San Jose State stuns Arkansas in 31-24 road win

Photo credit: @SJSUSpartanFB

By Ana Kieu

San Jose State hit the road for the first time this season to face the Arkansas Razorbacks in a nationally televised game on SEC Network.

SJSU started on offense and got on the board first. Fifth-year senior quarterback Josh Love threw a 3-yard pass to JaQuan Blackwell for the first touchdown of the game (and on the first drive). Matt Mecurio kicked in the extra point. It was 7-0 SJSU at 12:44 of the first quarter.

The Spartan defense held the Razorbacks to a 3-and-out on their first possession. Arkansas went for it on 4th and 2 from the 4-yard line and “stuffed” so the Spartans took over on downs with 6:02 left in the first.

With his first reception as a Spartan true freshman, Isaiah Holiness went for 32 yards to the 50-yard line. However, Mercurio’s 46-yard field goal attempt was no good.

After that, Arkansas took over as they scored on a 62-yard pass play to tie the game 7-7 with 1:07 left in the first. Nick Starkel threw a 62-yard pass to Mike Woods for the touchdown. Connor Limpert kicked in the extra point.

Love attempted to hit Isaiah Hamilton on the deep ball, but it was intercepted by Arkansas, who took over at the 34-yard line with 32 seconds left in the first.

The game was tied 7-7 at the end of the first.

SJSU went on a bursting run in the second quarter. Ethan Aguayo recorded his first interception of the season and the Spartans took it back on the first play of the second. Two plays later, freshman quarterback Nick Nash ran for a 15-yard touchdown to help the Spartans regain the lead 14-7 at 14:18 of the second. Mercurio kicked in the extra point.

Mercurio hit a career-long 47-yard field goal to give the Spartans a 17-7 lead with 6:09 left in the second. Love then threw a 26-yard pass to Holiness for the touchdown. Mercurio kicked in the extra point. The Spartans led 24-7 with 1:06 left in the second and carried a 24-7 lead to the locker room at halftime.

Arkansas pulled within 14 on Limpert’s 48-yard field goal with 5:01 left in the third quarter.

SJSU led 24-10 at the end of the third.

Arkansas continued to pull closer. Starkel threw a 30-yard pass to Tyson Morris for the touchdown. Limpert kicked in the extra point. Arkansas, however, still trailed 24-17 at 13:10 of the fourth quarter.

The Spartan defense made a big stop on the third down. As a result, SJSU got the ball back on their own 44 with 9:09 left in the fourth.

The Spartans were concerned for a bit as the Razorbacks tied the game 24-24 with 2:56 left in the fourth. Starkel threw a 8-yard pass to Trey Knox for the touchdown. Limpert kicked in the extra point. But the Spartans came through at the right time when DeJon Packer ran for 19 yards for the final touchdown and Mercurio kicked in the final extra point for a 31-24 lead with 1:13 left in the fourth.

SJSU (2-1) defeated Arkansas (2-2) by a final of 31-24.

SJSU heads to Falcon Stadium to take on the Air Force Falcons on Friday, September 27 at 5 p.m. PT.

Cal Advances Into NIT Quarterfinals For First Time Since 2000 With 75-64 Win Over Arkansas

Photo Courtesy Cal Bears
Photo Courtesy Cal Bears

By Kahlil Najar

In a battle between a two and three seed, the California Golden Bears held off the feisty Arkansas Razorbacks 75 -64. Ca was led by Jabari Bird who scored 19 points and David Kravish who tossed in 13 points and snagged eight rebounds . Tyrone Wallace poure in 16 points and Senior Justin Cobbs scored 9 in his final game at Haas Pavilion. The Bears now face top-seeded SMU this Wednesday in Dallas.

