Cal basketball: Bears collapse in final 2 minutes

Cal squandered a huge opportunity Thursday night at McKale Center, one few teams have enjoyed on Arizona’s home court.

The 25th-ranked Bears led 61-53 with 1:51 left, then were outscored 11-0 the rest of the way by the No. 18 Wildcats and lost 64-61.

Cal’s final three possessions netted nothing:

— A turnover by Tyrone Wallace, who dribbled under the basket and stepped out of bounds

— A charge call against Jaylen Brown, who extended his arm to create space and fouled out

— And a tough, spinning drive in traffic by Wallace, who missed in the final seconds.

The Bears’ seven-game win streak ended, as did their already remote shot at securing a tie for the Pac-12 title this weekend. Cal fell to 21-9 overall, 11-6 in Pac-12 plays.

Cal led 61-53 after a steal and end-to-end layup by Wallace, which came just moments after a 3-pointer by Jordan Mathews.

But Arizona senior guard Gabe York, scoreless in the first half, capped a spectacular 19-point second half by making a pair of 3-pointers in the final minute to rally the Wildcats (23-7, 11-6).

Cal and Arizona are now tied for third place. If both win Saturday, the Bears will retain the No. 3 seed into the Pac-12 tournament because the Bears own a win over first-place Oregon.

Freshman Ivan Rabb played a superb game for the Bears, totaling 15 points and 13 rebounds, including four second-half putbacks and his first collegiate 3-pointer.

But fellow freshman Brown, who has played at a high level through much of the Pac-12 schedule, scored just five points on 2-for-9 shooting before fouling out. Wallace wasn’t any better, scoring five points on 2-for-12 with five turnovers.

Jabari Bird had 13 points and seven rebounds and Mathews scored 12 points.

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Cal basketball: Oregon game thread

FINAL SCORE: Oregon 68, Cal 65.

Cal missed three free throws in the final 2 minutes, 17 seconds after pulling within three points and lost at Oregon on Wednesday night. The Bears (12-4, 2-1) fell out of first place in the Pac-12 and are now 1-4 away from Haas Pavilion. Oregon is 12-4, 1-1.

Some quick impressions:

WHY CAL LOST: A lot reasons, starting with some ghastly offensive numbers. Cal turned the ball over 18 times – half again above their season average – to go with just six assists. The Bears shot 0 for 12 from the 3-point arc. Jordan Mathews, who scored 32 points against the Ducks when the teams last played at Matthew Knight Arena in 2014, shot 0 for 8 and was scoreless. And the Bears made just 13 of 23 free throws. They also surrendered 10 offensive rebounds.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Freshman Jaylen Brown helped keep the Bears close in the second half, when he scored 13 of his game-high 20 points. Brown shot 8 for 10 from the field and had nine rebounds and two steals.

PLAY OF THE GAME: Oregon freshman guard Tyler Dorsey – who was recruited hard last year by Cal – hit a 3-pointer with 57.2 seconds left, extending the Ducks’ lead from 60-57 to six points. Dorsey finished with 16 points.

TURNING POINT: The Bears were down just 60-57 after Brown made the first of two free throws with 2:17 left. He missed the second, then senior Tyrone Wallace missed two with 1:27 left. Moments later, Dorsey pushed the Oregon margin back to six points.

WHAT WE LEARNED: Cal was the quicker, more athletic team against Colorado and Utah last weekend, and its size made a difference in both victories. But the Ducks were the aggressors here, and their speed bothered the Bears. The Ducks ran circles around Cal big men Kameron Rooks and Kingsley Okoroh, although freshman forward Ivan Rabb had 17 points and eight rebounds before fouling out in the final seconds. Cal could not find open looks on the perimeter and never developed any rhythm on offense.

TRENDS: Cal has now lost twice in a row to Oregon after beating the Ducks 12 straight times, six of those in Eugene.

BUCKING TRENDS: Cal was 5-1 against teams ranked in the RPI top-50 before the loss to the No. 20 Ducks. Oregon shot 52 percent in the second half to finish the game at 40.7 percent, becoming the first Cal opponent in six games to crack 40 percent.

