Basketball: Halloween at Haas

I’m at Haas Pavilion this evening for Cal’s open basketball scrimmage — “Halloween at Haas.”

There are maybe 50 fans here so far, so to call this a low-key event is an understatement. One fan decked out for Halloween, wearing a penguin costume.

— Kravish may have gained 10-15 lbs, but still has that nice, soft tippy-toe mid-range jumper.

Notes and observations . . .

— The “blue” squad features basically Cal’s starting five: Allen Crabbe,. Justin Cobbs, Richard Solomon, David Kravish and Brandon Smith, plus Jeff Powers and Bak Bak. The “gold” team: Tyrone Wallace, Robert Thurman, Khalil Johnson, Kaileb Rodriguez, Christian Behrens, Garrett Galvin and Geoff Frid.

— Wallace, the freshman combo guard from Bakersfield, looks like a player. Already. Early on, he’s made two quick drives into the lane and finished, once in halfcourt, once in transition, when he also drew a foul from Crabbe.

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Football: Report says Keenan Allen injured vs. Utah; status for Friday game vs. UW unclear


Cal junior wideout Keenan Allen, who broke the school’s career receptions record last Saturday at Utah, may also have been injured against the Utes.

His status for Friday’s game at Washington is unclear.

I was at Memorial Stadium for an interview (with Avery Sebastian) this afternoon but there was no word on Allen’s status. An athletic department spokesman said afternoon that Cal would have no comment on the situation for now.

Let me make this clear: I was not on hand this morning when players came off the field and walked past reporters to the dressing room. But Ryan Gorcey of Bear Territory reports that Allen did not appear to be at practice and that he was told Allen may have been injured during an onside kick try in the 49-27 loss to the Utes.

Will update as information is available.


Football: Tosh Lupoi says it’s just another game

I’ll be writing more on this topic later in the week, but former Cal player/assistant coach/recruiter Tosh Lupoi told Seattle reporters today he’s not giving Friday’s UW-Cal game any special significance.

“I really haven’t thought about it, honestly,” said Lupoi, who bolted to Washington last January, just prior to signing day.

Uh, right.

Anyway, courtesy of the Seattle Times, here’s a four-minute video of an interview he did after practice Tuesday.


Football: Bears at 3-6 — `Nobody’s giving up’

After a 49-27 loss at Utah, coach Jeff Tedford kept his postgame remarks to a minimum and encouraged players to have their say in the locker room.

Senior defensive end Kendrick Payne said there was clear consensus: “Nobody’s giving up.”

At 3-6 and coming off back-to-back blowout defeats, the Bears need to win the final three games on their schedule to become bowl eligible, starting Friday night at home against Washington.

Click here to read the rest of my Cal notebook.

Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times explores Washington’s offensive shortcomings.


Women’s basketball: Public practice set Sunday

The Cal women’s basketball team, ranked No. 13 in the preseason AP Top-25 and No. 15 in the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll, will hold a practice open to the public on Sunday at 10 a.m. at Haas Pavilion.

The event is free.

Coach Lindsay Gottlieb will introduce players to the crowd and will be mic’d up so fans can listen to all that goes on as she conducts practice.

Here’s more from Cal.

The Bears make their season debut Thursday with an exhibition game against Vanguard at Haas Pavilion. Tipoff is 7 p.m. and admission is free.


Basketball: Halloween at Haas scrimmage on Wednesday tips off Cal hoops season

Cal basketball fans can get their first glimpse of the Bears on Wednesday from 4 to 5:30 p.m. during the Halloween at Haas event.

The Bears will stage an intra-squad scrimmage and players will sign autographs and take photos afterward.

The event is free.

There will be trick-or-treating inside Haas and fans are encouraged to dress in Halloween costumes. Prizes will be given for the best costumes. My guess is if you show up as a 6-foot-10, 245-pound power forward with NCAA eligibility, the prize might be a scholarship. Just saying.



Football: The case for Brendan Bigelow

Sports Illustrated put Oregon star De’Anthony Thomas on its cover this fall, trumpeting him as “The Fastest Man in Football.”

Cal’s Brendan Bigelow wouldn’t mind challenging Thomas for that label.

