FINAL SCORE: Cal 64, UNLV 61. The Bears (21-11) survive a flurry of missed free throws in the final 4o seconds to advance to Saturday’s game against either Syracuse or Montana. Cal was just 4 for 12 from the FT line in the final 40 seconds. Crabbe scored 19 points, Thurman had 12 on six dunks.
3:33 2nd H: Cal leads 56-50. Thurman with 12 points on six dunks.
8:46 2nd H: UNLV has missed its last 11 FGAs and doesn’t have a basket since 16:28. But Cal offense also stalling — it’s 48-43 Bears.
11:26 2nd H: Cal leads 48-40 after 3-pointer by Cobbs. Crabbe picked up his third PF with 13:40 left on a touch foul vs. Bennett, shooting a 3-pointer. Crabbe sat and Bennett made all three FTs. Cal staying in zone throughout and UNLV either passive or quick-shooting.
15:49 2nd H: UNLV ran off 6 straight pts to tie the score, but a putback dunk by Thurman and a 3-pointer from the right corner by Crabbe (11 pts) gives Cal a 42-37 lead. Good game in front of a full house at HP.
17:46 2nd H: Cal attacking interior of UNLV defense — Crabbe gets open in lane twice for baskets. A 3-pointer by Cobbs and Bears lead 37-31. Cal has scored on each of its first four possessions of the half.
HALFTIME: Cal 28, UNLV 28. Wallace made one of two FTs after a flagrant foul call against Anthony Bennett on a drive to the basket. Kravish then converted a quick jumper off the ensuing inbounds pass and Cal tied it. Cal shooting 12 for 30 (40 percent), including 3 for 8 from 3-point. UNLV is 11 for 31 (35 percent) and 5 for 11 from deep. (They are just 6 for 20 inside the arc, which means the zone is working). Bennett just 1 for 4 with three points. He had 25 when the teams met in December. Cal obviously willing to make the tradeoff on the 3-pointers. Bears with 23-17 rebounding edge — very good considering they are doing it out of a zone.
3:20 1st H: Cal tied it on putback dunk by Solomon, then took 25-22 lead when Solomon drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key. UNLV already has blocked five shots, but Cal not backing down. Playing aggressively in their zone defense and rebounding pretty well out of it. UNLV has three offensive rebounds, but zero 2nd-chance points so far.
7:41 1st H: Cal not making any shots, but defending well enough to hang close. UNLV leads 17-14 — neither team has scored in more than 2 minutes. Cal shooting 6 for 18 from the floor (33 percent), meaning they have made just 2 of 13 after starting 4 for 5. Crabbe was out for a couple minutes after picking up his 2nd PF with 11:34 left. Cal staying in a zone, partly to protect against fouls, mostly to make it harder for Rebels to get the ball inside to Bennett. That part is working — he has just 2 points.
11:45 1st H: UNLV used 9-0 run to take 12-9 lead before Cobbs hit a 3-pointer for the Bears. Score is 12-all. Cal shooting 5 for 14 after 4 for 5 start. That’s 1 for last 9. And UNLV has three blocks already. Monty already has gone to his bench — Kreklow, Smith and Thurman in.
15:25 1st H: The Rebels come back. Three-pointers by Reinhardt and Dejean-Jones against the Cal zone have helped UNLV climb back within 9-8. Dejean-Jones just made a reverse layup and will shoot one FT after the timeout.
18:07 1st H: A 3-pointer by Crabbe sandwiched by a layup from Wallace and a mid-range shot by Solomon and Cal off to a 7-0 lead. UNLV calls timeout. Rebels are 0 for 2 with 2 TOs on four possessions.
LINEUPS: Cal will start its usual lineup — Allen Crabbe, Justin Cobbs, Tyrone Wallace, Richard Solomon and David Kravish. UNLV will start Anthony Marshall, Bryce Dejean-Jones, Katin Reinhardt, Khem Birch and Anthony Bennett.
WELCOME: I’m here at HP Pavilion where the 12th-seeded Bears (20-11) take on the No. 5 Runnin’ Rebels (25-9) in their NCAA tournament opener. As you know, the teams have met twice the past two seasons, with UNLV winning both games, including 76-75 in Berkeley on Dec. 9. Tipoff has been moved back 2o minutes, so we’ll start sometime around 4:50 p.m. There’s no crowd here yet anyway — they cleared HP between sessions and they are just about to let in the evening fans.