WHAT’S NEXT: Saturday vs. Oregon State at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis. Tipoff is 6:30 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks). The Beavers (10-2, 1-0 before facing Stanford on Wednesday night) enjoyed their first sellout home crowd in three years last Sunday against Oregon, and rewarded them with a 70-57 victory. Senior guard Gary Payton entered the week averaging 16.4 points, 8.0 rebounds and 5.1 assists, while freshmen Tres Tinkle, Stephen Thompson Jr. and Drew Eubanks combined to average about 30 points.

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Basketball: Five things we learned in Cal’s 63-62 overtime loss at fifth-ranked Virginia

Five things we learned in Cal’s 63-62 overtime loss at No. 5 Virginia:

* The stage was not too big for the Bears. Playing on the road in a 15,000-seat arena against a veteran team, Cal led 8-0 to start and never trailed until the final minute of regulation.

* Coach Cuonzo Martin has wanted more toughness from his team, and he had to like what he saw in most of this one. The Bears went toe-to-toe with an older, more physical team, and trailed just once by 19 seconds until the Virginia’s London Perrantes hit the game-winning 3-pointer with 10 seconds left in overtime.

* The freshmen rose up. Jaylen Brown, who has struggled to find his game at times early this season, scored 18 points, making eight of nine free throws, and grabbed six rebounds. And Ivan Rabb was strong on the boards, grabbing 12 rebounds to go with nine points.

* Cal has gradually played better defense since losing twice in Las Vegas over Thanksgiving weekend, but never better than Tuesday, when the Bears held the nation’s most efficient offensive team to 18-percent shooting and 20 points in the first half.

* The Bears’ offense operated well for much of the night against a UVA defense that gives up little in the paint, but there were costly breakdowns. Cal made just one of its last 11 shots in regulation while surrendering an 11-point lead, could not get a final shot off to close the second half, then failed to convert its last three chances in OT.


Basketball: Cal holds off Saint Mary’s 63-59

Jabari Bird made the play everyone will remember in a college basketball game the Bay Area waited 11 years to see.

The junior guard hit an open 3-pointer with 15.2 seconds left and Cal beat Saint Mary’s College 63-59 in front of an excited crowd of 10,074 at Haas Pavilion on Saturday afternoon.

Their campuses separated by just 14 miles, the Bears and Gaels met on an almost annual basis for decades. But this was their first matchup since the 2004-05 season and just the fourth in 28 years.

“Great game for the Bay Area,” Cal coach Cuonzo Martin said. “We’ll definitely do it again. There’s no doubt about it.”

Martin said he’d like to begin a four-year series with the Gaels. And that would include games at the Gaels’ tiny McKeon Pavilion? “We can talk about it,” he said.

“Great game, great crowd,” agreed Gaels coach Randy Bennett, whose team lost for the first time after six victories.

Just not great Saint Mary’s defense on the most important play of the day.

After four lead changes in the final 2:43, Cal (8-2) got the ball back with 23 seconds left when Ivan Rabb blocked Joe Rahon’s layup.

Cal called timeout, then put the ball in the hands of senior point guard Tyrone Wallace. The Gaels’ defense collapsed on him at the top of the key and Wallace passed to Bird on the right wing.

Bird began this season by making just three of 17 shots from the 3-point line through five games, but he was open and he didn’t hesitate.

“I just waited for my turn, got my feet set, Tyrone made a great play and I shot it,” said Bird, who finished with 13 points. “It’s huge for my confidence. My teammates always believe in me and tell me to shoot the ball.”

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Basketball: Bears unhappy with themselves after lackluster win over Incarnate Word

Jabari Bird punctuated a season-high 15-point performance with a dose of honesty after Cal’s unimpressive 74-62 win over the University of Incarnate Word on Wednesday night.

“I think we kind of slept on this team a little bit and it showed,” Bird said. “You expect to be up 20 at halftime and you look up and it’s 31-all.”

In front of an announced crowd of 9,324 fans at Haas Pavilion, the visiting Cardinals (3-4) fought back from a 13-point hole to trail by just four points in the final 4 minutes before Cal (7-2) stretched out the lead.

“Honestly, we lose focus sometimes,” Bird said. “We stop moving the ball and have careless turnovers and the team gets right back in the game. We’ve got to lock in more, pay attention to details.”

