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Basketball: More Cal post-game

A few quick notes and observations before I log out for the night . . .

– The 95 points were the most Cal has scored against Arizona since 1996.

– Cal’s seniors obviously came to play: The four starters combined for 76 points, 20 rebounds and 14 assists. Even a few nice moments for senior reserve guard Nikola Knezevic, who scored five points and gave the crowd a great moment with a behind-the-back move before completing a layup.

– The Bears had 19 assists to just 11 turnovers.  Mike Montgomery was extremely pleased with PG Jerome Randle, who got the ball into the hands of the team’s other shooters in the first half, then took over when the opportunity presented itself. He scored 17 points in a span of 4 1/2 minutes, helping Cal transform a 47-37 lead into 67-44.

– Montgomery stopped short of declaring Randle deserves the Pac-10 Player of the Year award, but said, “All I know is we’re playing for a championship on Saturday, and we probably wouldn’t be doing that without him.”

– Jamal Boykin had 20/10 — his sixth double-double of the season. Boykin truly has had an excellent senior season. His defense also helped the Bears defuses the Arizona pick-and-roll play that was so effective in Tucson last month.

– Nice complementary efforts off the bench tonight from Markhuri Sanders-Frison (4 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 1 killer pick) and D.J. Seeley (5 points, 2 rebounds and generally good hustle).

– UA coach Sean Miller was gracious and complimentary in defeat. “Cal is a very good team and they deserve to win the Pac-10 regular-season championship,” he said. “They are led by a terrific point guard. Jerome Randle is such a prolific shooter. They are a better team than us . . . We lost to a much better team, a more experienced team and a very disciplined team that’s trying to win a conference championship here this weekend, and you could really tell. They came out and seized the moment.”

– Minus the final six minutes of the first half and the first two minutes of the second, Cal outscored Arizona 91-51.  “If we can play like that, we’re pretty tough to beat, especially at home,” said Theo Robertson, alluding to the Bears’ 14-1 record at Haas Pavilion.

– Montgomery said he’s not worried about his team’s mental state for Saturday’s Senior Day game against Arizona State, when the Bears can lock up a tie for their first Pac-10 title in 50 years. “It’s all right there in front of us,” he said.

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Basketball: ASU does its part

AROUND THE PAC-10

Sun Devils set up showdown at Haas Pavilion on Saturday . . .

– Arizona State 68, Stanford 60: Center Eric Boateng shot 11-for-11 and scored a career-high 24 points and point guard Derek Glasser scored 20 points as the Sun Devils (20-8, 10-5) stayed within a half-game of Cal at the top of the standings. ASU is trying to win its first conference title in 35 seasons. Landry Fields scored 19 points for the Cardinal (14-15, 7-9) while guard Drew Shiller added a season-high 16. But sophomore guard Jeremy Green shot just 2-for-14 and scored six points.

– Oregon 54, USC 44: The Ducks (13-14, 5-10) snapped a five-game losing streak as senior Tajuan Porter came alive to score 16 points. USC (16-11, 8-7), which entered the night still hoping to earn a piece of the Pac-10 title, shot 33 percent and turned the ball over 16 times while failing to reach 50 points for the second straight game.

– UCLA 65, Oregon State 56: The Bruins (13-14, 8-7) got 18 points, 10 rebounds, five blocks, four assists and three steals from freshman Tyler Honeycutt to complete a season sweep of the Beavers (12-15, 6-9).  OSU, which got 13 points and 12 rebounds from freshman Joe Burton, shot 3-for-20 from the 3-point arc.

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

– Saturday’s schedule: Arizona State at Cal, noon; Oregon at UCLA, 2 p.m.; Arizona at Stanford, 4 p.m.; Oregon State at USC, 4:30 p.m.; Washington State at Washington, 7 p.m.

 

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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.

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Basketball: Arizona’s Parrom out tonight

Arizona freshman wing Kevin Parrom will not play tonight at Cal or Saturday at Stanford because of pain in his foot.

An Arizona athletic department spokesperson told the Arizona Daily Star that Parrom’s post-game incident with Arizona State’s Derek Glasser on Sunday is not the reason he will sit out the games.

Parrom missed the first 10 games this season with a stress fracture in his left foot, and UA media relations director Richard Paige said he is being held out of this weekend’s games as a precaution.

