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Basketball: Another honor for Cobbs

Cal senior guard Justin Cobbs was named a National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) First Team All-District 20 selection.

Cobbs is part of the five-member first team along with Arizona’s Nick Johnson, UCLA’s Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams, and Washington’s C.J. Wilcox.

In all, 252 players from 25 districts around the nation were recognized. Cobbs is now eligible for selection to the NABC Division I All-America team, which will be announced at a later date.

Posted on Wednesday, March 12th, 2014
Under: Basketball, Honors | 1 Comment »
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Basketball: Colorado survives USC 59-56, earns Pac-12 quarterfinal rematch Thursday vs. Cal

UPDATED WITH TOURNAMENT RESULTS

As expected, it will be a Cal-Colorado rematch on Thursday after the Buffaloes held off USC 59-56 in their Pac-12 tournament opener.

Tipoff is 2:36 p.m.

Cal beat the Buffaloes 66-65 in overtime on Saturday in Berkeley to halt a three-game losing skid and secure the No. 4 seed for this event.

The Buffs struggled a bit to create the rematch before finally dispatching the 12th-seeded Trojans.

“We made just enough winning plays,” CU coach Tad Boyle said. “We’re going to have to make a lot more tomorrow against a very good Cal team.”

Looking back to Saturday’s loss, Boyle noted that Cal had 10 offensive rebounds after halftime. “What we have to do better than we did in Berkeley is we have to finish defensive possessions,” he said.  

Boyle scoffed at the suggestion there may be more pressure on Cal because the Bears likely need another win to solidify their NCAA tournament resume and the Buffaloes (22-10), with a strong RPI, may already be in.

“We both want to win this game — throw all that other stuff out the window,” Boyle said. “Cal has a hell of a coach — a Hall of Fame coach, in my opinion. They have great seniors in Justin Cobbs and Richard Solomon.

“They don’t want their season to end. They don’t want their Pac-12 first game to be their last game. We want to keep playing. That’s going to be a hell of a game.”

Guard Askia Booker had 21 points, seven rebounds and four assists for the Buffs (22-10) and all-Pac-12 center Josh Scott, after making  just one of his first 10 shots, scored on three straight possessions to help CU pull away from a 50-all tie. Scott finished with 13 points and nine rebounds.

Byron Wesley scored 23 points for the 12th-seeded Trojans (11-21).

STANFORD 74, WASHINGTON STATE 63: Chasson Randle scored 22 points to lead five Cardinal players in double digits and Stanford (20-11) advanced to Thursday’s quarterfinal against No. 3 seed Arizona State. The teams split two regular-season games.

WSU (10-21) got 25 points from DaVonte Lacy and was even at 50-all with just over 9 minutes left. But Stanford answered with a 10-0 run and mae 21 of 24 free throws to ice the win.

OREGON 88, OREGON STATE 74: The Ducks (23-8) missed their first nine shots, then made 30 of 43 the rest of the night to zoom past the Beavers (16-15).

Joseph Young had 19 points for Oregon, which will face No. 2 seed UCLA in Thursday’s quarterfinal. Jason Calliste added 17 points and Mike Moser had 13.

Angus Brandt scored 20 and Roberto Nelson 19 for the Beavers.

UTAH 67, WASHINGTON 61: Delon Wright had 15 points, seven rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocked shots, leading No. 8 seed Utah over No. 9 Washington in a first-round game.

The Utes (21-10) face top-seeded Arizona on Thursday at noon.

Washington (17-15) got 16 points from Darin Johnson and 15 from freshman Nigel Williams-Goss. Star senior C.J. Wilcox shot just 4 for 15 and scored 14 points.

*****

ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi, in his most recent NCAA projection, lists Cal as the “first team out” of the 68-team field. He has six Pac-12 teams in his bracket.

