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Basketball: Bears suffer disastrous loss to Bakersfield

There is no way to dress up this defeat: Cal’s 55-52 loss to Cal State Bakersfield on Sunday night was an ugly one that could seriously haunt the Bears come March.

That is, if they turn things around sufficiently that March matters.

“This is not good for Cal moving forward,” Pac-12 Networks analyst for former Bears coach Mike Montgomery said.

Bakersfield arrived in Berkeley with a 2-10 record and a No. 340 RPI rating. The Roadrunners’ two victories came against teams ranked Nos. 342 and 343 by the computer.

Cal (10-3), whose only two previous defeats were to top-10 teams Texas and Wisconsin, will have trouble explaining this one away.

Here are some of the most gruesome numbers:

– Cal had 18 field goals and 18 turnovers.

– Bakersfield scored 20 of its 55 points off those turnovers.

– The Bears shot 39 percent from the field, made 2 of 15 from 3-point range and missed 11 free throws.

Cal held its last lead at 3-2 with 18:37 left in the first half, and trailed by as many as 17 points. At halftime, the Bears had seven baskets and 13 turnovers.

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5

Basketball: Bears close pre-Pac-12 schedule

The Golden Bears (10-2) close the pre-conference schedule Sunday night at home against Cal State Bakersfield (2-10), rated as one of the nation’s worst DI teams. Tipoff is 7 p.m.

The Roadrunners are rated No. 340 (out of 351) in the latest RealTimeRPI ratings. Their only two victories were against No. 342 Idaho State (1-9) and No. 343 Delaware (0-10).

Cal, coming off a 68-56 loss to No. 6 Wisconsin, is 2-0 all-time vs. Bakersfield. The Bears won 91-75 in 1977 and 78-65 in 2012.

Bakersfield, which joined the Western Athletic Conference this season, features no players from California. The Roadrunners’ roster shows players from eight states, plus England, Barbados and Egypt.

The club’s best player is Aly Ahmed, a 6-foot-9, 250-pound junior center from Alexandria, Egypt, via Midland junior college. Ahmed averages 14.0 points and 6.1 rebounds and has scored double digits in his past five games.

Senior guard Tyrell Corbin, the son of Utah Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin, averages 5.1 points and leads the team in steals.

Cal forward David Kravish, needs just two blocked shots to become the first player in school history to accumulate 1,000 points and 200 blocked shots. He also ranked ninth all-time in rebounds with 754, just five behind former teammate Richard Solomon.

The Bears open Pac-12 play Friday at home against Washington.

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Football: How C.J. Anderson beat the odds

The 2013 NFL draft had just ended, and the names of 23 running backs had been called. None of them was Cal’s C.J. Anderson.

But a few hours later, the Denver Broncos reached out, offering Anderson a free-agent contract, which he accepted.

The decision, however, made no sense to Anderson’s junior college coach.

“Why would you sign with Denver?” Laney’s John Beam recalled thinking. “You’re never going to get the ball. They’ve got Peyton Manning (at quarterback), and they’re going to throw the ball every time.”

Twenty months later, the Broncos and Anderson couldn’t be happier. Of those 23 running backs drafted in 2013, Anderson has rushed for more yards than all but Le’Veon Bell of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Eddie Lacy of the Green Bay Packers.

Click here to rest the rest of this story.

Click here to read about the philosophy teacher who helped alter Anderson’s academic path.

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Ex-Bears in Beast Mode

It’s been quite an NFL season for four ex-Cal running backs, who have combined for 4,862 yards rushing and receiving and 36 touchdowns:

• C.J. ANDERSON, Broncos: A surprise during the second half of the season after carrying the ball just 17 times in Denver’s first eight games, Anderson is 18th in the NFL with 762 rushing yards and five touchdowns and has caught 32 passes for 304 yards and two more TDs.

• JUSTIN FORSETT, Ravens: In his first year with Baltimore, Forsett is enjoying his best NFL season. The 29-year-old is sixth in the league with 1,147 rushing yards and eight touchdowns and has caught 42 passes for 246 yards more.

