Basketball: Pac-12 weekly honor to Cobbs

Cal sophomore point guard Justin Cobbs, who had 38 points and 21 assists in two games to help keep the Bears tied for first place, was named Pac-12 Player of the Week.

In the 15th week of giving the award, the Pac-12 finally found a Cal player worthy of the honor.

“I don’t think there could be much of a question based on the numbers,” Cal coach Mike Montgomery said.

“It’s a blessing,” Cobbs said of getting the award. “I played pretty well this weekend. I’m a lot more confident. I’m kind of picking spots when to be aggressive, when not to be aggressive. Like against Oregon State, we had guys going and those are times when I don’t need to score the ball and I can just look for my teammates.” 

Cobbs, a transfer from Minnesota, had a career-high 28 points along with eight assists, four steals and zero turnovers in 38 minutes as the Bears beat Oregon 86-83. Then he had 10 points and a career-best 13 assists, playing 40 minutes in a 77-63 win over Oregon State.

No Cal player has had more assists in a game since 1993-94, when Jason Kidd had four games ofg 13 assists or more, including a school-record 18 vs. Stanford.

“Jason Kidd, yeah . . . to be up there with him is an honor,” Cobb said. “I’m surrounded by great guys. Harper (Kamp) is capable, Jorge (Gutierrez) is capable and Allen (Crabbe) is definitely capable. When you’re surrounded by guys who are always putting up high numbers, it makes the game easier for you.”

Cobb is second in the Pac-12 in assists (5.0 per game) and 11th in scoring (13.2 ppg).



Women’s basketball: Cal’s Layshia Clarendon named Pac-12 Player of Week

Cal junior guard Layshia Clarendon, who averaged 24.5 points and 5.o rebounds in two road victories, was named Pac-12 Player of the Week.

Clarendon is the second Cal women’s player given the league’s weekly honor this season, joining Gennifer Brandon, who won on Dec. 19. Here is the Cal news release on Clarendon’s award.

Clarendon will appear on Monday’s Cal Coaches Corner talk show, from 6 to 7 p.m. on NewsTalk 910-AM.


Basketball: Bears inch higher in RPI rankings

Home wins over Oregon and Oregon State elevated the Bears to No. 29 in the latest NCAA official RPI rankings. Cal was No. 36 at this time last week.

No other Pac-12 teams is among the top 50. Washington, tied with Cal for first place in the conference standings, is No. 54, just ahead of Oregon at No. 55.

Utah, Cal’s Thursday opponent, is No. 275 — the worst of three Pac-12 teams mired in the 200s.

Meanwhile . . .

   — Still no Pac-12 team in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll, but Cal has moved to third among others receiving votes, meaning they are No. 28. The Bears are eighth among others who got votes in the AP Top-25.

   — No significant changes in ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi’s newest NCAA tournament projections. He still has Cal as a No. 9 seed playing Southern Miss in Omaha, with the chance to take on top-seeded Missouri in the second round. Washington is a No. 11 seed, Arizona a No. 12. Oregon is listed among the first four teams out.


Baseball: Sweep of Pacific caps big Cal weekend

Cal’s No. 22 baseball team beat Pacific 9-3 at Evans Diamond on Sunday, completing a three-game, season-opening series sweep of the Tigers.

A pretty good exclamation point on the weekend for Cal athletics:

   — The men’s basketball team beat Oregon and Oregon State to improve to 22-6 overall, 12-3 and still tied for first place in the Pac-12 standings. Expect the Bears to move into the top-30 on Monday when the official NCAA RPI ratings are released, and expect sophomore point guard Justin Cobbs to be named Pac-12 Player of the Week.

   — The women’s basketball team went on the road and swept the Oregons, reaching 20 victories for the fifth time in six seasons. The Bears are 10-4 in conference play and have a two-game cushion on third place.

   — The Cal rugby team, which hardly broke a sweat while outscoring its first nine opponents 650 to 23, claimed a 13-12 win over the British Columbia Thunderbirds, a Canadian powerhouse, in the first game of their long-time “World Cup” series. The Bears travel to B.C. on March 25 to complete the two-game set.