Posted on Wednesday, March 12th, 2014
Under: Basketball, Pac-12 tournament | 7 Comments »
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Basketball: Bears headed to MSG in November

Cal will join Syracuse, Texas and Iowa at the 2014 2K Sports Classic benefitting the Wounded Warrior Project, Nov. 20-21 at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Each of the four teams will host two regional round games Nov. 14-17 before trekking to NYC.

Matchups for the games at Madison Square Garden and the entire event bracket will be announced at a later date.

Tickets for the Nov. 20-21 games will go on sale Friday through ticketmaster.com.

Posted on Wednesday, March 12th, 2014
Under: Basketball, Scheduling | 4 Comments »
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Basketball: How many wins do Bears need?

Don’t expect any enlightenment from Mike Montgomery by asking how his Golden Bears fit into the NCAA tournament selection picture.

“It doesn’t make any difference what I think,” he said this week. “If I was sitting in the room and drawing brackets, `Cal’s in.’ I’m not in the room. Everybody’s going to have a different opinion.

“There’s a lot of (Pac-12) teams capable of being representative in the NCAA tournament and we’re certainly among them.”

But how close — or how far — are the 19-12 Bears to hearing their name called on Selection Sunday as they enter the Pac-12 tournament as a No. 4 seed?

What do they have to achieve, beginning Thursday when they face Colorado or USC in the semifinals at the MGM Grand Garden Arena?

This much we can be fairly sure of: Cal had better win at least once this week.

Quite possibly, the Bears need a pair of wins. That would get them into the Pac-12 tournament championship game, and require a second victory over regular-season champ Arizona in the Friday semifinals.

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Posted on Wednesday, March 12th, 2014
Under: Basketball, NCAA Tournament | 3 Comments »
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Basketball: Bears hope to keep vibe going

We’ll find out this week in Las Vegas if there was magic in a team meeting the Golden Bears held last week.

Cal’s players gathered in the locker room last Thursday, the day after a tough loss to Utah, and point guard Justin Cobbs is convinced the exchange sent the Bears in the right direction.

Two days later, they closed out the regular season with a 66-65 overtime win over Colorado, securing the No. 4 seed for this week’s Pac-12 tournament.

“I feel pretty confident,” Cobbs said. “After that meeting, I think a lot of things changed for us. Collectively as a team, we understand each other a lot more.

“We’re a lot more positive, we’re a lot more cohesive and together. That goes a long way because guys have to put egos to the side. That goes a long way on the court.”

Freshman Jordan Mathews said the give and take between teammates “sorted everything out” for a team that had lost eight of its previous 12 games.

“We have a bunch of guys who want to win,” Mathews said. “It was night and day between the Utah game and the Colorado game. It’s never too late to progress and I think we made a big jump on Saturday.”

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Posted on Tuesday, March 11th, 2014
Under: Basketball, Pac-12 tournament | 5 Comments »
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Basketball: Cobbs named to all-Pac-12 team

Cal senior point guard Justin Cobbs was named to the 10-man all-Pac-12 first team on Monday. Cobbs averages 15.6 points and is second in the conference at 5.8 assists per game.

“I don’t see how you could have a first team without Justin on there,” Cal coach Mike Montgomery said.

Senior forward Richard Solomon was an honorable mention selection.

Junior forward David Kravish earned honorable mention on the all-defensive squad and Jordan Mathews was an honorable mention all-freshman selection by the coaches.

Regular-season champion Arizona swept the major awards, with Nick Johnson earning Player of the Year, Aaron Gordon of San Jose taking Freshman of the Year and Sean Miller named Coach of the Year.

Arizona State’s Jordan Bachynski, who led the nation in blocked shots, was voted Defensive Player of the Year. Stanford’s Anthony Brown was named Most Improved Player.

Johnson and Gordon joined Cobbs on the first team, along with Jordan Adams and Kyle Anderson of UCLA, Chasson Randle and Dwight Powell of Stanford, Jahii Carson of Arizona State, Delon Wright of Utah and Josh Scott of Colorado.

