Basketball: Cal climbs to No. 21 in RPI

Cal’s win over Arizona State boosted the Bears three spots to No. 21, according to RealTimeRPI.com. I believe that’s the Bears’ highest computer ranking of the season.

They remain 0-4 against top-50 RPI teams — No. 1 Kansas, No. 3 Syracuse, No. 7 New Mexico and No. 29 Ohio State. But they are now 5-2 against teams ranked No. 51 to 100, with wins over No. 54 ASU (twice), and No. 69 Murray State, along with splits vs. No. 56 Washington and No. 90 Arizona.


Basketball: The undercard games


While Cal and ASU were playing THE game . . .

— Arizona 71, Stanford 69: The Wildcats (14-14, 8-8) won a thriller at Maples Pavilion as freshman Derrick Williams blocked Jack Trotter’s potential game-winning layup, then freshman MoMo Jones banked in a transition jump shot just before the buzzer. The win was just the second in seven games for the Cats, who got 24 points from Williams and 16 from Jones. Senior Landry Fields scored 24 points for Stanford (13-16, 7-10) and made the choice to pass to Trotter under the basket rather than take the shot that could have won the game. Jeremy Green added 15 for Stanford, which has lost three straight home games after starting the Pac-10 with five wins at Maples.

— Oregon 70, UCLA 68: The Ducks (14-14, 6-10) completed an unexpected road sweep in L.A. when senior guard Tajuan Porter made the go-ahead 3-pointer with 49.6 seconds left. Porter, who has been mired in virtually a season-long slump, scored 29 points and Oregon snapped a six-game losing streak at Pauley Pavilion. Sophomore Jeremy Jacob matched his career-high with 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. The Bruins (13-15, 8-8) , which rallied from a 14-point second half deficit, was led by senior guard Michael Roll, who equaled his career-high with 25 points, and freshman Tyler Honeycutt, who had 13 points and nine assists.

— Oregon State 49, USC 44: The Trojans (16-12, -8), who opened the week still hoping to grab a piece of the Pac-10 title, were swept at home by the Oregon schools. Mike Gerrity scored 13 points for USC, which shot 29.4 percent and has failed to score 50 points in three straight games.  The Beavers (13-15, 7-9) were led by senior Seth Tarver, who had 15 points.

— Washington 59, Washington State 52: Isaiah Thomas scored 22 points and the Huskies (19-9, 9-7) moved into third place by beating the Cougars ( 16-12, 6-10). WSU’s Klay Thompson continued to slump, shooting 2-for-14 and scoring five points as the Cougars slipped into a tie for last place.

— Pac-10 standings: Cal 12-5, Arizona State 10-6, Washington 9-7, Arizona 8-8, UCLA 8-8, USC 8-8, Oregon State 7-9, Stanford 7-10, Oregon 6-10, Washington State 6-10.

Continue Reading


Basketball: A busy 50 years

Boy, a lot has happened since that most recent title in 1960 . . .

JFK beats Tricky Dick . . . The Beatles on Ed Sullivan . . . Neil Armstrong on the moon . . . Ali is The Greatest . . . Gretzky is The Great One . . . LeBron is The King . . . the personal computer and the cell phone . . . the Berlin Wall falls . . . so does Tiger Woods . . . two Godfather movies win Academy Awards . . . a third is forgettable . . .  JFK, Bobby and MLK are assassinated . . . Elvis dies, or does he? . . . Vietnam . . . Watergate . . . The Play, The Catch, The Drive . . . The A’s move to Oakland and win four World Series . . . the Raiders move to Los Angeles, then back. Sort of . . . Walsh, Montana and Rice dominate the NFL . . . Carson dominates late night TV . . . Motown dominates everyone . . . Letterman vs. Leno . . . Palmer vs. Nicklaus . . . Connors vs. Borg . . .the Big Mac vs. the Jumbo Jack . . . Wilt scores 100 . . . Wilt scores 20,000 . . . Bird and Magic . . . MJ  . . .O.J. . . . Nadia’s perfect 10 . . . Pistol Pete . . . Spitz and Phelps  . . . Billie Jean beats Bobby Riggs . . . Title IX . . . the UConn women . . . the Slinky, Frisbee, pet rock and Rubik’s Cube . . . UCLA wins 10 NCAA titles in 12 years . . .  the Warriors win the 1975 NBA title, then perform magic and disappear . . . disco . . . global warming . . . SNL . . . reality TV (help!) . . . steroids . . . the Red Sox win two World Series . . . the Cubs don’t . . .  ditto the Giants . . . Star Wars, Forrest Gump and Harry Potter . . . Miracle on Ice  . . . 9/11 . . . Usain Bolt breaks the speed of sound, almost . . . something called Lady Gaga . . . a body builder/actor in Sacramento  . . . an African American in the White House . . . and, finally, a banner at Haas.


Basketball: More Cal post-game . . . much more

More from Cal’s historic victory over Arizona State . . .

— The final score today: 62-46. The final score 50 years ago today when Cal last clinched a conference title: 62-47 (over Oregon State). Means nothing, but kinda cool.