The Razorbacks didn’t start strong today but came back late in the second half when they went on a 20-7 run but was ultimately stopped by the Bears. Arkansas’ Rashad Madden was the start of the night for the Razobacks as he has 15 points and five rebounds. Freshman phenom Bobby Portis started off by scoring the Razorback’s first eight points and ended with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Cal started off fast thanks to Cobbs who was controlling the tempo early and had half of Cal’s points five minutes in the game. The Razorbacks made it tight when the brought the lead down to five but then the Bears went on a 16-0 run and were up 31-8 with under five minutes left in the first half.

In the second half, the Bears were ahead by 21 points with 15 minutes left to play but then the Razorbacks got their own hot streak when they went on a 20-7 run and brought the lead all way down to eight but Cal’s  Wallace was able to make four free throws and Cobbs got a well timed basket and gave the Bears their first visit to the NIT quarterfinals in 14 years.



· With tonight’s 75-64 victory over Arkansas, the Bears have reached the NIT quarterfinals for the fourth time in school history. Cal is now 14-6 all-time in the NIT.

· Cal’s 15-point halftime lead tonight was its largest at the break since it led Furman 43-25 at halftime on Dec. 28

· The Bears shot .55.3 percent from the field, their highest clip since Jan. 18 against Washington State.


Senior Guard Justin Cobbs

· With six assists, moved into a tie with Jerome Randle for second place on Cal’s all-time list with 524 in his career

· With nine points Monday, now has 1,451 in his career. Cobbs is in 11th place on Cal’s all-time scoring list

Freshman Guard Jabari Bird

· Scored 19 points, the second-highest total of his career and most since scoring a career-high 24 vs. Oakland on Nov. 15

· Set a career-high with eight rebounds

Junior forward David Kravish

· With three blocks, now has 72 blocks this season, building on his own single-season record For his career, Kravish has 176 blocks, which ranks second in school annals.

Freshman guard Sam Singer

· Dished out a career-high five assists


Michael Duca on the NCAA

by Michael Duca

LAHAINA, Hawaii–The Golden Bears came out a little edgey in their win over Arkansas 85-77 on Monday night at the Maui Invitational, maybe they were just nervous. The combined records of these two teams in that tournament on before Monday night 30-0. So it’s hard to decide who your favoring. They had a scuffle early on in the game in the sense the Bears were not hitting shots and not making the plays that they wanted to make and it had been rehearsed all week in practice.

It was rehearsed in practice which was a long week of practice and Cal head coach Mike Montgomery said that the team pretty much forget everything they practiced for all week in the first five minutes of the game. A couple of things happened first of all they did start playing the way they were coached to play and the other one that made a huge difference in the past forward Richard Solomon had managed to collect two fouls early in the game and then sit down here Solomon collected a third foul early in the second half.

Montgomery sat Solomon down and in came Roger Moute a Bidias at forward and said to the freshman “you know how to do this I have to trust you and get out there and play” and play he did he played with three fouls for much of the rest of the game and Moute a Bidas fouled out in the final 1:10 of the game collected 11 points and had more than a dozen and half rebounds after that point and began and basically to took over the floor.

The Bears faced Syracuse on Tuesday and their best known for their two-three zone defense and they play that two-three defense better than anyone else in the country. Cal faced them in the NCAA Tournament and did not do well at all and Monty is hoping that those players can carry over because one of the reasons they did not do well is they didn’t really attack the weaknesses of that two three zone.

There aren’t that many of them because the Orange have guys that are 6’8 and 6’9 out on the wings and they make it difficult but their are seams in a two three zone. There are places where you can take the outside it’s going to be up to Cal’s front court to really take advantage penetrating that zone and hit some higher percentage shots.

This was a closer game than the tournament was last year even though they don’t have Alan Crabbe and Crabbe was probably their best outside shooter threat they’re a more veteran club despite Crabbe’s departure and with the inside presence of both Crabbe had a tremendous game and Solomon had a terrific first half on Monday night that indicates that they could play competitive against this Syracuse team.

