Basketball: Bears try to stretch win streak to four

Cal has avenged one defeat from its trip last month to Los Angeles.

Completing the package will be more difficult.

But the Bears (14-9, 4-6 Pac-12) enter Saturday’s 5 p.m. game vs. UCLA (14-9, 6-4) riding a three-game win streak after a 70-69 win over USC, made possible by Tyrone Wallace’s 3-point shot at the buzzer.

*** Click here for video highlights of Cal-USC, including Wallace’s game-winner  ***

Five days earlier, it was reserve guard Sam Singer whose 3-pointer with 4 seconds left beat Washington 90-88, giving the Bears a much-needed road sweep.

“We get these three wins . . . and the way we won, it really helps the psyche of your team,” coach Cuonzo Martin said Friday morning. “I think it really helps our guys figure out how you won the game. You have to be able to make plays in the last 2-3 minutes of a ballgame.”

UCLA dominated Cal at Pauley Pavilion, outscoring the Bears 42-28 in the second half on the way to a 73-54 win. The Bruins got double-digit scoring from all five starters, shot 53 percent, won the rebounding battle 40-34 and forced 16 turnovers.

“They’re a talented team. They played well at home,” Martin said. “I thought we had a solid first half. In the second half they jumped on us and it went down from there. We didn’t play well on the LA trip period.”

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Basketball: Cal’s NCAA title odds? Off the board

Here’s news that will shock you: Cal’s odds of winning the NCAA title this season are off the board, according to Bovada of Las Vegas.

Kentucky, the nation’s lone remaining unbeaten at 22-0, is now a scratch favorite: 1/1. Back in early November, Bovada listed the Wildcats as a 7/2 favorite.

Virginia is the next most likely NCAA champ at 15/2. Duke and Gonzaga are listed at 9/1 and Arizona is 10/1.

Stanford has slipped from 100/1 in November to 200/1. Cal, which was 300/1 two months ago, no longer is listed.


Basketball: Wallace’s game-winning at buzzer 3-pointer lifts Bears to wild victory over USC

FINAL SCORE: Cal 70, USC 69. A game-winning 3-pointer for the second time in five days. The Cal basketball team could get used to this.

“Any game-winner would be fine with me,” said Tyrone Wallace, whose 24-foot shot at the buzzer allowed the Bears to escape with a 70-69 win over USC.

Cal (14-9, 4-6) used a 3-pointer by Sam Singer with four seconds left to beat Washington 90-88 on Sunday. This one was even more frenetic.

Wallace missed a one-and-one free throw with 9.7 seconds left and the Bears trailing by one. After a timeout, USC’s Jordan McLaughlin made the first of two free throws for a 69-67 lead with 4.9 seconds left.

“I told them if he makes the second free throw we call a time out,” coach Cuonzo Martin said. “If they miss it and we get a good outlet, you’ve got to go.”

David Kravish rebounded McLaughlin’s miss on the second free throw and passed ahead to Wallace, who dashed past mid-court and pulled up in front of defenders Malik Marquetti and Elijah Stewart.

“David made a great outlet,” Wallace said. “There were only four seconds left . . . I stopped, pump-faked, got the dude in the air and had space to get the shot off. It felt good.”

The announced crowd of 9,326 fans erupted as Wallace’s shot rippled through the net, and Cal’s student section rushed the floor, swamping the junior guard from Bakersfield.

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Football: Dykes praises new assistant Peeler

While talking up Cal’s 2015 recruiting class, coach Sonny Dykes gave credit to Jacob Peeler, the Bears’ newest fulltime assistant, for his good work.

Dykes confirmed that Peeler had a key hand in the recruitment of defensive end Russell Ude, wide receiver Brandon Singleton and defensive back DePriest “Trey” Turner.

“I was really impressed with Jacob,” Dykes said. “Kids really like him, kids trust him. He does a great job communicating and really enjoys it. I thought he did a great job. He knocked it out of the park. And I think he’s just getting started.”