• MARSHAWN LYNCH, Seahawks: In his ninth NFL season, Lynch has topped 1,000 yards for the sixth time, including the past four seasons with the reigning Super Bowl champions. His 2014 numbers: Third in the NFL with 1,246 yards and 12 touchdowns, along with 34 receptions for 334 yards and four TDs.

• SHANE VEREEN, Patriots: The 25-year-old is having his most productive season with New England. Vereen has rushed for 390 yards and two TDs and caught a career-best 49 passes for 433 yards and three scores.

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Football: C.J. Anderson ready for Raiders

Courtesy of Jerry McDonald, our Raiders beat writer, here is a transcript of a teleconference call today involving Broncos coach John Fox and former Cal running back C.J. Anderson in advance of Sunday’s NFL regular-season finale against the Raiders:

Broncos Coach John Fox

Q: What has C.J. Anderson brought to you guys since he has come in? Has he been a surprise to you at all?
Coach Fox: “When these guys sit in those seats in the first team meeting, they don’t get one of those seats without having some talent, and C.J. was no different. I think the fact that he came in as a college free agent, he has had to fight and earn everything he’s got. It says a lot about his football character, his personal character. He got the opportunity. He flashed a year ago and then this year, due to injuries, he got a better look and he’s taking full advantage of it.”

Broncos RB C.J. Anderson

Q: Were you a Raiders fan as a kid?
Anderson: “Yes, I was.”

Q: Who was your favorite player?
Anderson: “Tim Brown.”

Q: Did you want to be a receiver or were you always a running back growing up?
Anderson: “Tim Brown was who I really liked and if I had to choose a running back in their time that I got to see play, it would be Tyrone Wheatley and Charlie Garner. I thought that combination was really fun to watch when I was young.”

Q: With the Cal connection with Justin Forsett and Marshawn Lynch, do you guys talk a lot or compare notes at all?
Anderson: “No, not really. We talk. We give each other congratulations over the years and things of that nature. We just sit and chat, but we don’t share notes or exchange notes. We all are our style when it comes to our running style and we just all try to do the best we can when we’re out there.”

Q: How would you describe your style and their styles of running?
Anderson: “I think Marshawn is himself, ‘Beast Mode.’ He’s just hard to tackle and accelerates into contact and that’s what makes him break a lot of tackles. I thin Justin is very patient and is very quick. He is very fast. He is kind of small, so it’s kind of hard to see him behind them. He breaks a lot of tackles with his speed. I just think that I’m more in the slow, quick game. I’m not the fastest guy on the field, but I have some shiftiness to me and I just try to run nasty and just try to, I guess you can say, put two styles into one. Marshawn is super quick and he can get moving and he breaks a lot of tackles. Justin is fast and quick and that’s what helps him out and I think I have a combination of both.”

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Football: Versatile commit perhaps headed to safety

The website Scout.com lists DePriest Turner as a wide receiver prospect. Rivals.com notes he is a dual-threat quarterback.

Cal got the Mobile, Alabama native to flip from Duke and give an oral commitment, and Turner may be earmarked to play safety for the Bears, according to Rivals.

A 6-foot-1, 184-pounder from Murphy High in Mobile, Turner is rated as a three-star prospect by both recruiting websites. Scout lists him as the No. 2 prep wideout in Alabama.

He would be the fifth defensive back commitment for the Bears, who also have four wideout commits. Cal has 20 players committed to its 2015 recruiting class.

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Basketball: Jabari Bird’s foot injury a stress fracture; timetable for his return still unclear

The undisclosed foot injury that has sidelined Cal sophomore guard Jabari Bird for six games is a stress fracture, according to his high school coach.

“I don’t know how long it’s going to take,” said Salesian High coach Bill Mellis. “There’s got to be some level of frustration to it, but he’ll be fine.”

Bird, the former McDonald’s All-American, suffered the injury in Cal’s win at Fresno State on Nov. 30. He has sat out the six games since and still was wearing a protective boot on his left foot Monday night when the Bears played No. 6 Wisconsin at Haas Pavilion.

Cal coach Cuonzo Martin has been vague about the nature of the injury and the timetable for Bird’s return. He confirmed Monday he will be back for Pac-12 play, without specifying exactly when.

A Cal spokesman said Martin had no comment Tuesday, other than to say Bird has a foot injury and is day to day.

