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Basketball: Kravish seeks big finale to career

Cal senior forward David Kravish was struggling to hold onto his confidence. He was coming off a 2-for-11 shooting performance in a loss at Utah and wasn’t satisfied with his contributions to the Bears’ up-and-down season.

Then he got what he called “a nice little kick in the head moment” while on the phone with fiancé Ashton Pohlman before Cal’s game at Stanford a week ago.

“I was beating myself up and she snapped at me,” Kravish said.

“Who’s telling you not to believe in yourself?” she said. “If I was there, I’d punch you right now. You need to believe in yourself before anybody else will believe in you.”

A student at Arkansas and Kravish’s girlfriend since his junior year in high school, Pohlman apparently struck just the right note. Kravish responded with a career-high 23 points and grabbed 12 rebounds against Stanford, playing once more with the confidence he’s shown much of his career.

Kravish will play his final regular-season home game Sunday against Oregon State, joined for senior day ceremonies by Pohlman, his parents and other family and friends. For most of four seasons, he has been a model of consistency and dependability.

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Football: Cal gets commitment from 2016 safety

Cal football landed its second significant 2016 recruiting prospect in a week when four-star safety Marquel Dismuke of Compton announced via twitter he has picked the Bears over Michigan and Arizona State, among others.

A senior-to-be at Calabasas High, Dismuke is rated as the No. 11 safety in the country by Scout and No. 12 by Rivals. Both recruiting sites list him as a four-star prospect.

Dismuke, a 6-foot, 175-pounder, is the nation’s No. 190 overall prospect, according to Scout.

He joins dual-threat quarterback Armani Rogers, a three-star prospect from Hamilton High in Los Angeles, in Cal’s 2016 recruiting class. Commitments do not become binding until signing day in February 2016.

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Basketball: Oregon game thread

Cal’s hopes of derailing red-hot Oregon were undone by two basics of the game: free throws and rebounding.

The Bears got a season-high 22 points from sophomore Jabari Bird, but faltered elsewhere in an 80-69 loss in front of an announced crowd of 8,556 at Haas Pavilion.

Coach Cuonzo Martin used a four-guard lineup much of the evening and for 15 minutes the Bears got away with it, not allowing the Ducks a single offensive rebound.

But Oregon muscled up at that point and exploited the Bears inside the rest of the night, using 11 offensive rebounds to generate 15 second-chance points. The biggest of those was a 3-pointer by Dwayne Benjamin after an offensive rebound by Jalil Abdul-Bassit that pushed the Ducks’ lead to 76-67 with 3:09 left.

Cal (16-12, 6-9 Pac-12) didn’t help itself at the foul line, converting just 11 of 19 attempts. Oregon (21-8, 11-5) countered with a 17-for-20 free throw effort. During their current three-game losing streak, the Bears have missed 26 free throws, making barely 50 percent.

The Ducks, who won for the ninth time in 11 games to maintain their hold on third place, got 25 points from senior guard Joseph Young. Oregon ended a 12-game losing streak to Cal that stretched back to 2008.

Tyrone Wallace added 11 points, seven rebounds and five assists for Cal and David Kravish had 14 points.

Benjamin scored 18 and Elgin Cook had 17 for the Ducks.

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Basketball: Bears try to make it 13 in a row

A few things you’ll want to know before tonight’s game between Cal (16-11, 6-8) and Oregon (20-8, 10-5) at Haas Pavilion. Tipoff is 8 p.m. on ESPNU.

– Cal has beaten Oregon 12 straight times, perfect against the Ducks since Feb. 9, 2008. Oregon coach Dana Altman is 0-7 vs. the Bears.

– The teams are meeting for the first time this season; they played just once last year, with Cal winning 96-83 behind a career-high 32 points from Jordan Mathews, a freshman at the time.

– Cal senior forward David Kravish is coming off a career-high 23 points at Stanford.

– Kravish needs 28 rebounds to become just the third Cal player — and the first in more than 40 years – to reach 900 for his career.

– Oregon has won 20 games five seasons in a row for the first time in school history. The Ducks are 5-1 in the month of February and have won 8 of their past 10 games to move into third place in the Pac-12.

– Oregon senior guard Joseph Young is among five active players in the country who have scored more than 2,000 career points. A transfer from Houston, Young averages a Pac-12-best 19.8 points this season, including 24.0 over the past six games.

– Seven of the Ducks’ top 10 scorers are first-year members of the team, including starting freshmen forwards Dillon Brooks (12.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg) and Jordan Bell (5.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg). The 6-foot-9 Bell leads the Pac-12 with 77 blocked shots.

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Basketball: Behrens returns for Oregon game

Redshirt junior forward Christian Behrens, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his knee just 12 days ago, has practiced this week and will play Wednesday when the Bears play Oregon at Haas Pavilion.

Behrens also said he will go through Senior Day ceremonies on Sunday alongside David Kravish, with whom he entered Cal in the 2011-12 freshman class, but intends to return next season as a grad student for his final season of basketball.

Behrens, who averages 4.9 points and 3.3 rebounds and has started 15 games this season, will come off the bench against Oregon (20-8, 10-5), the Pac-12’s third-place team. But his presence as a mobile forward could help the Bears (16-11, 6-8) against a Ducks team that often plays four perimeter players.