Peeler spent his first two seasons at Cal as a graduate assistant working with Cal’s inside receivers. Now he has the primary assistant with that position group.

Promoted just weeks ago, after Rob Likens and Zach Yenser left for positions at Kansas, Peeler first gave Dykes a glimpse of his potential as a recruiter through his work as a GA. In that role, Peeler was able to communicate with potential recruits via phone and social media and meet with them on campus visits. A GA is not permitted to recruit off campus.

“Young people have a pretty good understanding of social media – certainly a better understanding than I do – and that’s the way these young people communicate with each other these days,” Dykes said. “He was able to make those connections and start to build those relationships even though he wasn’t allowed to be in their homes.

“He was talking to them every day. Before long, it became pretty apparent to me he was driving the bus on a lot of these recruits. It became apparent to me not only was he going to be an adequate recruiter had a chance to be a very good recruiter.”


Basketball: Singer’s shot capped big weekend for Cal’s previously dormant reserves

If you saw Cal’s celebration after Sam Singer’s game-winning 3-pointer at Washington, you got the feeling the Bears’ joy extended beyond winning a road game.

“Very happy for him,” teammate Tyrone Wallace confirmed. “It just goes to show that hard work will pay off.

“I can’t tell you the last time he made a 3. And for him to make the game-winning 3, that’s big. He’s constantly working in the gym. For him to be working as hard as he does and to not be making shots, it definitely bogs you down. I know it messes with him.

“For him to make that shot, it definitely lifted him up.”

Singer had made just 4 of 29 3-point attempts this season before drilling one from the top of the key with 4 seconds left to beat Washington 90-88.

Cal coach Cuonzo Martin was still beaming with pride over Singer two days later.

“You’re talking about one of the hardest workers on the team,” Martin said. “I was more happy as a dad than a coach to see Sam make that shot because I know the time he puts into it. I know the pressure he puts on himself to be successful.”

Singer’s big shot capped a weekend road sweep during which Cal’s bench – quiet for weeks – delivered 35 points in the two games.

Wallace said those kind of roster-wide contributions create a good feeling among everyone in the locker room.

“We learned that we need to lean on each other. During the losing streak, there was just so much pressure on a few of our guys. Guys weren’t scoring, guys weren’t playing well on defense. It was added pressure we don’t need,” he said.

“As a team, if somebody is struggling then somebody else has to step up and fill in. That’s what teammates are for. Those two games, we had a lot of fun together, played well together, everybody was happy. That’s how it should be.”


Basketball: More confident Bears face USC

* USC at Cal, Thursday, 8 p.m. (FoxSports1)

The Golden Bears (13-9, 3-6) fixed a lot of problems in their game with a road sweep in Washington last weekend and return home with a better feeling about themelves.

“Confidence. I think our team is playing with more confidence right now,” guard Jabari Bird said this week. “Guys are being more aggressive, looking for their shots and making plays for others, as well.”

Now the Bears have to figure out a way to beat the Pac-12’s last-place team. Not as easy as it sounds.

USC (9-12, 1-8) scored its only win over Cal – 71-57 in Los Angeles a month ago. What’s more, the Trojans are just 3-24 in Pac-12 play under second-year coach Andy Enfield, but two of those three victories came at Cal’s expense.

Coach Cuonzo Martin called the first USC game one of the Bears’ two poorest performances of the conference season, but also said the Trojans are a team ready to take off.

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Football: The class rankings — who do you believe?

Where does Cal’s recruiting class rank in the Pac-12 or nationally?

Well, that depends whose rankings you believe. Cal is rated 29th, 37th and 53rd in the three rankings below.

Our inclination is to believe none of them. They are educated guesses, nothing more. We’ll know for sure in two or three years.


