Basketball: Cobbs finding his rhythm

As Cal’s point guard but also the team’s No. 2 scorer, Justin Cobbs says he finally is starting to find his balance.

“The coaches have given me a lot of confidence to just go out and play,” Cobbs said. “I feel like a totally different player — no stress, no thinking, just playing basketball. My whole focus is at the end of the game, hopefully we have the most points.”

The Golden Bears (20-11) take on UNLV (25-9) in the NCAA tournament game Thursday at HP Pavilion. It’s a rematch of a Dec. 9 game in Berkeley in which the Runnin’ Rebels had one more point at the end in a 76-75 victory.

Both teams are different three months later, and the difference in Cobbs is he better understands his role as combination scorer/facilitator for the Cal offense. He’s put behind him a difficult midseason stretch.

The strangest game was Jan. 12 at home against Washington State, when Cobbs played 40 minutes and attempted a total of two shots.

“I guess I was a little confused in that role,” Cobbs said of his combo guard status. “It was just me being unselfish and wanting the other guys involved. Sometimes your team needs you to do certain things.”

One of the things the Bears need from Cobbs is scoring.

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Columnist Mark Purdy says Cal coach Mike Montgomery is just as “geeked” for this year’s NCAA tournament as he was for his first at Stanford 24 years ago.

Jeff Faraudo