Michael Duca covers Cal basketball for Sportstalk each week

Step up in competition? Cal’s prepared in win over Arkansas


By Morris Phillips

Ricky Kreklow has suited up and managed to play just 14 times since he transferred from Missouri to Berkley three seasons ago.  Forced to sit and watch in his transfer year, then frustrated by his nagging injuries and frustrating to the coaches who knew how his scoring ability could positively affect the team, the redshirt junior had been the missing  ingredient needed to transform the Cal Bears into one of the nation’s better offensive teams.

On Monday afternoon in Maui, Kreklow may have officially added his talents to the mix.

Kreklow boosted the Bears with a career-best 17 points as Cal pulled away in the second half in their 85-77 win over Arkansas in the Maui Invitational tournament opener.

The Bears shot 53 percent in the second half, enjoyed a healthy edge 48-32 on the glass, and trailed only twice all afternoon.  Arkansas’ final lead was 35-34 and the Bears responded with a 13-4 run in the ensuing three minutes.   The Razorbacks forced 18 turnovers but couldn’t shoot well enough—35 percent in the first half, and 37 percent for the game–to threaten Cal in the final 15 minutes.

The Bears will face No. 8 Syracuse on Tuesday in the Maui semifinals at 4pm.  No. 18 Baylor and Dayton will face off in the nightcap.  The Flyers rallied to upset No. 11 Gonzaga, 84-79.

Cal moved to 5-0 on the young season and passed their most significant test to date after wins in four matchups with teams in the bottom third of Division I.  The Razorbacks of the SEC fell to 3-1 after notable wins over SMU and Louisiana-Lafayette.

Five Bears scored in double figures led by David Kravish with 19.  Jabari Bird and Justin Cobbs added 15 points each.  Richard Solomon had 11 points, seven rebounds and two blocks in just 20 minutes of action due to foul trouble.

Michael Qualls led Arkansas with 21 points off the bench, and Bobby Portis scored five points to lead the Razorbacks’ starters.   Qualls and Anthlon Bell—who added 16 points—started Arkansas’ first three games, but came off the bench against California in a team-mandated disciplinary move.

Cal won’t see the same Orangemen that ended in their season in the NCAA tournament second round last spring.  Of Syracuse’s top scorers, only C.J. Fair remains.  Fair had 16 points and 10 rebounds in the Orangemen’s 85-77 win over Minnesota.

Cal tops Southern Utah, improves to 4-0


By Morris Phillips

Soon after the opening tip on Monday at Haas Pavilion, things went south for the Southern Utah Thunderbirds.

The Cal Bears scored the first six baskets of the game and established an early 14-0 lead.  From there, the Bears cruised to a 75-47 victory to improve to 4-0 on the young season.

“It was 12-0 before we knew it, and we had a hard time coming back from that,” SUU Coach Nick Robinson said.  “We got some good shots, but they weren’t falling for us.”

Robinson was a role player on Cal coach Mike Montgomery’s best and final teams at Stanford, graduating there in 2005.  In a short time since, Robinson has elevated himself to a Division I head coach after several stints as an assistant at various programs.

While Robinson’s rapid ascent is quite impressive, his team’s performance on Monday wasn’t.  The Thunderbirds struggled with the bigger, quicker Bears from the jump.

“We substituted a lot early,” Montgomery said.  “It seemed pretty obvious that they were outmatched.”

“They were flat-out better than we were,” Robinson said.  “(Cal) was more disciplined defensively, they did a great job on the boards, and hit open shots that we weren’t capable of hitting.”

All 13 Bears that suited up got action in the first half on Monday.  And although the frequent substitutions didn’t do much for continuity, it didn’t affect progress on the scoreboard.  The Bears led 33-10 after 15 minutes with the Thunderbirds shooting 22 percent in the first half.

Richard Solomon contributed 14 points, seven rebounds and three blocks in the win.  Tyrone Wallace had 15, and the trio of Ricky Kreklow, Jordan Mathews and David Kravish had nine each.

A.J. Hess led Southern Utah with 15 points.  The Thunderbirds shot 29 percent for the game and committed 15 turnovers.

Cal sees a jump in competition on Monday when they travel to Maui and open the Invitational against Arkansas.