Cal basketball: Tyrone Wallace out 4 to 6 weeks

A once-promising Cal basketball team that already had steered off course must navigate the next four to six weeks without all-Pac-12 point guard Tyrone Wallace, sidelined by a broken bone in his right wrist.

Picked to finish second in the Pac-12 before the season and ranked No. 14 nationally in November, the Bears will try to snap a three-game losing streak Thursday night at home against Arizona State without their leading scorer (15.4 points per game) and only scholarship senior.

Cal then faces Arizona on Saturday at Haas Pavilion in a nationally televised matchup of teams picked to finish first and second in the Pac-12. The Bears (12-6, 2-3) enter the week in a four-way tie for seventh.

Junior guard Jabari Bird said none of his teammates has lost hope.

“We’re a confident team. We’re still positive,” he said. “We’re a team for a reason. We can’t just rely on one guy. We have to come together as a team and figure this out.”

Wallace suffered the injury during a 5-on-5 drill in practice Saturday.

Junior backup Sam Singer, who played season-high totals of 27 and 29 minutes in the Bears’ two most recent games, will move into the starting role. Singer averages 4.1 points and has an assist-to-turnover ratio of nearly 2-to-1.

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Cal basketball: Bears fall at Stanford as road woes continue

More road struggles for Cal (12-6, 2-3), which lost 77-71 to Stanford at Maples Pavilion on Thursday night.

The Bears are now 1-4 on an opponent’s court, 1-6 away from Haas Pavilion. They are 11-0 at home and get the Arizona schools in Berkeley next week, but won’t approach their potential until they figure out how to perform on the road.

“On the road, you have to execute a lot more,” Cal forward Jaylen Brown said. “Teams have higher energy on their home court. You have to match it and find ways to win. We’ll bounce back.”

Perhaps, but after a third straight Pac-12 road defeat, the Bears — once ranked No. 14 in the nation — are tied for eighth in the conference standings.

Cal shot 41.7 percent, and Stanford’s zone prompted the Bears to hoist 30 shots from the 3-point arc — exactly half of their field-goal tries. They made 12, but they also had 15 turnovers, couldn’t get their fastbreak going against the Cardinal and were limited to 24 points in the paint.

Just as big a problem was their recurring propensity to foul. Coach Cuonzo Martin started a “small” lineup — without either Kameron Rooks or Kingsley Okoroh — and Stanford had its way inside. Cal was whistled for 27 fouls, sending Stanford to the line for 38 free throws. The Cardinal outscored the Bears 30-9 at the foul line. Didn’t help that Cal missed eight times.

Freshmen Ivan Rabb (5 fouls) and Brown (4 fouls) were limited to 22 minutes each on the floor. Rabb had eight points and seven rebounds. Brown scored 13. Each had three turnovers.

Tyrone Wallace led the Bears with 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists. He also had four fouls and three turnovers.

If there was an encouraging sign for the Bears it was a season-high, 17-point outburst by Jabari Bird, who was given a place in Martin’s adjusted lineup. Bird, who had shot just 4 for 21 in four previous Pac-12 games, was 6 for 10 at Stanford, including 4 for 7 from the 3-point arc.

But Bird’s promotion back into the starting group left a slumping bench even more toothless. Cal’s reserves totaled just five points (2-for-9 shooting) and six rebounds in a combined 60 minutes.

Click here to read staff writer Jon Wilner’s account of the game and view a photo slide show.


Cal basketball: Bears try to sort out their issues as they take on rival Stanford

Coach Cuonzo Martin has coaxed his Cal basketball team into generally playing the tough defense he believes is necessary to achieve at a high level. That component is in place.

But can a Bears’ squad that was ranked No. 14 nationally in November overcome other shortcomings to challenge for the Pac-12 Conference title?

As it prepares to take on rival Stanford (9-6, 2-2) on Thursday night at Maples Pavilion, Cal (12-5, 2-2) is grappling with turnovers, poor free throw shooting, even the question of how to best utilize returning all-Pac-12 point guard Tyrone Wallace.

The Bears opened conference play two weeks ago with impressive home wins over Colorado and Utah, teams that were a combined 22-4 when they arrived in the Bay Area.

Then Cal trekked to Oregon, where it lost twice and had its flaws exposed.

Lamar Hurd and Kevin O’Neill, studio analysts for the Pac-12 Networks, agree that it’s too early to make judgments on the fate of the Bears’ season in a balanced league with nine teams ranked among the nation’s top 50 by the RPI computer.

“I don’t see anything wrong with their team, really. It’s just going on the road to two tough places,” said O’Neill, the former Arizona and USC coach.

But Hurd, a former star guard at Oregon State, was caught off guard by the Bears’ dropoff in one week.

“When they were at home two weekends ago, they looked like the best team in the conference,” he said. “In Oregon, I was as surprised as (anyone) to see them look as bad as they looked.”

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Cal football notebook: Recruiting class close to complete

Cal has 24 recruiting commitments, including nine players who have signed scholarship papers and will enroll for the spring semester. But that’s not the end of the Bears’ 2016 recruiting class.

Coach Sonny Dykes said he anticipates signing 28 players on Feb. 3.