When Behrens underwent the surgery on Feb. 13, it seemed more likely he was done for the season than could return this soon. The injury occurred the previous week during warm-ups for Cal’s game against UCLA, when Behrens said he felt something that “wasn’t right.”

An MRI showed a bone chip floating in his knee, which was easily removed in the surgery that Behrens said “was not very invasive at all.”

He is experiencing no pain and will play against Oregon.

Coach Cuonzo Martin said he had the same surgery during his career at Purdue and was out for three weeks afterward. Given the advances in sports medicine in the meantime, Martin said he is not surprised Behrens is ready.

Against the Ducks, who start just one player taller than 6-foot-6, Martin said Behrens could

”What you have is another body,” Martin said. “It’s tough when you go into games and you’re real thin. It messes up your rotation and you have to go small. He’s a (6-8) body that understands what were trying to do, a mobile body.”

Behrens said he’s committed to return next season and Martin added, “That’s the plan.”

But Behrens hasn’t yet applied for grad school, so nothing is certain.

“I’m not quite sure what grad program I want to pursue. I guess that’s something I’ll have to figure out when it happens,” he said. “Obviously, I want to stay a Golden Bear as long as I can.”

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Football: Bears get 2016 QB commitment

Cal football got its first 2016 recruiting commitment from Armani Rogers, a 6-foot-5, 200-pound dual-threat quarterback from Hamilton High in Los Angeles, according to multiple recruiting websites.

Rogers, rated as a three-star prospect by Rivals and Scout, picked Cal over offers from Utah and Colorado State and also had recent interest from UCLA.

“New #Cal commit Armani Rogers is intriguing with his size, mobility and effortless release/arm strength, reminds of a young Cam Newton,” tweeted Scout analyst Greg Biggins.

Rogers led the Hamilton Yankees to a 12-4 record and the Los Angeles City Division II championship as a junior last season. According to Rivals, he threw 28 touchdown passes with just three interceptions and ran for seven TDs.

Rogers began his high school career at Crespi High, spent his sophomore year at Culver High, then transferred to Hamilton, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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Basketball: Stanford in-game thread

Click here for my game story.

FINAL SCORE: Stanford 72, Cal 61. Kravish finished with a career-high 23 points and had 12 rebounds,  but got very little help. The senior forward shot 9 for 14. His teammates combined to go 14 for 41. Wallace added 11 points, but shot 4 for 14. Cal, which had won five of six, falls to 16-11 overall, 6-8 in the Pac-12. Stanford (17-9, 8-6) has beaten Cal five of the past six meetings, including both times this season. The Bears return to action Wednesday at home against Oregon.

5:21 2nd H: Stanford 61, Cal 52. Kravish has scored back-to-back baskets — a first for Cal this half — and the Bears are hanging in there. Kravish has 23 points, his career high.

7:51 2nd H: Stanford 60, Cal 48. It’s been over for a while now. Cal continues to fight, but Stanford has a grip on this one. Or so it seems. Stanford freshmen Humphrey and Travis have a combined 22 points and 16 rebounds.

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Basketball: What Stanford game means to Bears

* Saturday, 3:30 p.m., Pac-12 Networks

What’s at stake Saturday when Cal (16-10, 6-7) takes on Stanford (16-9, 7-6) at Maples Pavilion?

Obviously, it’s not the Pac-12 regular-season title. The Bears are tied for seventh place, five games behind co-leaders Arizona and Utah with five games to play.

And it’s not an NCAA tournament at-large bid. The Bears were No. 91 in the NCAA’s RPI rankings Friday morning. From that vantage point, they can’t see an at-large bid with a telescope.

No, what’s at play here and for the next two weeks is jockeying for seeding in the Pac-12 tournament, which begins March 11 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

The prize for those teams no longer chasing the Pac-12 is a top-four seeding, which is worth a bye for the opening round on Wednesday. The top four teams advance directly to the Thursday quarterfinals and therefore need to win just three times — not four — in order to capture the tournament and the Pac-12′s automatic NCAA bid.

A tall order, either way. But a top-four seeding puts you one game closer to the NCAAs.

So, how realistic is a top-four finish?

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Basketball: Tyrone Wallace a Cousy finalist

Cal junior Tyrone Wallace, in his first season at the position, is among 16 finalists for the Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year award.

Wallace averages 17.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists for the 16-10 Bears, who return to action Saturday at Stanford. He has posted 10 games of at least 20 points this season.

Other finalists for the award include Arizona’s T.J.McConnell, Washington’s Nigel Williams-Goss and Utah’s Delon Wright.

 

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Football: Cal schedules home/road vs. Ole Miss

Cal has scheduled a home-and-home football series against Mississippi, with the Rebels visiting Berkeley on Sept. 16, 2017.

The Bears will play the return game at Oxford, Miss., on Sept. 21, 2019.

In order to accommodate Ole Miss, Cal and Auburn have agreed to postpone their upcoming series for one year. The Bears and Tigers will meet at Auburn on Sept. 19, 2020, with the two schools playing in Berkeley on Sept. 18, 2021.