up — Cal in its Jordan Brand 25th anniversary silver uniforms and shoes. All except Jerome Randle, who is wearing a blue Call practice jersey for warmups.

We’ll be back with the starting lineups when they’re available.

Jeff Faraudo