“A couple guys we feel pretty good about that have told us privately they’re coming,” he told reporters Wednesday.

He expects to land one more wide receiver, offensive and defensive lineman and linebacker. Possibly a 10th player could enroll for the spring semester, he said.

The Bears’ recruiting class currently is ranked fifth of sixth in the Pac-12 by most of the online recruiting services, and Dykes said Cal’s 8-5 record and bowl game appearance in 2015 is only one reason the program is having more success luring talent to Berkeley.

“The program has much more credibility than it has before,” said Dykes, who took over in 2013 after the Bears went 3-9 in coach Jeff Tedford’s final season. Cal was 1-11 in Dykes’ debut. “People know we can win. They’ve seen us compete, see we’re not that far off.”

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Cal football: Bears flip 4-star DB from Stanford

Cal scored a rare football victory over Stanford on Tuesday when four-star cornerback Nygel Edmonds of Chattanooga, Tennessee, flipped from the Cardinal and committed to the Bears, according to multiple recruiting sources.

Edmonds, a 6-foot, 180-pounder from the McCallie School for Boys, had committed to Stanford last April and was admitted to school last month, according to Rivals.com.

But after also receiving offers from the likes of national championship combatants Alabama and Clemson, Edmonds chose Cal.

He is rated as a four-star prospect and the nation’s No. 27 cornerback by ESPN. Rivals has him as the No. 12 cornerback prospect and a four-star recruit. Scout lists Edmonds as a three-star prospect.

The Bears now have five defensive backs in their 24-player 2016 recruiting class. The letter-of-intent signing day is Feb. 3 and oral commitments aren’t binding until then.

But, for what it’s worth, landing Edmonds helps the Bears continue to climb in the latest recruiting rankings:

Rivals: No. 5 in Pac-12, No. 21 in nation

Scout: No. 6 in Pac-12, No. 33 in nation

247Sports: No. 6 in Pac-12, No. 32 in nation


Cal basketball: Bears lose to OSU, swept on trip

Down 14 points two minutes into the second half, Cal battled back within two before falling 77-71 to Oregon State at Gill Coliseum on Saturday night. The Bears (12-5, 2-2) were swept in the state of Oregon for the first time since 2005.

Some quick impressions:

WHY CAL LOST: The Bears were sporadic offensively, but actually made nine straight shots late in the game. The problem was their defense, which has been their strength for more than a month. The Beavers put up more points than any Cal opponent since Richmond scored 94 against the Bears in Las Vegas over Thanksgiving weekend. The Bears blocked six shots, but could not close out defensive possessions, allowing 15 offensive rebounds.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: With his Hall of Fame father watching courtside, Oregon State senior guard Gary Payton II made all the big plays, including the biggest – a spinning drive and free throw with 30 seconds left that gave the Beavers some breathing room at 76-71. Payton finished with 21 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists, four steals and just one turnover in 38 impressive minutes.

PLAY OF THE GAME: Cal was down just 30-25 with barely 3 minutes left in the first half and the Beavers faced an inbounds play under their own basket with 1 second left on the shot clock. A wasted possession, right? No, Payton deftly inbounded to freshman Stephen Thompson Jr., who converted a reverse layup before the shot clock expired, and OSU outscored Cal 8-2 to close the half with a 38-27 lead.

TURNING POINT: The Bears pulled within 48-46 after consecutive 3-point baskets by Sam Singer and Jordan Mathews. But Cal’s next three possessions generated a missed one-and-one free throw by Jabari Bird, a Jordan turnover that led to a fastbreak dunk, and a Tyrone Wallace shot that was blocked. OSU went 6-0 to push its margin back to eight points with 10½ minutes left and the Bears were swimming upstream the rest of the night.

WHAT WE LEARNED: Actually, it’s what the Bears learned – the road is not easy in conference play. Cuonzo Martin and his players talked before the trip that they just needed to play their game and geography would have little to do with the outcome. But they got swept and now have lost their past six Pac-12 road games.

TURNING IT OVER: Cal entered the week among the Pac-12’s best at taking care of the ball. Then they coughed up 18 turnovers in a three-point loss at Oregon and 16 more in a six-point defeat at OSU. Combined with 15 OSU offensive rebounds, the turnovers helped the Beavers generate 17 more shots. So even though the Bears converted 52 percent to 43 percent for OSU, the home team actually made three more field goals.

BROKEN BENCH: Cal’s reserves were outscored 42-8 by their Oregon State counterparts, including 20-1 in first half. Reserve point guard Sam Singer ran the offense well, contributing five points, four assists and just one turnover in 27 minutes. The Bears often seem to have a better flow with the ball in his hands. But Cal badly needs a lift from junior guard Jabari Bird, who shot 1 for 7 and scored just three points. In four Pac-12 games, the former starter is 4 for 21from the field and has totaled 13 points.

MIXED BROWN BAG: Three nights after he scored 20 points at Oregon, freshman Jaylen Brown matched it with 20 more and seven rebounds. He had Pac-12 Networks analyst Bill Walton frothing at the mouth, although that doesn’t put him in select company. But Brown also shot just 2 for 8 at the free throw line and turned the ball over four times.