   — The Cal softball team, ranked No. 1 and No. 3 nationally by separate polls, improved to 8-0 on the season with four wins at the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic in Las Vegas. The Bears beat LSU 14-3 on Sunday to close out the event.  Pleasanton native Valerie Arioto is batting .625 with seven homers and 18 RBI through eight games. On Sunday, LSU wisely walked her three times.

   — The only notable defeats for the Bears came in men’s and women’s swimming. The No. 3 Stanford men beat the No. 6 Bears 146.5 to 96.5 and the the Cardinal women upended the top-ranked Bears 174-126, in dual meets Saturday at Stanford.


Basketball: Oregon St. game thread

FINAL SCORE: Cal 77, OSU 63. Bears improve to 22-6, 12-3 in the Pac-12 and stay tied for first with Washington. Both teams finish with three straight road games. Cal begins its stretch drive on Thursday night at Utah.

Gutierrez had 17 points and seven rebounds in his Haas finale, Kamp 13 points and seven rebounds. Both left to a standing ovation with 40 seconds left. Kravish had a career-high 17 points and seven rebounds. Crabbe scored 16 with eight rebounds. And Cobbs had 10 points and a career-high 13 assists. Cal reports that no Cal player has had more than 13 assists in a game since Jason Kidd in 1994. Pretty good company.

Here’s my game story.

4:04 2nd H: Bak puts back his own miss and it’s 69-56.

4:44 2nd H: A 3-pointer by Crabbe after a dunk by Cobbs and it’s 67-56.

5:22 2nd H: Cal timeout after a putback by Moreland, a missed layup by Kravish and a 3-pointer by Cunningham pull the Beavers within 62-56.

6:18 2nd H: Kamp just came out for Bak after picking up his fourth PF. Monty’s first sub of the second half.

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Basketball: Powe, Gutierrez are fan faves

In our (very) unofficial poll of your favorite Cal basketball player, looks like Leon Powe scores a narrow victory over Jorge Gutierrez (8 to 7), with Jason Kidd (5), Jerome Randle (5) and Kevin Johnson (4) close behind.

All good choices.

Now, some of you pretty much stuffed the ballot box with multiple votes. Jauncho, always a fountain of information, listed off 417 different Cal players he likes. Or something like that. What a memory the guy has!

Twenty-two different players were mentioned (not counting those on long lists).

I saw most of them play — including Gene Ransom while he was at Berkeley HS — and a few stand out as those most fun to watch (I will exclude the current players, whom I continue to report on):

1) Jason Kidd — Not only (easily) Cal’s best player ever, but no one ever played the game harder or made it look so much like ballet.

2) Leon Powe — A warrior. A great guy. A great story.

3) KJ — The player who first elevated Cal’s program after about a quarter-century of dormancy. Faster with the ball for 94 feet than almost anyone.

4) Tony Gonzalez — Future NBA player Tim Thomas of Villanova was scared to death in that NCAA tournament matchup.

5)  Lamond Murray — Never really looked like he was trying, but he had an NBA body and an NBA shooter’s touch the day he walked onto campus.


Women’s basketball: Bears reach 20 wins

Cal’s women (20-7, 11-4) completed a weekend sweep in Oregon, toppling Oregon State 75-68 in Corvallis.

Layshia Clarendon scored 22 points to lead four players in double figures. Cal reached the 20-victory plateau for the fifth time in six seasons.

Cal, the Pac-12’s worst foul-shooting team, outscored the Beavers 24-4 at the line.

The Beavers (17-9, 8-7) fell three games behind the second-place Bears with three to play.


Basketball: Huskies keep pressure on Cal

Washington inched a half-game ahead of Cal with a big win over streaking Arizona in its home finale . . .

   — Washington 79, Arizona 70: Terrence Ross scored 25 points and Tony Wroten had 22 as the Huskies (19-8, 12-3) won for the eight time in nine games.  Freshman Nick Johnson scored 20 points for the Wildcats (19-9, 10-5), who had won five in a row but fell two games off the pace with three left.

   — Colorado 55, Utah 48: The Buffaloes (18-8, 10-4) led just 5-4 after more than 8 minutes but moved into sole possession of third place with a road win. Andre Roberson had 12 points and 15 rebounds for CU. Center Jason Washburn had 16 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks for the Utes (5-21, 2-12).