— The biggest in-game move made by Mike Montgomery today was to quit doubling down on ASU center Eric Boateng in the second half. The change allowed the Bears to play tighter against ASU’s shooters. The result: the Sun Devils shot 51.9 percent in the first half, 26.9 percent in the second half. ASU was 1-for-10 from the 3-point line after halftime.

— That strategy only worked because senior Jamal Boykin was able to shut down his ex-Duke teammate one-on-one. Boateng, who scored 24 points on 11-for-11 shooting at Stanford two nights earlier, did not attempt a shot in 12 minutes in the second half. “Jamal and Boateng were like two Brahma bulls,” Montgomery said “I thought Jamal was great, the energy he gave us.”

— As usual, Jorge Gutierrez’s stats don’t tell the story. He played 20  minutes, had six points and two rebounds and it felt like he took over the games at times in the second half. “He just started guarding everybody,” Montgomery said.

— He did more than that. His driving dunk with 11:38 left helped spark the offense and his aggressive swat of Boateng, knocking the 6-foot-10 center to the floor after Robertson already had fouled him, sent a clear message.

— A couple players labeled Gutierrez and sophomore forward Omondi Amoke the team’s “X-factors.” Amoke had six points, six rebounds, two assists and two blocked shots. “Omondi gave us energy and that’s what he does,” Montgomery said. He gave us a lot of second-chance opportunities.” One he probably didn’t get credit for was a tip of a missed shot by Christopher, keeping alive the ball, which Robertson grabbed and turned into a three-point play for Cal’s first double-digit game of the day, 52-42, with 8:40 left.

Continue Reading


Basketball: ASU game thread

MONTY SPEAKS: Montgomery took the mic and thanked the crowd. “Arizona State was great tonight, but these kids just wouldn’t be denied. This is the crowd we need all the time. I hope you had fun.” And today is Montgomery’s birthday.

IT’S OVER: Cal 62, ASU 46. Cal owns at least a piece of its first conference title in 50 years. Students stormed the court and mobbed the players as two machines filled the air with blue and gold confetti. Cal (20-9, 12-5) also has locked up the No. 1 seed for the Pac-10 tournament. And there’s a ladder under the north basket, so the nets are coming down. Randle snipped the first piece, then Boykin, Robertson, Sanders-Frison, Amoke, Gutierrez (to a huge cheer), Knezevic (grabbing the rim, pumping his first and hopping up and down on the ladder and puming his first some more), Brandon Smith, D.J. Seeley, Max Zhang (another favorite), Nigel Carter, Christopher (huge smile), Bak Bak and (with the crowd roaring) Monty, who made the final snips, waved the nets at the crowd and pumped his fist.

THE STATS: Boykin and Christopher each had 14 points and Robertson 13. Cal held ASU to one field goal — 1-for-12 shooting over a span of more than 1o minutes to end the game until a garbage-time basket with 31 seconds left.

3:26 2nd H: Cal leads 59-44 after layups by Boykin off feeds from Robertson and Gutierrez. Cal just gave a team jersey and game ball to official timer John Mahaffey, who has been part of things at Cal since his freshman year as a student — in 1952! Today is his final game. Tallk about your Senior Day.

4:44 2nd H: Cal has its biggest lead of the game — 57-44 — after a Boykin layup off a feed from Robertson. Cal is playing extremely hard on defense and ASU is getting nothing easy. Boykin has 12 points, Christopher 14, Robertson 10. Gutierrez and Amoke both making big contributions.

Continue Reading


Basketball: Third time’s a charm?

Long-time Cal fans may recall two previous chances over the past 50 seasons — actually both were in the past 16 years — that the Bears had chances on the final weekend of the regular season to either clinch a tie for the Pac-10 title or move into a share of first place.

— 1993-94: It was March 12, final day of the regular season, and Cal arrived for its game at Washington State with a 13-4 record. Arizona was 14-3, but lost 94-87 at Arizona State, opening the door for Cal to claim a piece of the title. Lamond Murray scored 38 points — I swear, he made at least one shot from the right corner without even looking at the basket — and Jason Kidd had 23. But the rest of the team shot 3-for-11 and Eddie Hill scored 27 for a good WSU team, which rallied for a 94-82 win. Cal and UCLA wound up tied for second at 13-5.

— 2005-06: It was March 2, at home vs. UCLA, the second-to-last game of the Pac-10 schedule. The Bruins were in first at 12-4, but Cal was tied for second, just one game back at 11-5. A win and the Bears would have moved into a tie for first with one game left. Theo Robertson, a freshman at the time, hit a 3-pointer with 29 seconds left to force overtime, but the Bruins won 67-58, scoring the final 20 points of OT. Leon Powe had 20 points, but Cal wound up in third place at 12-6.

Different set of circumstances today, different players, different coach, different opponent, different time.

We’ll see what happens in less than three hours.

Here’s my story from this morning’s edition, taking you back 50 years ago to the day, when Cal clinched its most recent conference title with a 62-47 win at Oregon State.

Visiting Arizona State, seeking its first conference title in 35 seasons, will be ready to go, too. “This is as big as it gets,” said ASU senior point guard Derek Glasser.