BIG TURNS SMALL: Martin swapped 7-footers in his starting lineup, going with Kingsley Okoroh over Kam Rooks at center. Before long, however, Martin opted for a smaller lineup, keeping both big guys on the bench. Neither was effective. The two combined for zero points and one rebound in 12 minutes. Martin wants to play big, but on this night it was clear from the start that a lineup with his best five players did not include either of his sophomore 7-footers.

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Cal basketball: Bears try to salvage split in Oregon

It’s very early in what promises to be a volatile Pac-12 basketball season.

Need evidence:

A victory by Cal (12-4, 2-1) on Saturday evening at Oregon State (10-3, 1-1) and the Bears could possibly move into a tie for first place.

A loss and the Bears suffer their first two-game sweep in the state of Oregon since 2005.

The 6:30 p.m. matchup (Pac-12 Networks) features a pair of teams coming off their first conference defeats of the season.

Cal had swept Colorado and Utah at home the previous weekend, but lost 68-65 at Oregon on Wednesday night.

OSU beat those same Ducks 70-57 on the opening weekend of the conference schedule, then sustained a 78-72 home loss to Stanford in a game the Beavers never led after the opening 6½ minutes.

“I think maybe a little bit of the performance the other night was these guys are learning how to handle success,” OSU coach Wayne Tinkle told the Corvallis Gazette-Times.

Exactly which team was Tinkle talking about?

Certainly could have been Cal, which was so good the previous weekend but turned the ball over 18 times, shot 0 for 12 from the 3-point arc and missed 10 free throws in a sloppy loss to the Ducks.

“We can’t let a loss linger over to a different game,” senior point guard Tyrone Wallace said afterward. “Oregon State is what we’re focused on. We’ve got to come out and learn from this game tonight, come out and play harder, correct our mistakes. We’ve just got to play better.”

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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 to know about Cal vs. Oregon

Cal (12-3, 2-0) takes on Oregon (11-3, 1-1) at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene on Wednesday night with the chance to move into sole possession of first place in the Pac-12. Tipoff is 6 pm on ESPN2

Here are five things to know about the matchup:

* Cal has dominated the Ducks in Eugene. The Bears have won six straight on Oregon’s home floor, part of a stretch where they have 12 victories in 13 games overall. Cal has not lost on the road to Oregon in Ben Braun’s final season of 2007-08. (The teams did not play at Eugene last season and Oregon won 80-69 in Berkeley). Worth nothing: Oregon is 9-0 at home this season.

* Cal center Kameron Rooks and Kingsley Okoroh played significant roles in wins over Colorado and Utah — combining for 18 points, 16 rebounds and 9 blocks in the two games — but could play less against Oregon. The Ducks are smaller – with just one starter taller than 6-7 – so 7-footers Rooks and Okoroh don’t match up as well. Will coach Cuonzo Martin make a change or stay big and force the Ducks to adjust? Expect backup point guard Sam Singer to see significant playing time.

* Junior guard Jordan Mathews should look forward to a return to Matthew Knight Arena. As a freshman two seasons ago, he scored what remains his career-high of 32 points in Cal’s win. Jordan is on a roll, averaging 18.5 points and shooting 17 for 32 from the 3-point arc the past four games. He leads the Pac-12 with 39 made 3-pointers.

* Oregon could be without senior point guard Oregon senior point guard Dylan Ennis, but the Ducks have plenty of depth. Ennis, a transfer from Villanova, was back in a protective boot Tuesday at practice after sitting out the first 12 games with a foot injury. Help off the bench starts with sixth-man Chris Boucher, a 6-10, 190-pound senior from Montreal, who averages 12 points and leads the team in rebounding (8.6) and blocked shots (3.1).

* The Bears don’t have all the good freshmen in this game, but they could have. Cal went hard in recruiting after Los Angeles prep shooting guard Tyler Dorsey, but Oregon won the battle, preventing the Bears from lining up Dorsey alongside freshmen Ivan Rabb and Jaylen Brown. Dorsey has scored 20 points three times and leads Pac-12 freshmen with a 14.6 average.


Basketball: Cal’s improved defense has squelched past seven opponents

Cal’s improved commitment to defense has limited seven straight opponents to 65 points or fewer. The Bears have won six of those games, losing 63-62 in overtime at Virginia, currently ranked No. 4 in the country.

Over those seven games, opponents have scored an average of 18.6 points below their season average.

Here’s a breakdown of those seven games:

Incarnate Word: Cal allowed 62; Incarnate averages 76. The difference: minus-14

Saint Mary’s: Cal allowed 59; Saint Mary’s averages 80. The difference: minus-21

Coppin State: Cal allowed 51; Coppin averages 72. The difference: minus-21

Virginia: Cal allowed 63; Virginia averages 76. The difference: minus-13

Davidson: Cal allowed 60; Davidson averages 82. The difference: minus-22

Colorado: Cal allowed 65; Colorado averages 80. The difference: minus-15

Utah: Cal allowed 58; Utah averages 82. The difference: minus-24

Average: Cal allowed 59.7; opponents average 78.3. The difference: minus-18.6