Basketball: Bears jump on Razorbacks early, hold off Arkansas 75-64 in NIT second round

The Bears (21-13) led by as many as 24 points and move on to the quarterfinals of the NIT after a 75-64 win over Arkansas at Haas Pavilion on Monday night.

Arkansas (22-12) got with eight points late, but no closer.

The Bears play Wednesday at No. 1 seed SMU, with the winner earning a trip to the NIT semifinals at Madison Square Garden.

Freshman Jabari Bird shot 7 for 8 and scored 19 points to go with eight rebounds. Bird, who had his most prolific scoring game since going for 24 against Oakland on Nov. 15, has totaled 30 points on 11-for-16 shooting the past two games.

Tyrone Wallace scored 16 points and David Kravish had 13 points and eight rebounds.

Senior Justin Cobbs, playing his final game at Haas, had nine points, six assists and five rebounds. Cobbs moves into third on Cal’s career assist list with 524, passing Kevin Johnson.

The Bears played without senior forward Richard Solomon, who sat out a second straight game with a concussion. Solomon apparently sustained the concussion at home, although no details have been provided.

Jeff Faraudo

  • Phil Green

    Happy to have at least one more game to watch. Matchup with smu and larry brown should be fun.

    Did anyone notice that a few days ago jorge had 10 pts for the nets? And he played some meaningful minutes tonight. Would be great if he sticks.

  • Steve Fischer

    Jason has done a great job with the Nets and glad he gave Jorge a chance with the Nets. THe nets are injury prone and have many old players, and this will be a great opportunity for Jorge to contribute and work his way into the lineup. I can’t say I follow the NIT – thought this one was televised but it wasn’t on when I tried to view it.

  • KC

    Nice win, Bears. Good to see Jabari stepping up last two games. Nobody was happy with the way we finished, but the NIT has served its purpose in terms of building a bit of momentum for next year with some of our younger players. the matchup tomorrow night at SMU will be fun to watch. Go Bears!

  • Rollonubears

    should be on espn3.com now, on repeat. i plan to check it out today. i would REALLY love it if the bears could advance. it’d be huge for them to travel to NY together. I think you get to play a consolation game, too, right? Even if you lose the semis? This would be a great team building opportunity, and get them familiar with MSG for next year’s tourney. Winning this next game is going to be a very tall order, though, likely with referees on the take.

  • Mitch

    Bears were really slinging the ball around on offense. Seemed to create a lot more scoring opportunities.
    Oddly, Cobbs seemed to slow the flow when he had the ball. Fewer turnovers, but it let Arkansas “catch up” on D.

  • Eric

    Good win, and makes a huge difference when the team shows up at the start. Obviously it has been a disappointment blowing the cushion we had and not making it to the tournament, but if we can win this next game and make it to the NIT semis, I can leave basketball season satisfied.

  • Mitch

    Does anybody know what happened to Solomon? How did he get his concussion?

  • BlakeStreetBear

    Great to win, sure. But why was the team not trying to score 100 points last night? Why did they only end up winning by 11 at home when they were up by more than 20 at various points? Bill Walton was right many times last night when he was wondering why the Bears stopped fast-breaking in the 2nd half when they beat the press. Why did they stop attacking? Why did they not try to score 100 points!? I don’t get it. If you are up by 20 in the first half, should you not try to win by 40!? I hate this about Monty. I hate this about any coach who purposely slows his team down when they are up by 20. It is stupid, can cost games and its boring as hell. Sure, Ark never got closer than 8, but what if it was a better team? What if it was a road game? Would Monty order the team to take their foot off the gas in those situations? I think he would and I think the Bears would have lost the game last night had it been on the road despite a 20+ point 1st half lead. Arkansas played hard the ENTIRE game, they just couldn’t throw it into the ocean at first. The Bears played hard for about 2/3 of the game and got lucky to win, yes lucky. smu will blow us out if we only play hard for 2/3 of the game.

    I hope that the next coach is NOT John Montgomery unless he has a fundamentally different attitude than his father regarding the above situation. You wonder why the Bears didn’t have much of a killer attitude this year all you have to do is watch the game last night and watch Ark outplay the Bears in the 2nd half. This is on Monty. You think any of the teams left in the NCAA tourney are gonna take their foot off the gas when they are blowing out a team? Hell no! They are gonna go for the 40 point win and try to empty their bench for the last 5 mins of the game. Ordering your team to slow down in the face of dramatic success is tired and so 20th century, so is Monty.

    I am officially on the SteveNTexas supporter list, I want Monty out and I want a coach with a very different style to come to Cal. Somebody that the top local recruits will want to line up to play for. If that guy is not some clean cut Campanelli/Braun/Monty type then so be it. The University of California deserves a dynamic men’s basketball coach. The women’s program sure has one and look at their recruiting success. If I was 18 I’d rather play for Altman or Boyle or Krystkowiak or even Sendek than Monty right now…

    Sorry for the long rant, but I’ve been holding out judgement on Monty for the last few weeks. But, despite the win last night, I see no hope for dramatic improvement for next year as evidenced by the disgustingly obvious desire NOT TO LOSE that I saw last night. Where is the desire to BLOW TEAMS OUT!? You don’t play not to lose, you play to win, and these are very different animals. Monty coaches scared, end of story. Time to get some new blood in there. Time to crank up the energy of the program. I want the coach from Wichita State or similar. I want the Bears to play exciting basketball like they did in the first half last night but for ENTIRE games instead.

    Go Bears!

  • Rollonubears

    Why don’t we hire Gottlieb and make history?

  • BlakeStreetBear

    I don’t know if male recruits would line up to play for Gottlieb. But yes, I like her coaching philosophy and it looks like her players play hard and enjoy playing for her. AND she’s young, younger than me at least…

  • BlakeStreetBear

    From Gottlieb’s wikipedia page:
    “My philosophy in general is that college athletics should be an enjoyable experience for the people involved in it. I think you have to embrace this team’s nature of being fun-loving. You have to empower them to enjoy the experience. I can do that because I’m so confident in their focus. They’re creative, and they’re smart kids. If anything, I think that when they’re happier and enjoying it, they’re more likely to play hard and play well.”