What Happened in Vegas Has Cal Staying in Vegas: Bears shock Stanford, 63-51 in Pac-12 tournament opener

By Morris Phillips

The Cal Bears didn’t pick the best occasion to draw attention to themselves, but they drew notice nonetheless by surprising Stanford in their Pac-12 Tournament opener.

Against the backdrop of the Coronavirus, and the news of events being cancelled worldwide because of the pandemic, the tenth-seeded Bears put forth their most focused effort of the season by beating Stanford, 63-51 and doing so from beginning to end at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

“I saw a team all week that was preparing to play, and I thought we were excited to come play, and then I watched the broadcast and everyone was picking against us, I wasn’t sure if we were still in the league! But I knew our kids were ready to play,” coach Mark Fox kidded in an interview with the Pac-12 Network following the game.

The Bears took an early lead only to see the Cardinal tie the score, 17-17 with 5:29 remaining before halftime. But Paris Austin and Kareem South followed with consecutive jumpers keying a 7-0 Cal run, and the Bears maintained the lead over the game’s final 24 minutes.

The Bears advance to a quarterfinal matchup with second-seeded UCLA on Thursday while Stanford suffered a bad loss in a game they badly needed for inclusion in the NCAA Tournament.

Stanford seemed bothered by the physicality of the game, shooting just 32 percent from the floor in dropping their third, straight game. The Cardinal finish the regular season 20-12 with favorable, peripheral numbers preferred by the NCAA selection committee, but the loss leaves them squarely on the bubble. The Cardinal received an unlikely endorsement from Fox after the game.

“This league deserves to have seven teams in the NCAA Tournament. Stanford had some great wins,” Fox said.

The Bears were led by Matt Bradley and Austin with 18 points, six rebounds each. South added 15 as the Bears shot 48 percent from the floor.  Cal has won four of seven after losing seven of nine, and advanced in the conference tournament for the first time since 2017.

The Bears are expected to play the remainder of the tournament without fans attending their games as the conference announced before the Cal-Stanford game commenced that attendance to the remaining games would be severely restricted.

“We love to play in front of fans, but right now safety is the most important thing,” Austin said.

 

Cal Bears podcast with Morris Phillips: Cal faces Stanford at Pac 12 Tournament in Vegas on Wednesday

photo from oregonlive.com: California’s Joel Brown, left, drives the ball against Oregon State’s Alfred Hollins (4) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020, in Berkeley, Calif.

Cal Bears basketball podcast with Morris:

#1 Morris talk about how the Oregon State Beavers (16-13) held the Cal Bears (13-18) Matt Bradley in check to only eight points all game long in Corvallis on Saturday night?

#2 Frustrations got to Bradley later in the game when he was tossed after he was jawing with the Beavers Gianni Hunt with just 2:30 left in the game.

#3 Looking back on Feb 1st’s game against the Beavers Bradley scored 23 points to lead Cal to a win at Haas Pavilion what was the difference in that game compared to what happened Saturday night.

#4 Cal’s Austin Paris led with 18 points and Kuany Kuany followed up in second with 11 points

#5 The Bears are in Las Vegas for the Pac 12 Tournament on Wednesday night against the Stanford Cardinal (20-11) after he loss to OSU Cal head coach Mark Fox is hoping the Bears can turn it up a bit.

Morris Phillips does the Bears podcasts each Monday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

 

Beavers shut down Cal and Bradley’s game 74-56 at OSU

calbears.com photo: The Cal Bears Paris Austin who led Cal in scoring with 18 points takes the ball up court against the Oregon State Beavers on Saturday night in Corvallis

By Michael Duca and Morris Phillips

The Cal Bears (13-18) on Saturday night lost their leading offensive player in Matt Bradley to foul trouble with 2:30 left in the game after an exchange with the Oregon State Beavers (16-13) Gianni Hunt that got Bradley a technical foul. Cal also lost the contest 74-56.

Bradley scored 23 points looking back on his game against the Beavers on Feb 1st could only muster eight points last night at OSU. For the Bears Bradley has consistently put up double figures every game this season but the Beavers defense frustrated him all Saturday night to just those eight points and most likely flared him up at the end of the game to get the technical.

In the first half of the game the Beavers keyed in on him and Bradley could only get one three pointer towards the end of the half. The Bears Paris Austin finished first in scoring with 18 points followed by Kuany Kuany with 11.

Beavers seniors Tres Tinkle and Kylor Kelly who were honored in the last regular season game went out and scored a combined 43 points for Tinkle 24 points and for Kelly 19 points. Tinkle got a hug from his father OSU head coach Wayne Tinkle after Tinkle left with 51 seconds left in the game.