1. USC
2. Alabama
3. Florida State
4. Clemson
5. Tennessee
6. Auburn
7. Georgia
8. LSU
9. Ohio State
10. Texas A&M
Elsewhere in Pac-12: 13. UCLA; 17. Oregon; 18. Stanford; 20. Arizona State; 29. Cal; 30. Washington; 41. Arizona; 42. Utah; 56. Washington State; 70t. Colorado; 70t. Oregon State.

1. USC
2. Alabama
3. Auburn
5. Tennessee
6. Georgia
7. Notre Dame
8. Texas
9. Ohio State
10. Texas A&M
Elsewhere in the Pac-12: 21. Oregon; 23. Washington; 25. Stanford; 37. Cal; 41. Arizona; 45. Washington State; 51. Utah; 64. Oregon State; 75. Colorado.

1. Alabama
2. Florida State
3. USC
4. Clemson
5. Tennessee
6. Ohio State
7. Auburn
8. Georgia
9. Texas
10. LSU
Elsewhere in the Pac-12: 11. UCLA; 15. Oregon; 26. Arizona State; 27. Stanford; 28. Washington; 39. Arizona; 53. Cal; 54. Washington State; 56. Utah; 67. Colorado; 68. Oregon State.


Football: Jaylinn Hawkins — the last signee

An hour after Cal coach Sonny Dykes completed his news conference Wednesday, introducing the Bears’ recruiting class of 2015, that class officially grew from 23 players to 24.

Jaylinn Hawkins of Buena Park High came on board, giving the Bears another player with the potential to play multiple positions.

Hawkins is rated among the nation’s top-25 wide receiver prospects by both Scout and Rivals, but it’s also possible he might end up playing defensive back.

The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder totaled 152 catches for 2,443 yards and 21 touchdowns. A two-way starter, he also had 11 career interceptions, 21 pass breakups, and 223 tackles for a program that was 25-9 over his three varsity seasons.

Scout and Rivals rated Hawkins as a four-star prospect, 247Sports and ESPN list him as a three-star player.

Here’s what is being said about him:

► Sonny Dykes: “Jaylinn is one of the best players in Southern California. He can do a lot of different things. I really love the way he plays the game. He’s very physical for his size. He can play a variety of positions. He’s a rangy fast athlete that’s very tough, very physical, and has a chance to really be a good football player.”

► ESPN: “Hawkins is an explosive, space player that is quicker than fast and likely going to see more upside if moved to the inside. He possesses some natural playmaking instincts as a pass catcher and knows what to do with the ball in his hands.”

► Scout: “He can make a corner look silly because of his smooth route running and then shows the speed to blow by him.”


Football: Bears’ class has Southeastern feel

Cal coach Sonny Dykes unveiled a 24-player recruiting class Wednesday with a distinct Southeastern flavor.

Despite losing two potential signees from the Southeast quadrant of the country in the past three days, the Bears landed seven players from states where Southeastern Conference recruiters generally have their way.

“I was really pleased to see we were getting some guys from the South. Obviously, the South is where the best football is played — that’s a fact,” said defensive end Russell Ude, a defensive end from Atlanta who had offers from three SEC schools, including Georgia. “It shows that Cal can come into SEC territory and snatch up SEC talent.”

The Bears also signed players from Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Texas, where Carlos Strickland was a consensus four-star wide receiver in Dallas. Strickland said no to SEC powerhouse Alabama to come to Cal.

“I kind of want to go somewhere where we can rebuild and be a part of the come-up,” said Strickland, who became a Cal fan growing up when he followed the likes of Marshawn Lynch and DeSean Jackson.

The geographical slant to Cal’s recruiting seemingly netted a positive result this year. Rivals rated the Bears’ class in the top 30 nationally, and Scout has the Bears in the top 40.

