Basketball: Freshmen in strong debut

Freshmen Jabari Bird, the highest-rated local player recruited to Cal by coach Mike Montgomery, enjoyed his exhibition debut  Thursday night.

“I played here before in high school,” said Bird, the former Salesian High star. “But putting on the Golden Bears uniform was a totally different experience for me and I enjoyed it.”

Bird had nine points, four assists, three rebounds and two blocked shots as the Bears scored an 83-61 win over Humboldt State.

It was an encouraging opening night for five Cal freshmen, who combined for 33 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists. Jordan Mathews, son of former USF coach Phil Mathews, led the way with 15 points, including four 3-point baskets in a span of 2 minutes, 38 seconds in the second half.

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Basketball: Humboldt St game thread

FINAL SCORE: Cal 83, Humboldt State 61. The Bears led by as many as 32 points in their exhibition win. Freshman Jordan Mathews led the way with 15 points, Justin Cobbs had 13, Ricahrd Solomon had 11 points and nine rebounds and David Kravish had 10 points and eight rebounds. Jabari Bird added nine points, four assists and two blocks as the five Cal freshman combined for 33 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists. Cal shot 47 percent, Humboldt 33 percent. The Bears missed 15 free throws, six of them by freshman PG Sam Singer, who has to be better than 1 for 7. Cal allowed the Lumberjacks just 21 points in the first half, then 4o in the second. That won’t be a high point for Mike Montgomery.

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Basketball: Bears face Humboldt in exhibition

The Cal basketball team makes it debut Thursday night with a 7 p.m. exhibition game against Humboldt State.

Coach Mike Montgomery welcomes back four starters from last year’s 21-win team that reached the third round of the NCAA tournament. The Bears also feature a five-man freshman class, headed by local standout Jabari Bird.

“We scrimmaged Saturday and I wasn’t very pleased. We didn’t play hard enough,” Montgomery said. “We’ve got a lot of new people and some of them were nervous, playing against somebody else. There’s just an adjustment.”

Montgomery said that senior point guard Justin Cobbs, the second-team all-Pac-12 pick who had foot surgery during the summer, is feeling good.

“He’s been going fulltime, been getting better every day,” Montgomery said. “We’ve kind of forgotten that he missed about four months. I don’t think his timing is as good, but he’s getting better every day.”

Bird, a 6-foot-5 wing high school All-American from Salesian-Richmond,

“We need him to be good — he’s got talent. But he’s confused with all the offensive stuff we’re doing,” Montgomery said. “I tell him, `You’ve got to play hard, take good shots and start to figure out what those are for you.’ I think he will do that.”

Montgomery is encouraged by the team’s backcourt depth, but a little less confident about big men off the bench. He said freshman 7-footer Kameron Rooks is progressing, but not ready to make a significant contribution.

In the meantime, he said Ricky Kreklow and freshman Richard Moute a Bidias could slide inside from their wing positions in what would become a small lineup.

Humboldt State, a member of the California Collegiate Athletic Association, finished 11-15 overall last season. Two of the Lumberjacks’ top returning guards — Austin Bryan and Ethan Dillard — sustained season-ending injuries earlier this month.


The Cal women, ranked No. 9 in the preseason USA Today coaches poll, plays an exhibition game Friday night at Haas Pavilion against NAIA powerhouse Vanguard.

Tipoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m., following the Cal women’s volleyball team facing off against Pac-12 rival USC.

The Cal women’s hoops team also will hold an open practice Sunday, beginning with team introductions at 11 a.m.

The Bears open their regular season on Friday, Nov. 8 against Long Beach State in the first game of a doubleheader capped by the men’s team playing Coppin State.



Football: Arizona poses more threats to Cal defense than RB Ka’Deem Carey

A week ago, before his Colorado team faced Arizona, coach Mike MacIntyre joked he developed a headache each time he watched tape of running back Ka’Deem Carey, the nation’s leading rusher for the second straight year.

You have to wonder what kind of restless nights Cal’s defensive coaches are experiencing after Arizona unveiled a potent complement to Carey in its 44-20 win over the Buffaloes.