   — Washington State 72, Arizona State 50: The Cougars (14-13, 6-9) led 36-8 at halftime and breezed to victory. DeVonte Lacy had 17 points and Brock Motum 16 for WSU. ASU (8-19, 4-11), which shot 3 for 18 in the first half, got 18 from Chris Colvin, and 32 from everyone else.

  — St. John’s 66, UCLA 63: The Bruins (15-12) missed a chance to boost the sagging reputation of the Pac-12, losing on the road to the 14th-place team in the Big East. Travis Wear had 11 points and 13 rebounds and Tyler Lamb scored 18 for UCLA.

Elsewhere . . .

   — Wendell McKines (Richmond HS) had 25 points and 12 rebounds for his 42nd career double-double, leading New Mexico State (20-8) to a 71-55 win over Drake.

   — Drew Gordon (Archbishop Mitty HS) had 27 points and 20 rebounds as New Mexico (22-4) routed No. 11 UNLV 65-45. In wins this week over UNLV and San Diego State, Gordon totaled 44 points and 37 rebounds.

   — Brian Stafford (Las Lomas HS) had 25 points, including six 3-pointers, as Denver (20-8) routed Louisiana-Monroe 76-57.

   — Damian Lillard (Oakland HS) scored 17 points and Weber State (22-4) snapped Texas-Arlington’s school-record 16-game win streak with a 72-70 victory.



Basketball: Oregon State scouting report

 TIPOFF: 7 p.m. Saturday at Haas Pavilion. TV: CSNCA. Radio: 910-AM.

No shortage of motivation Saturday night for the Golden Bears:

   — Senior Night and the chance for Jorge Gutierrez and HarperKamp to go out with a victory

   — First-place in the Pac-10 standings with four regular-season games remaining

   — Revenge

Cal probably played its poorest defensive game of the Pac-12 season in its 92-85 loss at Oregon State back on Jan. 5.

“We actually shot the ball pretty well against them,” coach Mike Montgomery said. “We just couldn’t get them stopped.”

Here’s my story on Gutierrez and Kamp

“(Jared) Cunningham create six straight fouls at the start of the second half. (Ahmad) Starks hit some tough shots. They just shot lights-out against us,” Montgomery said. “Obviously, we need to do a better job defensively.”

Cunningham and Starks each scored 24 points and the Beavers shot 11 for 18 from the 3-point line while matching Missouri’s point total — highest allowed by Cal all season.

“They’re one of the top offensive teams in the league and we did a poor job defending them,” said Gutierrez, referring to OSU’s conference-leading 80.5-point scoring average. “We need to be aggressive, we need to take away the stuff they do best. I don’t think we wer mentally focused on the game. But that’s no excuse for the way we play.

“Hopefully we’ll play better this time.”

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Women’s basketball: Bears go for Oregon sweep

TIPOFF: Cal (19-7, 10-4 Pac-12) vs. Oregon State (17-8, 8-6) at Gill Coliseum, Corvallis, Ore., Saturday, 2 p.m.

GAME THEME: The Bears can further solidify their hold on second place by knocking off the Beavers, whom they have beaten 11 straight times, including 73-56 in Berkeley back on Jan. 5. Cal dominated that game, up by 15 at halftime. OSU had won six in a row before losing 78-45 to. No. 3 Stanford on Thursday. Certainly, it cannot hurt the Bears that their Saturday opponent is always coming off a thrashing at the hands of one of the nation’s top teams. But first-year coach Lindsay Gottlieb’s squad has played solid, consistent ball all season.

NOTES: The Bears have won 10 of their past 12 games, triggered by their win over OSU at Berkeley . . . The Beavers have climbed to the middle of the conference standings this season after finishing last a year ago . . . Cal needs one victory to reach 20 wins for the fifth time in six seasons. The Bears already have exceeded their win total of 2010-11, when they were 18-16 . . . Cal and OSU are the Pac-12’s two worst free-throw shooting teams.

NEXT TIME: Utah at Cal, Thursday, Feb. 23, 7 p.m.