Cal Bears Podcast with Michael Duca and Morris Phillips: Cal trying to put bad taste of Portland State behind them; Stanford up next at the Farm

AP File: California guard Don Coleman (14) scored 19 points brings the ball up court during NCAA Men’s Basketball game between Portland State Vikings and California Golden Bears 81-106 lost at Hass Pavilion Berkeley Calif. Thurman James / CSM (Cal Sport Media via AP Images)

By Michael Duca and Morris Phillips

BERKELEY–The game that Portland State and Cal played on Thursday, December 21st at Haas Pavilion wound up as a Vikings’ 106-81 win. Before that game, the Bears who were on a two game streak were looking good and making some progress they were getting better each time out they pulled themselves to a .500 record at 6-6. Then they laid a whole clutch of eggs right before Christmas time.

It’s almost as if they went out and scheduled mid majors that were guaranteed to shock assessing the case of Portland State and Central Arkansas who the Bears hosted in Berkeley these are good teams. It’s just not pigeonholed into some kind of fodder for a power five conference team. So Cal got the brunt of that. The unfortunate thing is they got the brunt of it at home, in the first half, in the first 10 minutes of the game. The Bears simply struggled against this opponent.

Morris and Michael have much more on the Cal Bears Basketball Podcast and each week at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Quarterbacks on display in Foster Farms Bowl; Boilermakers’ Elijah Sindelar vs. Wildcats’ Khalil Tate

AP File Photo: Arizona Wildcats quarterback Khalil Tate (14) looks to pass just out of reach of Arizona State Sun Devils linebacker Alani Latu (44) during the college football game between the Arizona Wildcats and the Arizona State Sun Devils on November 25, 2017 at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)

By Jeremy Kahn

SAN FRANCISCO — When the Arizona Wildcats and the Purdue Boilermakers meet in the Foster Farms at Levi’s Stadium, it is going to be a good one.

The one player that the Boilermakers will be keying on will be Wildcats quarterback Khalil Tate, who is now a candidate for the Heisman Trophy in 2018.

Tate played little in the first four games of the season, as he rushed for 86 yards and passed for 41 yards. Once he finally got on the field as a starter against the Colorado Buffaloes in week 5, Tate went nuts.

In that game, Tate ran for 327 yards and went 12-of-13 for 154 yards passing with a touchdown and did not throw an interception in a huge 45-42 Wildcats victory.

Over the next five games, Tate continued his torrid pace, as he rushed for a total of 1,207 yards in those six games and the Wildcats went 5-1 during that stretch.

Unfortunately, the season did not end well for Tate, as the Wildcats ended up losing their last two games and fell out of the Pac-12 South race.

On the other sideline, this is the first season for head coach Jeff Brohm, who actually played for the San Francisco 49ers in the late 1990s.

Brohm led the Boilermakers to a 6-6 record and 4-5 in the Big Ten. The Boilermakers won their final two games just to get bowl-eligible for the first time since the 2012 season.

Like the Wildcats, the Boilermakers changed quarterbacks. However, it was due to an injury to David Blough, who was sharing the position with Elijah Sindelar.

Blough suffered a season-ending ankle injury on November 4. Brohm turned the reins and quarterback position over to Sindelar. Over the final three games of the season, the Boilermakers won two of them, including a win over the Iowa Hawkeyes, who were ranked 25th at the time. Sindelar threw seven touchdowns and one interception in those final three games.

Markell Jones finally got the running game, as he rushed for 217 yards in a huge win over the Indiana Hoosiers.

Not in Kansas anymore: Stanford looking for answers after lopsided 75-54 loss to Jayhawks

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Kansas’ Svi Mykhailiuk gets to the rim against Stanford in the Jayhawks’ 75-54 victory at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, CA (Photos courtesy of Jordan Chapin)

By Morris Phillips

SACRAMENTO–Seventeen seconds into Thursday night’s contest, Kansas’ 7’0″ Udoka Azubuike cruised to the rim for an emphatic dunk.  Six minutes later and after a pair of missed shots, Stanford’s leading scorer, Reid Travis responded with a far less attention-grabbing layup.