Michael Duca and Morris Phillips cover Cal basketball for http://www.sportsradioservice.com

NCAA Ready: Oregon displays postseason form in 90-56 rout of Cal

By Morris Phillips

Well, the Oregon Ducks and Cal Bears aren’t on the same trajectory.

While the Bears exercised their ability to stay connected to a superior opponent (without success), the Ducks’ dress rehearsal for a lengthy NCAA Tournament run looked like the real thing in Oregon’s 90-56 thrashing of Cal.

The Ducks opened with five, consecutive made shots, then went on a 21-0 run to put the game out of reach before halftime. Payton Pritchard, UO’s leader and long distance marksman led the effort with 20 points, nine assists. The Ducks regained a share of first place in the Pac-12 with the win, and they clinch a least a tie for the title in the regular season finale against Stanford on Saturday.

“The first half I really thought we really flew around and made a lot of defensive plays. And our ball movement was good and we obviously shot well at three, which gives you a big boost offensively,” coach Dana Altman said of his Ducks.

Only one word could describe Oregon’s offensive output: torrid. The Ducks shot 60 percent from the field, 70 percent from three (12 of 17), and converted 80 percent of their free throws.  The Ducks shared the ball with five players in double figures, and 18 assists on 31 made baskets.

Coach Mark Fox had hopes his team could summon its best effort after consecutive home wins, but the Bears didn’t come close.

“I was disappointed in our approach to the game, but I want to give Oregon credit. They played very well,” Fox said. “The only thing I was surprised by was our very poor start to the game.”

The 34-point margin of victory was the largest ever for Oregon in a victory over Cal. The Bears hadn’t given up at least 90 points in over a year dating back to a lopsided loss to UCLA. The Bears shot a chilly 36 percent from the floor for the game, and 33 percent in the first half, after which they trailed 46-20.

Matt Bradley led the Bears (13-17, 7-10) with 15 points, Grant Anticevich added 10.

The Bears conclude the regular season on Saturday in Corvallis against Oregon State.

Cal Bears basketball with Morris Phillips: Bears on roll after taking on tough schools head to Oregon Thursday night

calbears.com photo: The Cal Bears forward Grant Anticevich (15) takes the ball down the floor against the Utah Utes forward Timmy Allen (1) on Saturday at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley

On the Cal basketball podcast with Morris:

#1 After Cal (13-16) beat the Utah Utes on Saturday they got inspiration and also took out the Colorado Buffaloes (18-5) last Thursday teams that are both tough customers

#2 Cal’s offense went all out five players with double figures Matt Bradley 21 points, Grant Anticevich 17, Paris Austin 15, Andre Kelly 15 and Joel Brown  11.

#3 It was a hard fought game that went into overtime and it showed that a good team can come back late in the game like the Bears did

#4 The Bears struggled a good portion of the season what has lit their fire and has this team turned around?

#5 Cal heads to Oregon (22-7) to face the Ducks on Thursday night Morris sets this one up for us

Morris does Cal basketball each week at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Boot the Utes: Balanced Bears outlast Utah, 86-79 in overtime

By Morris Phillips

BERKELEY, CA–Fewer mistakes, staunch defense, more and varied contributors, the Cal Bears are starting to play better basketball.

Could they be ready to take the show on the road?

By outlasting Utah 86-79 in overtime on Saturday, the Cal Bears assured they won’t finish in the conference’s basement for the third, consecutive year. So with two regular season games and the conference tournament remaining, could the Bears..

Knock off No. 14 Oregon on Thursday, and put the Ducks conference title aspirations on hold? The Bears hadn’t won on the road, or beaten a ranked opponent. Now that they’ve done both (won at WSU, beat No. 21 Colorado) could they double down and accomplish both feats in the same game?

Sweep the Oregon schools and finish .500 in conference play? Talk about the ultimate, confidence builder, that would send the Bears into the conference tournament with a four-game win streak and momentum.

Maybe, maybe not, but by consistently elevating their play, Coach Mark Fox’s Bears have changed the discourse surrounding the program.

“I got sick of everybody telling us how bad we were going to be because I just didn’t think we would be,” Fox said. “I wasn’t going to accept that and I wasn’t going to let our team accept that. We’re not anywhere near where we want to be but the perception and the feelings about our team and this program are drastically different than what I heard all this summer.”

In beating Utah, the Bears (13-16, 7-9) had to climb off the mat twice, the second time when the Utes wiped out a six-point deficit in the game’s final minute to force overtime.

The Bears regrouped, scoring nine of the first 12 points of overtime to take control. Matt Bradley contributed six of those, the last of his team-leading 21-point performance. The Bears sealed it by making nine of their ten free throw opportunities in the extra session.