It was a largely unsightly showing by the Bears, who were ranked No. 14 earlier this season and matched against a team in its third season transitioning to Division I. Incarnate Word’s three victories this season came over a pair of NCAA Division III opponents and a Division II school with an enrollment of 333.

They lost to Purdue by 35 points and to Oklahoma by 33.

But the Bears let them stay close, turning the ball over 19 times, missing 15 3-point shots against the UIW zone defense and converting just 12 of 22 from the free throw line.

“I’m happy for the win. I thought we played well in spurts,” Cal coach Counzo Martin said. “We’ve got to do a better job of taking care of the basketball.”

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Basketball: Cal vs. Incarnate Word game thread

Jabari Bird scored a season-high 15 points but Cal struggled to a 74-62 win over the University of Incarnate Word on Wednesday night in front of an announced crowd of 9,324 fans at Haas Pavilion.

The visiting Cardinals (3-4) trailed by just four points in the final 4 minutes before Cal (7-2) stretched out the lead.

It was a largely unsightly showing by the Bears, who were ranked No. 14 earlier this season and matched against a team in its third season transitioning to Division I. Incarnate Word’s three victories this season came over a pair of NCAA Division III opponents and a Division II school with an enrollment of 333.

They lost to Purdue by 36 points and to Oklahoma by 33.

But the Bears let them stay close, turning the ball over 19 times, missing 15 3-point shots against the UIW zone defense and converting just 12 of 22 from the free throw line.

Tyrone Wallace had 14 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, Jaylen Brown scored 13 points, Ivan Rabb had 12 points and 11 rebounds and Jordan Mathews scored 12 for the Bears.

Cal outscored UIW 15-5 over the first 4½ minutes of the second half to take a 46-36 lead. Brown had two fastbreak dunks and a 3-pointer during the run while Bird and Wallace each connected from beyond the arc.

The Cal lead reached 13 points before UIW fought back and trailed just 62-58 after a free throw by Shawn Johnson with 4:04 left.

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Basketball: Will Cal ‘share the juices’ against Seattle?

Is the Cal basketball team ready to “share the juices” again Tuesday night against Seattle U?

That was the catch-phrase coach Cuonzo Martin used after the Bears’ season-opening victory, describing the way the team unselfishly moves the ball.

“Pass the ball, get your teammates involved,” he said after the win over Rice. “When you have good players you don’t need a lot of plays when you share the basketball.”

But after averaging 15.5 assists through four victories to open the season, the juices stopped flowing in Las Vegas last week.

Cal totaled just 13 assists on 56 baskets in losses to San Diego State and Richmond at the Las Vegas Invitational.

Cal’s poor defense was the primary culprit in the two defeats that knocked the 14th-ranked Bears out of the Top-25, but inefficient offensive play didn’t help.

Jaylen Brown and Jordan Mathews, for instance, combined for 45 shot attempts and just one assist in Vegas.


Basketball: Cal tries to find its lost defense

It’s a good bet that defense will be coach Cuonzo Martin’s priority on Tuesday night when Cal (4-2) returns to Haas Pavilion to face Seattle U (2-3).

The game tips off at 7 p.m. and will be shown on the Pac-12 Networks.

The Bears are back home again, having lost their unbeaten status and their top-25 ranking after two defeats in Las Vegas. Cal should win this game against what figures to be an overmatched opponent from the Western Athletic Conference. Seattle’s most recent win came at the expense of the University off Great Falls.

The issue for the Bears is whether they will show a commitment and an ability to play defense after losses to San Diego State and Richmond that called that into question. For all of their five-star talent, they won’t beat good competition without playing both ends of the floor.

Cal allowed 144 points over the final three halves in Vegas – 50 in the second half of a 72-58 loss to the Aztecs, then 94 to the Spiders.

The defensive numbers were bad all around: From the second half on against SDSU, Cal allowed the two opponents to shoot 50.6 percent from the field and 52.2 percent from the 3-point arc.

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Football: Cal loses sixth straight Big Game

The Cal football team got what it wanted in the 118th Big Game – a chance to win. The Bears could not convert it in a 35-22 loss to Stanford on Saturday night.

Down just 21-16 entering the fourth quarter, the Bears could almost taste their first victory in the series since 2009.

