Basketball: Arizona State scouting report

Just in case you were wondering, we did the math: If Jerome Randle could score for an entire game at the pace he did Thursday night against Arizona when he put up 17 points in 4 minutes, 24 seconds, he’d have 154 points.

Our research department tells us that would be a record.

Cal coach Mike Montgomery’s explanation: “That’s what he does.”

Well, not the 154 points part exactly.

No, the part where the 5-foot-8 senior point guard finds just the right moment in the game, unleashes a holy flurry of points and rips the other team’s heart out.

 “If he gets open shots and he’s feeling it,” Montgomery allowed, “it’s pretty much going to go down. But the same thing is with Pat and Theo.

“He didn’t necessarily play better — he shot better,” Montgomery said of Randle’s second-half  outburst in the Bears’ 95-71 victory. “So then, of course, those 3s — bang, bang, bang. It makes us very difficult to defend.”

Monty actually missed a “bang,” as Randle hit four 3s during that span, but the point is the same: If the guy gets going, look out.

It’s hard to imagine Randle and his teammates won’t be floating just above the floor at Haas Pavilion this afternoon when the Golden Bears face second-place Arizona State with a chance to lock up at least a tie for their first Pac-10 championship in 50 seasons.

 The noon tipoff will be preceded by Senior Day ceremonies that are sure to get all the moms crying. The Bears have five seniors, seemingly more than the rest of the Pac-10 combined. They were the reason Cal was picked four months ago to win the league, and they’re the reason it could happen today.

Continue Reading


Basketball: Kidd’s first triple-double of year

Jason Kidd assembled his first triple-double of the year — and it was a good one: 19 points, 17 assists and 16 rebounds in the Dallas Mavericks’ 111-103 overtime win over Atlanta.

It was the 104th triple-double of Kidd’s career, third-most in NBA history behind Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson. Kidd’s rebound total was a season high, and his assist total tied a season high.

“This one, I will treasure as much as the first one I had,” Kidd said. “At 36, I feel great. A triple-double at 36 is special.”

The former Cal star is averaging 14.8 points, 11.2 assists and 7.8 rebounds over the past five games.


Basketball: Saturday’s big Pac-10 lineup


We’ll include them all, even if the other four don’t mean too much at this point . . .

— ARIZONA STATE AT CAL, noon, CSNBA: The Bears (19-9, 11-5) not only can lock up at least a tie for their first Pac-10 regular-season title in 50 years, but realistically also an NCAA bid with a win here. The Sun Devils (20-8, 10-5) are trying to end their own conference title drought — 35 years, dating back to the old WAC.

— ARIZONA AT STANFORD, 4 p.m., CSCNA: This is a game the Cardinal (13-15, 7-9) badly needs to win if it wants to secure seventh place and avoid a Wednesday night game at the Pac-10 tournament in two weeks. Arizona (13-14, 7-8) has dropped six of its past seven games. 

— OREGON AT UCLA, 2 p.m.: Have the Ducks (13-14, 5-10) found new life after their improbable win at USC? The Bruins (13-14, 8-7) likely will be fired up to avoid a sweep at the hands of Oregon. Both teams can get to .500 with a win.

— OREGON STATE AT USC, 4:30 p.m.: The offensively challenged Trojans (16-11, 8-7) still were mathematically in the title hunt until losing at home to Oregon on Thursday. Ugh! Well, they lost to the Beavers (12-15, 6-9) last month, and who knows whether they’re finally decided to chuck things given they have no postseason prospects.

— WASHINGTON AT WASHINGTON STATE, 7 p.m.: The Huskies (18-9, 8-7), still with just one victory outside Seattle, no doubt want to get the attention of the selection committee and inch closer to 20 victories. Not sure anything short of a run through the Pac-10 tournament will get it done. The Cougars (16-11, 6-9) lost by 28 points when the teams met at UW.

— Pac-10 standings: Cal 11-5, Arizona State 10-5, UCLA 8-7, USC 8-7, Washington 8-7, Arizona 7-8, Stanford 7-9, Oregon State 6-9, Washington State 6-9, Oregon 5-10.


Sophomore guard Damian Lillard (Oakland HS) had 18 points, seven rebounds and four steals, leading Weber State to an 85-57 win over Eastern Washington, clinching the Wildcats’ second straight Big Sky Conference regular-season title.


Basketball: Uncharted territory

Some of you have posed interesting questions regarding possible scenarios beginning Saturday with Cal’s big game against Arizona State.

These are a bit hypothetical and some folks may wonder if we’re jumping gun here. Hey, just having a little fun, so relax.

