Rene Herrerias, who served as Pete Newell’s top aide and then succeeded him as Cal’s head coach, said his late boss and friend would have enjoyed watching the Golden Bears win a Pac-10 title for the first time since his final season of 1960.
“I think he’d be real proud of the team,” Herrerias said. “He liked (Mike) Montgomery, thought he was a good coach. He liked his ideas, liked his discipline – the same discipline that Pete had. That’s what Montgomery’s brought to the floor.
“He would have really been happy. He’s probably laughing up there.”
Newell, a Hall of Fame coach who directed the Bears to consecutive Final Fours and the 1959 national title, died last fall.
Herrerias watched the Bears’ 62-46 win over Arizona State on TV and said it’s “wonderful” they have clinched at least a tie for the conference crown.
“It’s long overdue,” he said. “The kids played very well. It was great. It’s good for Cal. I thought in time it would (happen) . . . it had to happen. Fifty years is a long time.”
AROUND THE PAC-10
– Oregon State has signed coach Craig Robinson to a two-year contract extension, keeping him in Corvallis through the 2015-16 season.
Robinson’s 31 victories since taking the Oregon State job in 2008 are the most for the Beavers over two years since the 1989-90 and ’90-91 seasons. Oregon State finishes the regular season at home, playing Washington State on Thursday and Washington on Saturday.
Cory Higgins (Danville-Monte Vista HS) had 19 points, six rebounds, four assists and four steals, leading Colorado to an 81-68 road victory over Nebraska , snapping a 36-game Big 12 road losing streak that dated back to 2006 . . . Eli Holman (Richmond HS) had 21 points and 15 rebounds as Detroit beat Valaparaiso 89-82.