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Austin Aaron: WR Napa 6-5, 210
Third-generation Cal athlete had 115 career catches, 2,082 yards, 23 TDs

Antoine Albert: CB Oakland 6-2, 220
Oakland Tech grad expected to join team in fall after 2 years at Diablo Valley College

Greyson Bankhead: WR Corona 5-10, 160
Excellent route-runner caught 137 passes for 2,061 yards and 22 TDs in prep career

Luc Bequette: DT Little Rock, Ark 6-2, 285
Mother Debi Thomas is a Stanford grad and 1988 Olympic figure skating bronze medalist

Ross Bowers: QB Bothell, WA 6-1, 175
Four-star ESPN recruit passed for 37 TDs for unbeaten state championship team

Derron Williams-Brown: Saf Laveen, AZ 6-2, 195
Mid-year JC signee arrives with three years’ eligibility and chance to find place in spring ball

Ryan Gibson: C Bay St. Louis, MS 6-3, 265
Started four years in high school, father played defensive back at Navy

Jaylinn Hawkins: ATH Buena Park 6-1, 180
Rated a four-star prospect by Scout and Rivals, could end up at WR or DB

Trevor Howard: DL Westlake Village 6-4, 235
Injured most of senior year; father played at Kansas, uncle at UCLA, grandfather at Wisconsin

Zeandae Johnson: DL Fresno 6-5, 250
Primarly a high school tight end, Johnson will play on the defensive side for Cal

Dylan Klumph: P Encino 6-3, 230
Golden West CC punter arrives with three years to play; could also do kickoffs

Billy McCrary III: Ath Leander, TX 5-10, 195
Dual-threat prep QB accounted for 72 career TDs, but will get first look as DB

Patrick Mekari: OL Westlake Village 6-5, 300
He is the younger brother of current Cal defensive tackle Tony Mekari

Kanawai Noa: WR Honolulu 6-0, 170
Prolific prep receiver had 146 career catches for 3.195 yards, 34 touchdowns

Lonny Powell: RB Sacramento 6-1, 205
Mid-year enrollee averaged 11.5 yards per rush or catch, with 38 career TDs in 38 games

Malik Psalms: CB Chino Hills 6-3, 175
Rated as a 4-star prospect and nation’s No. 27 cornerback by Rivals

Evan Rambo: Saf Pasadena 6-3, 190
Played exclusively on defense as a senior; could play several DB spots for Cal

Cameron Saffle: DL Sammamish,WA 6-3, 225
Played on two state title teams; expected to play defensive end for the Bears

Brandon Singleton: WR Bouttee, LA 6-0, 175
Speed receiver owns state high school 300 hurdles record; father Nate played for 49ers

Carlos Strickland: WR Dallas, TX 6-5, 200
Four-star prospect, who caught 25 TDs past two seasons, picked Cal over Texas, UCLA

DePriest Turner: Saf Mobile, Ala 6-1, 180
Passed and ran for more than 6,000 yards and 61 TDs as prep QB, will play DB for Bears

Russell Ude: DE Atlanta, GA 6-4, 250
Four-star prospect expected to play as freshman and provide boost to sagging pass rush

Semisi Uluave: OG Honolulu 6-5, 320
Rated by Scout as a 4-star and top prospect in Hawaii; does LDS mission factor in future?

DeVante Wilson: DE Corona 6-5, 245
December signee began career at USC in 2011 before knee injury sent him to Riverside CC


Football: Class gets a lift from Hawaiian guard

Cal’s football recruiting class netted at least one surprise Wednesday morning when Semisi Uluave, a huge offensive guard from Honolulu, joined the Bears on signing day.

Uluave, a teammate of Cal-bound wideout Kanawai Noa at Punahou School, picked the Bears over UCLA, Texas Tech and Oregon. Although Noa had reportedly been campaigning for Cal, Uluave’s decision was a bit unexpected.

But it was a welcome addition to a position group that took a couple hits in Cal’s recruiting over the past several weeks. Placer offensive lineman Johnny Capra flipped to Utah, then Nick Buchanan of Dunwoody, Georgia, withdrew his commitment to Cal on Monday.

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