“Guys were excited. You could look at everyone’s eyes and they believed we were going to win,” senior safety Stefan McClure said. “That was a moment we really trained all year for. Fourth quarter against Stanford with a chance to compete.”

Instead, it was Stanford that closed out the game, scoring touchdowns on consecutive possessions in the fourth quarter to leave the Bears frustrated by their own mistakes.

Quarterback Jared Goff was sharp for the Bears (6-5, 3-5 Pac-12), completing 37 of 54 passes for 386 yards and two touchdowns. Cal outgained Stanford 495 yards to 356. The Bears didn’t turn the ball over a year after giving it up five times.

The game was nothing like the previous two seasons, when the Bears were outscored 101-30. But there were issues that decided the outcome.

Cal converted just one of five red-zone chances for touchdowns – settling three times for field goals.

“We’re normally really good in the red zone. Today we weren’t,” Goff said. “Missed opportunities. Three scores that could have changed it.”

The Pac-12’s third-least penalized team, Cal was flagged eight times for 63 yards.

“There were a lot of little things,” Cal coach Sonny Dykes said in his opening post-game remarks. “The officials, er rather the penalties, killed us. Didn’t give us a chance to win the game. It was tough to overcome that.”

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Football: How Cal, Stanford match up

RECORDS: Cal is 6-4, 3-4 in Pac-12; No. 15 Stanford is 8-2, 7-1.

KICKOFF: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. at Stanford Stadium.

TV/RADIO: ESPN/810-AM & 1050-AM

SERIES HISTORY: Stanford leads 60-46-1. The Cardinal has won five in a row, including 38-17 last season.

STORYLINES: The combination of a Stanford victory or an Oregon loss would clinch the North division title for the Cardinal. … Stanford is No. 11 in the College Football Playoff rankings and must run the table to remain in the discussion for a semifinal berth. … This is the fifth consecutive season Stanford lost the game before facing Cal. … Stanford is 12-1 following a loss under coach David Shaw. ….Eligible to play in a bowl game for the first time since 2011, Cal will try to boost its standing among Pac-12 teams headed to the postseason. Bowls assignments are made on the basis of conference wins and Cal currently is tied for seventh. The Sun, Las Vegas and Cactus bowls have the Nos. 5 through 7 slots on the Pac-12 bowl ladder. The Bears could also slide to an at-large berth with a bowl that does not have a contract with the Pac-12. . . This could be the final Big Game for Cal junior quarterback Jared Goff, who will decide after the season whether to enter the NFL draft.

INJURY UPDATE: Cal: WR Kenny Lawler (buttocks), RB Daniel Lasco (ankle) and Saf Damariay Drew (knee) are questionable; Stanford: DT Harrison Phillips (knee) and CB Ronnie Harris (ankle) are out.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Cal’s defense vs. Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey. The Bears are just two weeks removed from allowing Oregon a school-record 777 yards of total offense, including a whopping 477 on the ground. McCaffrey, one of the nation’s most versatile and prolific players, can carve them up if the Bears aren’t sharp. He leads the nation in all-purpose yards with 2,418 – already a Stanford record with two regular-season games to play – and has strung together eight straight 100-yard rushing games. Against the league’s other two elite backs – Oregon’s Royce Freeman and Utah’s Devontae Booker – the Bears surrendered 402 rushing yards.

CAL STATS THAT MATTER: Goff is 26 for 50 for 376 yards with two interceptions and two touchdowns in two games against Stanford. The Cardinal is the only team he’s faced in the Pac-12 against whom he hasn’t thrown two TDs in a game at least once. . . . . Goff has set 26 Cal records, including career passing yards (10,805) and touchdowns (83). . . . Cal is tied for fifth nationally with 24 turnovers gained, but has just six in the past five games. . . . The Bears are 0-8 against the Pac-12’s in-state schools the past three seasons.

STANFORD STATS THAT MATTER: The 201 points Stanford has scored against Cal the past five seasons are the most either team has rung up over any five-game stretch in Big Game history. . . . . Stanford leads the Pac-12 in third-down conversions (49.6 percent) and third-down defense (34.8). . . . Stanford is 6-0 this season in night games. . . .Stanford is third in the conference in rushing (225.1 ypg). Cal is ninth in run defense (199.1). . . . Quarterback Kevin Hogan is 32-10 as a starter.