Posted on Monday, March 10th, 2014
Under: Basketball, Honors | 4 Comments »
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Basketball: What do the Bears need to achieve in Las Vegas to secure NCAA tournament spot?

Asked Saturday after Cal’s 66-65 overtime win over Colorado what the Bears need to get done at the Pac-12 tournament to assure themselves a spot in the NCAA field, senior Justin Cobbs acknowledged, “I wish I could tell you.”

Then he provided the only sure-thing road map to good news from the NCAA selection committee next Sunday.

“I’d be happy if we could win it,” he said. “Right now we’re playting with a lot of confidence. Just play every game like it’s your last.”

Now 19-12, 10-8 in the Pac-12 and owner of the No. 4 (and first-round bye in the conference tournament), the Bears won for just the second time in their past six games.

They were listed among the “first teams out” of the field in CBS Sports bracketologist Jerry Palm’s Sunday projections.

Palm said he’s constantly asked this time of year, “How many conference tournament games do we have to win to get in?”

His answer: “All of them. That’s the only sure thing. Yes, fewer might do, but the only way to control your own destiny is to win them all. Otherwise, your team is at the mercy of what other teams do.”

The Bears got no help Sunday when another bubble team, Nebraska, scored a big road win over No. 9 Wisconsin. The Cornhuskers improved to 19-11 overall, 11-7 in the Big Ten with their eighth win in nine games.

So it’s not just what Cal does beginning Thursday in the Pac-12 quarterfinals. It’s how others fare also.

A lot of moving parts, and the Bears still need a bunch of them to fall into place.

Posted on Sunday, March 9th, 2014
Under: Basketball, NCAA Tournament, Pac-12 tournament | 10 Comments »
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Basketball Gutierrez makes NBA debut

Ex-Cal star Jorge Gutierrez got his first playing time in an NBA game, contributing one point and a steal in five minutes of the Brooklyn Nets’ 104-89 win over the Sacramento Kings.

Posted on Sunday, March 9th, 2014
Under: Alumni, Basketball | 2 Comments »
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Basketball: Colorado game thread

Click here for my game story.

FINAL SCORE: Cal 66, Colorado 65, OT: The Bears (19-12, 10-8) secure the No. 4 seed and first-round bye for next week’s Pac-12 tournament. The Bears will play Thursday at 2:36 p.m. at the MGM Grand, likely against Colorado. The Buffaloes earned the No. 5 seed and must beat No. 12 on Wednesday to get a rematch with Cal.

Justin Cobbs shot just 5 for 17, but made all eight of his FTs and led the Bears with 21 points. Solomon and Kravish each had 14 points and 12 rebounds. The Bears missed their final 10 shots and converted just 35 percent for the game, but blocked eight shots.

OVERTIME: We get 5 more minutes after the teams were even at 59-all. Cobbs picked up a loose ball with a couple seconds left, but his 50-foot heave missed.

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Posted on Saturday, March 8th, 2014
Under: Basketball, Gameday | 11 Comments »
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Basketball: Will Bears be ready for biggest game? `I dont want to play in the NIT’ — Justin Cobbs

* 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Haas Pavilion (Pac-12 Networks)

In their 31st game of the season, the Golden Bears (18-12, 9-8) will help determine whether they will play in the NCAA tournament two weeks from now.

 ”I’m going to be honest,” senior guard Justin Cobbs told me this week, “I don’t want to play in the NIT. That’s not my goal at all. I’ve put in so much work in these last 3-4 years. To go out in the NIT would really hurt.”

To avoid the NIT, Cal probably must beat Colorado (21-9, 10-7) in the regular-season finale for both teams.

Is this the absolute be-all, end-all game for the Bears? No.

Is there recourse if they lose to the Buffaloes? Yeah, they could win next week’s Pac-12 tournament and earn the league’s automatic berth.

Short of that? Almost certainly the NIT.

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Posted on Friday, March 7th, 2014
Under: Basketball, Gameday | 4 Comments »
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