“I would love to race him,” Bigelow said.

“I raced him my freshman year in high school. I won. It was close.”

That was track and field. This is football.

Thomas, obviously, plays for the superior team, the unbeaten and No. 2-ranked Ducks. He played youth football in a league organized by Snoop Dogg. And he plays more.

Here’s a statistical curiosity: Thomas has touched the ball as a runner, receiver or return man exactly 100 times this season. Bigelow has done so 50 times.

Thomas, who had a spectacular 73-yard punt return for a touchdown on Saturday against Colorado, is averaging 10.25 yards each time he touches the football.

Bigelow, who ran 57 yards for a touchdown at Utah, accounts for 16.52 yards each time he gets his hands on it.

In other words, Bigelow gains 6 yards more each time he gets the ball than Thomas does. Counting only plays from scrimmage, Bigelow averages 12.9 yards, Thomas 8.7.

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Football: Mustafa Jalil to have surgery

Sophomore defensive end Mustafa Jalil, hampered all season by a nagging right knee injury, will undergo season-ending surgery Monday, coach Jeff Tedford said.

Jalil, who did not play in Saturday’s 49-27 loss at Utah, is not facing major surgery, Tedford said, but has not been able to push off on the knee, which he injured during camp in August.

Senior guard Dominic Galas, who had an emergency appendectomy in Salt Lake City on Saturday, was scheduled to be released from the hospital on Sunday, Tedford said, and would return home with his parents in a day or two.

Galas is likely out for the season, but there is some possibility be could be ready to play in the Nov. 17 game at Oregon State, Tedford said.


Football: Notes from a trainwreck

Utah 49, Cal 27, and it wasn’t nearly that close. Why was this game so one-sided?

Utah transformed three Cal turnovers into three touchdowns and returned two kicks for touchdowns. That’s 35 points of opportunity, and far more than the Bears could overcome.

Utah’s Reggie Dunn became the 16th player in NCAA history to return two kickoffs for touchdowns in the same game. Officials were unable to determine whether any player has had two 100-yard KORs in a game.

*** Three of Cal’s six losses this season have been by at least 18 points. Since a 42-10 loss to Washington on Dec. 5, 2009, the Bears are 15-21, and 11 of those defeats were by 17 points or more.

*** Keenan Allen could not enjoy the stage on the night he broke Cal’s career receptions record.

“It’s a great accomplishment, but at the end of the day it all comes down to win,” he said. “It was cool to get the record but I’d rather have a win.”

Allen bumped his total to 205 receptions, eclipsing the mark of 202 set by Geoff McArthur from 2000-2004.

“Geoff McArthur was a great player and it was great that he set a goal for me,” Allen said. “Ever since I was in high school, it was one of my goals to become the best receiver at whatever college I went to.”

*** Cal finished with a 441 to 344 edge in total yardage, but that’s misleading to say the least. The Bears had 242 of those yards in the final 16 minutes of the game, after Utah had forged its 42-6 lead.

*** Sophomore RB Brendan Bigelow’s 57-yard touchdown run on the final play of the third quarter was his third scoring dash of at least 50 yards. He’s the first Cal player to do that since Jahvid Best in 2009.

There’s a sense that Bigelow is just a sprinter, but here’s a statistic that suggested unexpected toughness: He has not lost yardage on any of his 27 carries this season. Bigelow is now averaging 12.7 yards per carry.

When asked Saturday night how he can afford to not give Bigelow the ball more, coach Jeff Tedford somewhat unconvincingly suggested the Bears did that in the second half. Bigelow got the ball twice.

*** Bigelow’s TD on the final play of the third quarter ended Cal’s touchdown drought of 115 minutes, 27 seconds, dating back to the Washington State game. That’s 4 1/2 minutes shy of two full games.

*** Sophomore TE Richard Rodgers had a career-long 51-yard reception, then caught his first touchdown pass at Cal, a 7-yarder in the fourth quarter.

*** Remember all the early-season hand-wringing over PK Vincenzo D’Amato? The guy who made just four of his first nine field-goal tries has made hislast nine in a row. D’Amato is now the least of the Bears’ problems.