The timing and impact of the two baskets said it all: Kansas locked in from the start, cruising to a 75-54 victory, while Stanford spent the evening searching for answers to questions that might not find answers until after the Cardinal return home from Sacramento.

In front of a Golden 1 Center crowd that was heavily populated with Kansas supporters and reigning National Player of the Year Frank Mason, now with the Sacramento Kings, the Jayhawks put an end to their issues with Pac-12 schools in one swift act. Normally dominant, Kansas had suffered losses to Arizona State and Washington earlier this month, and a shocking defeat to Oregon in last season’s NCAA Elite Eight at Kansas City. All three losses suggested that the national powerhouse from the Big 12 had slipped.  Dominating Stanford on Thursday said just the opposite.

Simply, said Kansas’ Devonte’ Graham, “We didn’t allow them to play well.”

Graham’s stern pronouncement stemmed from Kansas’ determination to get Stanford’s leading scorer stopped in his tracks. Travis, who scored 29 points last season at Kansas, and equaled that number (his career high) in the Cardinal’s previous game against USF, had a quiet night, scoring just 12 points, well off his 22.5 ppg average.  The Jayhawks rotated a trio of big guards on Travis, all at least two inches shorter and 50 pounds lighter than the Stanford star. The quicker Kansas defenders kept Travis from driving. When Travis moved inside, he got attention from everywhere, including the shot blocking Azubuike.

“We did a good job considering how small we were guarding him,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “I didn’t think our pressure was very good. We limited his opportunities to get to the glass.”

Most telling was the length of time that it took Travis to get the first of his five baskets. Against USF, Travis scored Stanford’s first eight points of the game. On Thursday, the ball was forced from his hands to his less steady teammates.  And without his usual scoring, Travis struggled at the foul line (1 of 3) and on the glass (4 rebounds).

Meanwhile, Azubuike shot 12 of 15, while leading Kansas’ dunk parade (a Kansas beat writer estimated that the Jayhawks had 13 dunks in the game) and playing off his far more offensively-savvy teammates to perfection. The sophomore from Nigeria whose serious pursuit of a basketball career began in the ninth grade, only slightly improved his shooting percentage from the floor from 77.6 percent to 77.9. Kansas shot 52.5 percent for the game, slight above their average which ranks fourth nationally.  Not surprisingly, Azubuike’s gaudy shooting percentage ranks number one nationally.

“We didn’t have an answer to be able to stop him, but that lies on my shoulders,” Stanford coach Jerod Haase said of his team’s plan to limit Azubuike. “It was a conscious decision on our part to try and take away as many three-point shots and neutralize the four perimeter players out there as much as possible. That left Mike (Humphrey) and Josh (Sharma) on an island a little bit.”

Stanford again played without much-needed wing players Dorian Pickens and Marcus Sheffield, who are injured, and their absence showed in their less experienced teammates’ statistics.  The Cardinal’s three freshman, starters Daejon Davis and Oscar Da Silva along with top reserve Isaac White, combined to miss 13 of their 15 shots.  A fourth freshman, Kezie Okpala, made his Stanford debut against Kansas after missing the first 12 games due to academic issues, and gave the Cardinal a shot of energy with his length and defense.  But Okpala’s contribution ended there: he also struggled with his shot, missing six of his eight attempts.

The Cardinal shot a chilly 34 percent for the game, which was prominently posted on the gigantic Golden 1 Center video board for all to see.  They shot just 30 percent in the second half, and when they reduced their 20-point halftime deficit to 15 on two occasions, little else positive transpired other than the game’s final horn.

Unless you credit the heavy Kansas contingent, who stole the show during timeouts with their KissCam and DanceCam performances. Mason, who Self said has really impressed the Kings’ coaching staff both on and off the floor, sat courtside and did his bit to fire up the crowd during timeouts, shooting halfcourt shots at halftime, and tossing giveaway t-shirts into the crowd. Travis swore the Kansas presence didn’t affect him or his teammates. Graham, who had 14 points and six assists, felt just the opposite.