Parrom, who averages 4.5 points and 4.3 rebounds and has started nine games, initiated contact with ASU’s Glasser as the game ended  Sunday, prompting Wildcats coach Sean Miller to send him to the locker room while the teams were shaking hands. Miller told the Daily Star earlier this week that the issue would be handled “in-house” and that he spoke with Parrom about the situation.

Either forward Solomon Hill or guard MoMo Jones is expected to replace Parrom in the starting lineup tonight.

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Basketball: Arizona scouting report

Let’s face it, this is a new experience for the Golden Bears: They are playing this weekend for a Pac-10 championship.

The one that has eluded Cal for nearly 50 years.

Will they be nervous? Tight? Anxious?

“I don’t think so,” Theo Robertson said. “It’s just basketball. All the other stuff that comes with these games is something we’ve worked for. I  don’t know why we should be afraid of it.”

Added Jerome Randle: “I don’t understand how anyone can get nervous.  The crowd doesn’t bother me. I’ve been playing basketball so long.”

Jamal Boykin said he’s more than OK with playing in front of a national TV audience.

“I love playing on ESPN. You get a sense the whole world is watching,” he said, “Everyone gets very excited to play on ESPN.” 

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Basketball: Pac-10 focus on Bay Area this week

AROUND THE PAC-10

Before ASU visits Cal for Saturday’s conference showdown, we bring you these important Thursday appetizers . . .

– Arizona at Cal, 6 p.m., ESPN: The Wildcats (13-13, 7-7) have won just once in five games since beating Cal (18-9, 10-5) in Tucson back on Jan. 31. The Bears bring a 13-1 home record into one of their biggest homestands in years.

– Arizona State at Stanford, 7 p.m.: The Bears would welcome some help here from the Cardinal (13-14, 7-8), which is 5-1 at home in Pac-10 play and would love to square its overall and conference records. But the second-place Sun Devils (19-8, 9-5) rocketed out to a hard-to-believe 54-17 lead over Stanford in their first meeting before pocketing an 88-70 victory.

– Oregon at USC, 7:30 p.m.: The last-place Ducks (12-14, 4-10) actually beat the Trojans (16-10, 8-6) when these teams met in Eugene, Ore., last month. Can’t see that happening here, given USC’s 11-3 home record and Oregon’s 2-7 road mark. But this is the Pac-10, so who knows?

– Oregon State at UCLA, 8 p.m.: The Bruins (12-14, 7-7) are running out of players taller than 6-foot-6. Senior forward James Keefe had career-ending shoulder surgery a week ago, freshman forward/center Nelson Reeves had laser surgery to repair a slight tear of his retina this week and was not cleared to play this week. And freshman forward Brendan Lane sprained his ankle in practice Tuesday and is a game-time decision. The Beavers (12-14, 6-8) would like to climb out of eighth place and avoid having to play in the Wednesday 8 vs. 9 game at the Pac-10 tournament. 

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Basketball: Silver Bears to face Arizona

Yes, the Golden Bears will wear silver uniforms and shoes for Thursday night’s Pac-10 game against Arizona.

A Cal spokesperson confirmed word we received late today that Cal is one of three collegiate teams this week that will help celebrate Jordan Brand’s 25th anniversary by wearing special silver anniversary uniforms and shoes.

North Carolina, where Jordan played his college ball, debuted the new Nike franchise gear tonight . . . and the Tar Heels lost  77-67 to Florida State. (Of course, the Tar Heels are just 14-14 this season after winning the national championship in 2009, so their uniforms likely had nothing to do with it). Georgetown will wear them Saturday against Notre Dame.

Here’s an excerpt from the news release on the new shoes:

“In the quest to develop the 25th AIR JORDAN shoe, Michael Jordan had a simple request – to build a partially transparent game shoe. MJ said he was able to master opponents by only allowing them to see what he wanted them to see, never showing his defender every aspect of his game and always saving something more.”

Don’t know about you, but I’m positively breathless. For a moment, I was sure we were talking about a new NASA spacesuit.

Folks, it’s a basketball shoe – a $170 shoe, by the way. (In the PR photos I saw, the shoe wasn’t exactly transparent, so I’m not certain I get it).

Still, I’m sure we’re all grateful MJ didn’t ask for transparent uniforms!

So I want to know: What do you think of this detour from tradition?