I’m going to restate the questions, give you my take, and ask your opinion:

1) If Cal beats ASU to clinch a share of the Pac-10 title, do the students storm the court?

I believe the word I’m looking for is, `Duh!’  No doubt in my mind. Most students’ parents either weren’t born yet or were wearing diapers the last time this happened, so heck yes, they party on Newell Court.

2) Do the players cut down the nets if they win Saturday?

I say they don’t because they won’t feel like the job is completely finished. You win the outright title, you take the nets.

3) If Cal beats ASU and the Sun Devils accommodate by losing next Thursday at home to USC (seemingly unlikely in the wake of the Trojans’ inexplicable home loss to Oregon), do the players visit Haas later that night to snip the nets?

My guess is it wouldn’t be an organized activity — although that would be a cool team moment. But if  I’m one of the five seniors, I’m texting the other four: Meet you at Haas in a 1/2 hr. Someone bring the scissors.

4) If the Bears wind up clinching the outright title at Stanford, does Mike Montgomery climb the ladder to help take down the nets at his old school?

Sure. Why not? He’d do it without rubbing it in anyone’s face, but he’d do it. And, if it happened, he should enjoy the moment with his team.

5) If the Bears get the outright title a week from Saturday after losing at Stanford but because ASU loses to UCLA, do they still cut down the nets at Maples?

No, but maybe they email ASU coach Herb Sendek a request to send the nets from Wells Fargo Arena.

So, tell me what you think.


Basketball: ASU tickets nearly gone

It’s possible . . . drum roll, please . . . that Cal could have a sellout for Saturday’s Pac-10 showdown with Arizona State.

Cal tells me they have about 200 tickets left and the ticket office is hoping to sell the rest before the noon tipoff.

By the way, Mike Montgomery was pleased with the atmosphere Thursday after being occasionally frustrated by smaller crowds at times this season. The Arizona game drew 10,545 — the second-biggest crowd of the season at Haas Pavilion.

“There was clearly a difference because the students showed up and they filled the section up,” Montgomery said. “It’s not a push to put people in the stands. Look, we’ve got a chance to win the conference championship, `Why don’t you come out?’ We’d like to get to the point where people appreciate good basketball, they appreciate the effort being put in and it may get to be something they do every game. That’s where you’re trying to get with the thing.

“I think we could feel the energy last night — there were just more people,” he said. “It’s tough with a 6 o’clock game. Let’s face it, you’ve got to try to get through the tunnel, across the bridge, find a good place to park. It’s just hard. They were late getting here, but the crowd was better. It was good.”

Cal is 30-3 at home the past two seasons, but has sold out just one game in the 11,877-seat Haas Pavilion. That was the UCLA game a year ago.


Football: Best measures up

Jahvid Best’s agent, Tony Fleming, said he hoped Best weighed in at 200 pounds at the NFL scouting combine. He got real close. Best was measured yesterday and came in at 5-foot-10, 199 pounds. Fleming said a 200-pound weigh-in might help alleviate some concerns that Best can’t run between the tackles in the NFL.


Basketball: Zhang likely out another two weeks

I ran into Max Zhang just outside Sather Gate on campus a half-hour ago and the good news is he’s up and feeling somewhat better.

After suffering a collapsed lung in practice on Monday — following a collision with walk-on Robert Thurman — the Bears’ sophomore center from China had a six-inch tube inserted through his right side into his lung, to help keep it inflated. The tube remained there for a day-and-a-half, Zhang said, and was very uncomfortable.

But Zhang said he’s nowhere close to being ready to play or practice. Saturday’s game against Arizona State is out, and so is Stanford a week from now, he said. Max said it likely would be at least two more weeks, maybe more, before he’s ready to go.


Basketball: Friday morning links

Here’s my game story on Cal’s 95-71 rout of Arizona, along with Gary Peterson’s column on how it took the Bears two greats “starts” to bury the Wildcats.

Bruce Pascoe of the Arizona Daily Star writes about how the Wildcats, now back under .500, looked more like the erratic team of two months ago.

And check out this endorsement of Jerome Randle from UA freshman MoMo Jones: “Jerome hit some tough shots, some big shots, and that’s what great players do. He showed a lot of people he should be Pac-10 player of the year.”

Down at Stanford, meanwhile, Arizona State coach Herb Sendek said center Eric Boateng “wouldn’t let us lose.” The Sun Devils beat the Cardinal 68-60 to set up Saturday’s showdown at Haas Pavilion for the Pac-10 title.

“Coach will sit here and tell you that it’s just another game, but we’re playing for first place in the Pac-10 with two games (left) at home,” senior Derek Glasser said. “This is as big as it gets.”