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

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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.

Michelle Richardson on the NCAA

by Michelle Richardson

Texas 36 Oklahoma 20: These kids from Texas are literally playing for Texas head coach Mack Brown’s job and I still don’t see him being there after this year but right now that’s what their playing for, these kids are playing for Brown. There’s grumblings within the university of Longhorn nation that he is overstaying his welcome and he’s one among the senior college coaches in the nation.

He’s been with U.T. about 16 years so there’s rumblings within from alumni like Earl Campbell that maybe it’s time to have a new leader at the helm. The Red River rivalry is alive and well and the University of Texas took on the Gold Hat. They proved to be the better team Saturday and both teams had interceptions Oklahoma had two interceptions.

In those total yards the efficiency that Texas was just way more efficient with first and third downs the Longhorns converted 13-23 downs when Oklahoma converted only two of 13. You got to convert third downs into first downs. It’s kind of important to keep the ball a little bit. On passing yards there were 109 yards for Texas, rushing yards 255 yards, so Texas was doing it on the ground and in the air.

Missouri 41 Georgia 26: Missouri played like a team possessed and they really didn’t believe the hype from U.G. and they were not thrown by playing them and they were not intimidated and they went in there and they smacked Georgia around. They just smacked those guys around for Georgia they had two fumbles, two interceptions.

That is so unlike Georgia and you have the Georgia quarterback and he’s playing without a lot of weapons and half of his players are injured, running back Todd Gurley is injured and head coach Mark Richt is playing with a lack of weapons. When you start losing key players in your offense it does take control and on Saturday it showed.

It’s not because of all these Georgia players injured is the reason why Missouri won, Missouri went in there and played, Missouri went in there and just controlled that game from the Bulldogs. Missouri played really well on both sides of the ball. Total first downs yards went to Missouri quarterback James Franklin for passing yards at 170 yards and had 12 rushing yards and for Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray he threw for 25-45 for 290 yards, and three touchdowns but lost the game.

Utah 27 Stanford 21: People think just because Utah came out from the Mountain West conference they were a less team. Utah has been showing people that Utah is for real and Utah has had a lot of players who chose not to play in the Pac 12 conference that were recruited by a Pac 12 team. You have a lot of players who played with or on the side a lot of the talent that’s in the Pac 12.

Utah is in it to win it, and as far as expansion it happened to the two teams that were absorbed into the Pac 12 Colorado and Utah. Utah was definitely in the top ten and that’s what they really wanted. The Utes went in there and they were at home and they beat a undefeated Cardinal team. The Utes had 21 first downs in the game, they converted third downs, although they had only one interception Stanford had two but it was a pretty even game.

It was a game of who wanted it more and the Utes wanted it more and the good thing it wasn’t a blow out that’s the thing I love about this game that it wasn’t a blow out it was a hard fought game with Utah quarterback Travis Wilson going 23-24 for 234 yards, and two touchdowns and for Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan 15-27 for 246 yards and one touchdown.

Michelle Richardson does commentary on the NCAA each week for Sportstalk Radio