Bradley’s often excelled without help this season, but on the occasion of Senior Day at Haas Pavilion, the Cal star performed as a piece of a quartet.

Grant Anticevich had a big second half, finishing with 17 points, eight rebounds. Senior Paris Austin, who was honored before the game along with Jacob Orender, David Serge and Kareem South, contributed 15 points, four assists. And Andre Kelly had 15 points, nine rebounds and a career-best five blocks in 31 minutes off the bench.

Bradley and Kelly led the Bears to a 19-14 start to the game only to see Utah finish the half on a 14-5 run to take a lead at the break. Alfonso Plummer had nine of his 23 points for the Utes before halftime.

The Bears scored the first seven points of the second half to regain the lead. Austin’s layup put Cal up 31-28 with 18:23 remaining.

Timmy Allen led Utah with 26 points. Guard Both Gach appeared to create a three-point opportunity in the final seconds that could have given Utah the lead, but the referee waved off Gach’s bucket, ruling Austin’s foul came before the shot. With two seconds remaining, Gach made both free throws to force overtime.

With the loss, Utah (15-14, 6-11) finished 0-9 in conference road games. The Utes conclude their schedule against Colorado on Saturday at home.

The Biggest Win of the Season?: Cal handles No. 21 Colorado in season’s most significant moment yet

By Morris Phillips

BERKELEY, CA–For the rebuilding Cal Bears, every win is revelatory, and beating a Top 25 opponent for the first time this season, even more so.

In beating No. 21 Colorado with the Buffs desperate to maintain pace in the race for the top spot in the Pac-12, and just as eager to avoid a bad loss for the NCAA Tournament committee to see, the Bears truly surprised with their 76-62 win on Thursday.

They just didn’t surprise themselves or Coach Mark Fox.

“We had time to prepare, and I think guys came in with the right mentality,” Kareem South said. “I seen it in their eyes before the game that they were locked in.”

The Bears built upon their 25 minutes of credible basketball in a frustrating loss to Colorado at Boulder earlier this month by maintaining an efficient, offensive performance for 40 minutes in Thursday’s win. The key was having South as a second, elite performer to join the consistent Matt Bradley, who burned Colorado for a career-best 26 points on just 14 shots from the floor.

“Even though we didn’t close out that game, it did give us some confidence coming into this game that if we just string together a few more minutes of it, we’ll give ourselves a chance to win. And that’s what happened,” Fox said of the transition from the first meeting to the second against Colorado.

South’s 19 points on 12 shots from the field may have been his best performance of the season, and clearly his best in conference play. The graduate transfer had seen his confidence shaken by a stretch of missing 45 of his previous 58 shots over seven games. But in the first seven minutes against the Buffs, South drove the basket for two scores, then came up with a steal and a coast-to-coast layup. That sequence seemed to energize his game.

Cal’s 38-point, first half not only put them up 12 at the break, but put Colorado on skates. Their normal, offensive patience disappeared in the second half, as they looked like the unranked challenger and Cal the NCAA-bound favorite. The Buffaloes missed 17 of 20 3-point attempts after the break and never gave themselves a chance to rally. Cal protected their lead by simply playing off Colorado’s over aggressive defense, which sent the Bears to the line 17 times after the break, where they converted 13 times.

The Bears improved to 12-16, 6-9 and could clinch a spot in a winnable 8-9 quarterfinal game in the conference tournament with another win in their final three regular season contests. Utah affords them their best shot, and that comes on Saturday afternoon in the home finale.

Colorado fell to 21-8, 10-6 and the loss likely cost them any chance at winning the regular season title. They lost consecutive ballgames for the first time in conference play, and will need to string together some wins down the stretch to improve their NCAA tournament seeding. Coach Tad Boyle pointed to his team’s lack of aggressive, offensive play that has seen them attempt a paltry average of just 11 free throws over their last five ballgames.

“When you don’t make shots, you’d better figure out another way to win. That’s by getting to the foul line, which we can’t do,” Boyle admitted. “If you can’t get stops, you can’t get to the line, you can’t finish through contact, you can’t make open shots, you can’t win.”

McKinley Wright led Colorado with 18 points. Tyler Bey added 13 and Lucas Siewert had 11.

 

 

 

 

Cal Bears basketball podcast with Morris Phillips: Cal hosts Colorado Thursday night in effort to get in the win column

photo from Calbears.com

On the Cal Bears podcast with Morris:

#1 Not enough offense as you stated in the headline of your article that the Cal Bears (11-16) were stopped cold in their game in Seattle against the Washington Huskies (13-15)

#2 You always hope at least three people can shoot for double figures but Cal only had one player do that that was Matt Bradley who finished with 14

#3 For the Huskies they were draining shots all first half ending up with 43 points and sinking Cal to just only 26 points a clear indication of what was to come for the rest of the game

#4 The second half didn’t prove any more inspirational as Cal was spiraling again with only 26 points and the Huskies came up strong again with a 44 point second half.