Mellis said Bird originally told him he expected to be out as long as a month, but added Monday that his recovery is going a bit slower than anticipated.

Cal (10-2) ends its nonconference schedule Sunday against Cal State Bakersfield, then opens conference play a week from Friday at home against Washington. Given that he still is wearing a boot and has not resumed practicing, it seems unlikely Bird would be ready for the Pac-12 openers.

Bird averaged 11.7 points through Cal’s first six games and had scored a season-high 18 against Cal Poly four days before he injured his foot at Fresno.

This is the second straight season his early season has been derailed by injury. Last year he sprained his ankle Dec. 22 at Creighton and sat out four games.

After returning, Bird averaged just 3.3 points on 30-percent shooting over nine games, then finished the season strong, averaging 16.7 points in the Bears’ three NIT games.

5

Basketball: Cal-Wisconsin game thread

Click here to read my game story.

FINAL SCORE: Wisconsin 68, Cal 56. The N0. 6 Badgers (11-1) led by as many as 19 points on the way to ending the Bears’ seven-game win streak. Cal (10-2) got 17 points from Wallace and 15 from Mathews, but never threatened the visitors down the stretch. Nigel Hayes led Wisconsin with 17 points and 13 rebounds, spearheading a performance by the Badgers’ three frontcourt players, who combined for 45 points and 27 rebounds. Cal was outrebounded by 10, had just seven assists and got just 9-for-31 shooting from its starters, aside from Wallace.

10:08 2nd H: Wisconsin 44, Cal 33. The Badgers’ lead reached 42-35 before Wallace scored on a drive, Mathews hit a 3-pointer and then converted a layup and free throw, pulling Cal within 42-33. But Wisconsin is playing more and more physically as the game progresses, and Cal may struggle to match it.

16:37 2nd H: Wisconsin 38, Cal 22. The Badgers are imposing their will — and their size advantage — and have control of things. Cuonzo Martin calls timeout, but this may already be over.

HALFTIME: Wisconsin 32, Cal 20. The Badgers outscored the Bears 9-2 over the final 4 minutes to build their biggest lead of the night. Nigel Hayes has 10 points to lead Wisconsin, which is shooting 44 percent. Wallace has 10 points for Cal, which has struggled to run its halfcourt offense and has just two points in transition. Cal is shooting 34.5 and is 0 for 4 from 3-point range. Wisconsin has a 22-13 rebounding edge — no surprise. Behrens and Mathews a combined 0 for 7.

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5

Basketball: Bears aim for win No. 11 against Badgers

Click here for my college basketball column that will appear in Monday’s edition.

*****

Matchups will be key when the Bears (10-1) take on No. 5 Wisconsin (10-1) on Monday night at 6 p.m. at Haas Pavilion.

It starts with who draws the defensive assignment against 7-foot senior Frank Kaminsky, who blossomed during the Badgers’ run to the Final Four last season, and this year is averaging 16.0 points, 7.6 rebounds and shooting 42.4 percent from the 3-point line.

Junior forward Sam Dekker, a 6-9, 220-pounder, also is an honors candidate and contributes 11.8 points and 4.0 rebounds while shooting 53 percent from the field. Adding to the matchup challenge is Nigel Hayes, a 6-7, 250-pound sophomore forward.

The Bears, who start three guards and sometimes have as many as four backcourt players on the floor, rarely have utilized a zone this season. That means someone will have to line up against a much bigger player when the Bears are on defense.

The guess here: senior David Kravish draws the assignment of chasing Kaminsky, Christian Behrens guards Hayes and one of the Cal guards is asked to muscle up against Dekker.

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 Some of the numbers look great for Cal.

Others are a bit daunting.

The Bears, off to their best start at 10-1 since the 1959-60 season, put a seven-game win streak on the line against Wisconsin.

Cal has won 17 straight nonconference games at home, but hasn’t faced anyone the likes of the Badgers during that stretch.

Wisconsin  boasts wins over Oklahoma, Georgetown, Boise State, Green Bay and Marquette — teams with a combined record of 38-14. The Badgers’ only loss was an 80-70 defeat to unbeaten Duke.

