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.


Women’s basketball: Bears ousted at Baylor

Outscored 41-23 in the second half, the Cal women (22-10) were eliminated from the NCAA tournament after a 75-56 loss to No. 2 seed Baylor (31-4) at Waco, Texas.

Afure Jemerigbe scored 17 points to lead the seventh-seeded Bears and Brittany Boyd had 15 points and seven assists.

All-America guard Odyssey Sims led Baylor with 27 points, eight rebounds, six assists and three steals.


Basketball: Bears go for season sweep of Hogs

Cal (20-13) takes its second shot this season at Arkansas (22-11) in a second-round NIT game at Haas Pavilion.  Tipoff on Monday night is 8 p.m.

The game will be televised by ESPN2 (immediately following the Cal women vs. Baylor in the NCAA tournament).

The second-seeded Bears will play Wednesday in the NIT quarterfinals against the winner of Monday’s game between No. 1 SMU (24-9) and No. 5 LSU (20-13).  Cal will travel if the opponent is SMU but would be at home against LSU.

Against Arkansas, the Bears once more figure to be without senior forward Richard Solomon (11.0 ppg, 10.2 rpg), who sat out the Bears’ 77-64 win last Wednesday due to a concussion.

Cal beat the Razorbacks 85-77 at the Maui Invitational back on Nov. 25 in a game where Solomon suffered a scratched eye. He missed the final two games in Maui while recovering.

Senior point guard Justin Cobbs (15.7 ppg, 5.8 apg) has 518 career assists to rank fourth on Cal’s all-time list. He needs four to pass Kevin Johnson (1984-87) and seven to go by Jerome Randle (2007-10) and into second place on the career chart.


Women’s basketball: Bears take on Sims, Baylor

The seventh-seeded Cal women (22-9) take the next, difficult step in the NCAA tournament when they face No. 2 Baylor (30-4) on Monday night at the Farrell Center in Waco, Texas.

The game tips off at 6 p.m. PT and will be aired on ESPN2.

Baylor, playing on its home floor, features explosive senior guard Odyssey Sims, who averages 28.5 points per game. She will pose a serious challenge to Cal junior guard and fellow Nancy Lieberman Award finalist Brittany Boyd.

Sims has posted 13 games of 30 points or more, including performances of 40, 44 and 48 points this season. She shoots 41 percent from the 3-point arc.

And Sims has help. Freshman forward Nina Davis averages 15.1 points and 9.0 rebounds and had 32 in the Bears’ 87-74 NCAA opening win over Western Kentucky.

Cal advanced by edging Fordham 64-63 on Saturday when Boyd hit a runner with 14.6 seconds left. Boyd averages 14.7 points, 6.8 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 2.9 steals.


Women’s basketball: Bears feeling confident

The Cal women, seeded No. 7 in the Notre Dame regional of the NCAA tournament, take on Fordham in their opener Saturday at Waco, Texas.

Junior point guard Brittany Boyd said the Bears (21-9) are ready for the challenge ahead.

“A lot of people got more confident,” Boyd said. “We’re still learning, but I think since the beginning of the season we’ve made a humongous leap.”

The game tips off at 1 p.m. on ESPN2.

Click here to read staff writer Stephanie Hammon’s full story.


Swimming: Missy Franklin sets records

Cal freshman and Olympic star Missy Franklin won the 200-yard freestyle at the NCAA women’s swimming championships at Minneapolis, breaking NCAA, American and U.S. records.

Franklin touched in 1 minute, 40.31 seconds.

Later, Franklin and her 800 free relay teammates prevailed in 6:54.94.

The Cal women are in third place after two days of competition.


Basketball: Even without ailing Solomon, Bears cruise to win over Utah Valley in NIT

Click here to read our game story.

Senior forward Richard Solomon, the Pac-12’s leading rebounder, sat out with a concussion, but Cal won its NIT opener, beating Utah Valley 77-64 in front of 1,862 fans at Haas Pavilion.

The second-seeded Bears (20-13) advance to a second-round game Monday against No. 3 seed Arkansas. Tipoff is 8 p.m. at Haas. Cal beat the Razorbacks 85-77 in the Maui Invitational back on Nov. 25.

Coach Mike Montgomery said he hopes Solomon can play Monday.

David Kravish had 14 points, 10 rebounds and equaled his career high with five blocked shots.

Justin Cobbs had 13 points and seven assists and freshman Jabari Bird, inserted into the starting lineup, responded with 11 points.

Freshman Jordan Mathews scored 13 off the bench and senior Jeff Powers had 10 points.

Holton Hunsaker scored 22 points for the Wolverines (20-12), regular-season champions of the Western Athletic Conference.