#5 The Colorado Buffaloes (21-7) who have won three of their last five games but lost their last game which was at home are coming to Haas Pavilion Thursday night in Berkeley to face the Golden Bears could this be one of those games where Cal has a shot at bringing out some of those surprises

Morris Phillips does the Cal Bears podcasts each Monday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

52 Won’t Do: Cal goes cold, shut down by Washington in 87-52 loss at Seattle

By Morris Phillips

If we know anything about the Cal Bears, them scoring 52 points is not good.

For the sixth time this season, the Bears posted exactly 52 points on Saturday afternoon at Washington. And for the fifth time, that meant a discouraging, double-digit loss in which the team’s offense disappeared without a moment’s notice.

“We’ve had some defeats,” coach Mark Fox said of the 87-52 loss to the Huskies. “But this one was a stinker.”

The Bears led 17-11 with 11:33 remaining in the first half, then went 15 minutes spanning the halves without a bucket. Trying to subsist on free throws alone, Cal found themselves trailing 43-26 at the half. Then after the halftime break, and likely after an earful from Fox, the Bears surrendered the first 11 points of the second half to fall behind by 28.

Cal fans needing to wrap their head around something to understand the Bears’ collapse instead were presented with a statistical oddity. In trailing 54-28, the Bears had missed 21 of their 25 shots from the field, while making all 16 of their free throws, which looked good, but did little to keep them in the game. And the wildly juxtaposed numbers didn’t end there: Cal had just three assists and 12 turnovers through the game’s first 24 minutes.

After the final whistle, the numbers weren’t much better for one of Division I’s most offensively challenged teams. Cal finished with just 11 made baskets and 17 turnovers in 40 minutes of hard-to-watch basketball.

Of course, the Huskies noticed very little of Cal’s struggles. The win ended a nine-game losing streak for the Pac-12’s most confounding team, one which came into the season with two elite freshman recruits and Top 25 expectations only to beat No. 1 Baylor in the season’s first month, then go into the tank. Even with the win, UW still sits in the conference basement at 13-15, 3-12.

But all the struggles didn’t prevent them from playing well on Saturday.

“We really locked in. We were really active. Guys did a good job of being focused and aware of what we were trying to do. And they executed it,” coach Mike Hopkins said.

After the game, Hopkins’ emotions surfaced in trying to thank the Washington fans for sticking with his group. The coach hilariously ended his press conference with a hopeful message, and a theatrical drop of the microphone as he departed.

“It shows you what this place can be and is going to be. So thank you fans out there. Go Dawgs!” Hopkins said in advance of his grand exit to humored laughs from the assembled journalists.

Cal was led by Matt Bradley with 14 points, but the Bears’ leading scorer missed eight of his 11 shots from the floor. Afterwards, the Huskies revealed that limiting Bradley was their top objective. No other Bears finished in double figures, Grant Anticevich and Kuany Kuany each had 7 points.

Nahziah Carter led UW with 16 points, freshman Isaiah Stewart had 15.

The Bears finish their home schedule this week starting with a visit from Colorado on Thursday at 6pm. Utah visits Haas Pavilion on Saturday.

 

Headline Sports podcast with London Marq: Huff doubles down will attend Trump Rally after being banned at Giants celebration; Cal gets first win on the road this season; plus more

photo from larrybrownsports.com: Aubrey Huff former San Francisco Giant will not be attending the Giants 10th World Series celebration of the 2010 World Series Championship

On Headline Sports with London:

#1 Ex-San Francisco Giant Aubrey Huff who will not be invited to the Giants tenth anniversary of their 2010 World Series reunion because of sexists tweets and also tweeting his kids would need to start taking target practice in the event Sen Bernie Sanders wins and his family had to live in a social society. The Giants stated because of these remarks he will not be invited to their 10th anniversary celebration of the 2010 World’s Championship.

#2 It’s been a long strange trip but the Cal Bears finally won a road game their first for this season at Washington State the Bears hope to get another road win on Saturday at Washington

#3 The San Jose Earthquakes open up their regular season against Toronto on Sat Feb 29th. The Quakes struggled all last season and are hoping for an improved season coming up.

#4 Daytona 500 race car driver Ryan Newman recovered rather quickly considering his car flipped over on the course in a heap of flames. Newman went into the hospital in serious condition but with non life threatening injuries. He was out of the hospital on Thursday.

#5 Washington signed running back Adrian Peterson for 2020 it will be Peterson’s 14th year in the NFL.

London does Headline Sports each Wednesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com