Cal has an all-time record of 9-83 against teams ranked in the top five of the AP poll. The Bears are 5-3 vs. Wisconsin, 47-41 in all games vs. teams currently in the Big Ten Conference.

*****

There’s a reason is seems like Cal junior point guard Tyrone Wallace is doing most of his scoring in the second half of games. He has tallied 63.3 percent of his points — 136 of 215 — after halftime. That includes 23 points in the second half against Nevada, 20 against Princeton and 17 against Kennesaw State.

*****

Cal associate head coach Tracy Webster played his college ball at Wisconsin (1992-94) and left his name in the record book. He is the Badgers’ career assist leader with 501 assists and ranks second with 183 steals. He finished his Wisconsin career with 1,264 points.

4

Football: Cal makes it official by signing JC corner

Cal formalized the news from a day earlier that cornerback Antoine Albert had joining the Bears’ program by announcing his signing to a letter of intent.

Albert, from Diablo Valley College, becomes the fourth signed member of the Bears’ 2015 recruiting class and the second defensive back.

“It was important to address our needs at cornerback and we added a player today in Antoine Albert that gives us both size and length at that position,” coach Sonny Dykes said in a statement. “The thing that stands out most with him is that he’s a physical player.”

Although listed as bigger on a recruiting website, Cal identifies Albert as 6-foot-1, 190 pounds — still very good size for a corner.

He joins another JC transfer arriving to help in the secondary — junior Derron Williams-Brown of Mesa Community College in Arizona — who signed Wednesday.

Albert, who prepped at Oakland Tech HS, was a two-time all-conference player for DVC, which posted a 7-4 record this season.

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Basketball: Cal-EWU game thread

Click here for my game story.

FINAL SCORE: Cal 78, EWU 67. Christian Behrens (20 points) and Sam Singer (15) each scored career highs and the Bears (10-1) equaled their best start since 1960 in front of an announced crowd of 6,758 fans. Cal won its seventh straight game and equaled its best start since Pete Newell’s 1959-60 team that started 28-1 before losing to Ohio State in the national championship game. Tyrone Wallace contributed 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Bears, who held off a second-half charge from the Eagles (8-4), who early this season ended Indiana’s 43-game home nonconference win streak.

The Bears return to action Monday at home against No. 5 Wisconsin.

Tyler Harvey finished with 31 points – including 6 for 9 from 3-point range — and Venky Jois scored 23 for the Eagles.

7:28 2nd H: Cal 56, EWU 49. Wallace’s third 3-pointer of the half — he has 20 points — gives Cal a bit of a cushion. Cal still shooting 58 percent. When the Bears don’t turn it over, they have been very efficient. Singer has 12 points — a career-high by four.

11:50 2nd H: Cal 46, EWU 44. The Eagles continue fight back. They pulled within 42-40 when Harvey nailed a 25-foot 3-pointer with 14:28 left, capping a 14-3 surge. He has 17 points and Jois has 18 for the Eagles; their teammates have combined for nine on 1 for 13 shooting. Kravish returning to the floor after the timeout.

16:02 2nd H: Cal 42, EWU 35. Kravish picked up his third PF with 19:04 left and immediately EWU’s Venky Jois attacked the basket, scoring to trigger a 9-0 run that got the visitors within 39-35. But Wallace just answered with a 3-pointer and Cal’s lead is back to seven points.

HALFTIME: Cal 37, Eastern Washington 26. The Bears outscored the Eagles 23-5 over the final 8:17 of the half, including a 16-0 run that spanned 6 minutes. Tyrone Wallace has 11 points and 9 rebounds at the half and Cal is shooting 58.3 percent from the field. Bears with a 20-12 rebounding edge. Sam Singer gave the Bears a lift with 4 for 4 shooting, especially big considering Jordan Mathews played just 5 minutes due to early fouls. Christian Behrens, after some shaky moments early, had six points and a nice pass to set up a basket.

EWU, which looked so sharp early, became susceptible to Cal’s defensive pressure and coughed up four turnovers in a span of five possessions, allowing the Bears to get some easy baskets and some offensive confidence. The Eagles shot 30.8 percent in the half and only two players — Venky Jois and Tyler Harvey — managed a field goal. The others were a combined 0 for 9. Eastern Wash has zero assists.

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