When Cal (1-7, 0-5 Pac-12) faces the Wildcats (5-2, 2-2) on Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium, trying to stop Carey won’t be enough. Colorado ganged up on the star junior, and quarterback B.J. Denker responded with 457 yards in total offense, including 191 on the ground.

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Football: Don’t expect a see-saw at QB — Dykes doesn’t want Goff looking over his shoulder

Asked to expand on his postgame comments that suggested freshman Jared Goff will be the Bears’ quarterback for the rest of the season, coach Sonny Dykes left only a little wiggle room on Monday night.

“You’re never going to close the door on anything,” he said after practice. “We’ll see how it plays out. The worst thing you can do is have a quarterback looking over his shoulder all the time.

“Considering that, you can draw your own conclusions. If the circumstances warrant making a change we’ll make one.”

Goff, who held off a weeklong practice duel with Zach Kline headed into the Washington game, passed for 336 yards without a turnover in the 41-17 loss.


Late in the fourth quarter at UW, Dykes gave redshirt junior Austin Hinder a few snaps off the bench. Dykes said no one should read anything into the fact that it wasn’t Kline who got the call.

“He’s been here for four years,” Dykes said of  Hinder. “We wanted to play him in a game.”


Sophomore Freddie Tagaloa, moved from left tackle to right guard last week, got some first-team snaps at his new position Monday. Dykes said there will be an adjustment for Tagaloa, “It’s something we think he can do well. We want him to develop and improve.”


Running back Daniel Lasco, who has missed the past two games with a shoulder injury, may be ready to return Saturday against Arizona. But Dykes said Khalfani Muhammad and Daniel Ervin will get most of the reps this week.


Junior linebacker Khairi Fortt was announced Monday as one of 12 semifinalists for the Butkus Award, given to the nation’s top linebacker.

Fortt leads the Bears with 54 tackles, including three for loss.


Football: You won’t believe it — a second straight day game at home for Golden Bears

Maybe the TV football gods feel bad for the Golden Bears.

Whatever the reason, Cal’s home finale against USC on Nov. 9 has been set for a noon kickoff, the Pac-12 office announced. The game will be aired on Fox.

That will mark a second straight home day game for the Bears, who played five of their first eight games at night, including last Saturday’s 8 p.m. kickoff at Washington.

Cal ends a three-week run of late games when it hosts Arizona on Saturday at 12:30. The game will be aired by the Pac-12 Networks.


Football: Marvin is marvelous for Bengals

Former Cal wide receiver Marvin Jones had the game of his life Sunday, catching a team-record four touchdown passes in the Cincinnati Bengals’ 49-9 win over the New York Jets.

Jones, who played at Cal from 2008-11, caught eight passes for 122 yards Sunday. His touchdowns came on plays of 9, 6, 17 and 6 yards.

He is the first NFL player to catch four touchdowns in a game since Randy Moss and Terrell Owens each did it in 2007.

Jones had totaled four TD receptions in 18 previous games over his two NFL seasons.

A fifth-round draft pick by the Bengals in 2012, Jones is on the rosters of fewer than 1 percent of all of ESPN’s fantasy teams, according to SportsCenter.



Football: Cal-UW notebook

Cal’s new-look offensive line generally got thumbs-up marks Saturday night after the Bears’ 41-17 loss at Washington.

That’s not to say anyone was satisfied.

“I thought they played good at times,” coach Sonny Dykes said. “Obviously, we’ve got to continue to play better. I thought they were a little more physical than we have been.”

Dykes reshuffled his O-line during practice this week, shifting left guard Jordan Rigsbee to center, pulling freshman Chris Borrayo from his redshirt year to play left guard, and replacing left tackle Freddie Tagaloa with redshirt freshman Christian Okafor.

Quarterback Jared Goff thought the new group “did a really good job, especially Borrayo for his first game.”

Rigsbee also was upbeat. “I thought we played pretty well up front,” he said. “We definitely made improvements from the last couple of games.”

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