“Shout out to Jayhawk nation,” Graham said. “They supported us well. It felt like a home game for us. It was a great atmosphere.”

Michael Humphrey led Stanford with 20 points and seven rebounds.

The Cardinal return from a Christmas break on December 30, when they will host California in the Pac-12 opener.

Cal Bears fall to Portland State Vikings 106-81 before Christmas

Photo: @CalMBBall

By Alexandra Evans

BERKELEY—The California Golden Bears (6-6) faced their last out-of-conference opponent, the Portland State Vikings (9-3), who defeated them 106-81 at Haas Pavilion on Thursday evening. 

The first half started off slow for the Golden Bears effective immediately. Within the first two minutes, the team was down by nine points. At the halfway point, they were down 13. With six minutes left, McNeill, Deschon Winston, and Marcus Lee brought the Bears’ score to 24. At that point, PSU had 39 points, but Cal was no longer trailing by more than half their score. That did not last long, as PSU brought their lead up to double Cal’s score (48-24) with 3:40 remaining. At the end of the first 20 minutes, PSU led Cal 56-37. There were few moments where Cal trailed by fewer than 20 points, and no Bears players made any three-pointers in the first half.

Cal was evidently determined to pick things up as the second half commenced, but PSU was just unstoppable. Six minutes in, the Vikings brought their score up by 16 points, compared to the Bears’ eight-point increase, for a score of 72-45. PSU held their 20+ point lead over Cal through the entire second half, even knocking on a 30-point lead here and there. With three and a half minutes left, Bryce Canda made a three-pointer to bring PSU’s score to an even 100, while Cal still trailed with 74 points. This was the first time in nearly seven years (since February 10, 2011 against the University of Washington) that the Bears allowed 100 points in a single game.

Don Coleman led the Bears in points tonight with 19, the seventh time he has exceeded the team this season, and the 12th time in 13 games, he has hit double digits in points. Winston tallied 10 points, a career-peak, and Nick Hamilton made five rebounds, which was a career-peak for him.

Next, the Cal Bears will face their conference rival, the Stanford Cardinal, in Palo Alto on Saturday, December 30. Stay tuned for coverage from me that night!

Cal Bears Mens Basketball Podcast: Morris Phillips and Michael Duca discuss Cal’s shocking win at San Diego State

Photo credit: San Diego Union Tribune

On the Cal Men’s basketball podcast with Morris & Michael:

The Cal Bears in their last contest at San Deigo State University last Saturday led for most of that game in which Cal won it 62-61 and the game with Central Arkansas that was played on Wednesday, December 6th at Cal in which Central Arkansas won by a convincing margin 96-69. Central Arkansas did catch UCLA coming back from China with the shoplifting incident and took them to overtime in Pauley Pavilion and lost 106-101.

You have to consider them capable even when their not playing Cal, but on Cal’s part, they went to San Diego and won, led most of the game and put up with boisterous Viejas Arena. The Bears own offense efficiency so far this year is really surprising the one thing that wasn’t surprising that happened on Saturday in San Diego and the Bears were able to put up that 13 point lead with 13 minutes to go in the game. Things got really tough for them and they went 12 full minutes and scored five points and only rescued themselves by scoring the last five points of the game.

Cal host Cal State Fullerton Saturday at 1:00PM at Haas Pavilion.

Morris does the Cal Bears basketball podcast each Monday and then Tuesday nights with Michael Duca at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Long Beach State rallies to upend Cardinal 76-68

Photo credit: Stanford Cardinal

By Daniel Dullum
Sports Radio Service
Sunday, December 3, 2017

Despite the efforts of junior Reid Travis, the Stanford Cardinal dropped a 78-66 men’s basketball decision to the Long Beach State 49ers Sunday in a non-conference game at Walter Pyramid.

Travis posted his third double-double of the season, scoring a game-high 26 points and pulling down 11 rebounds. It was the seventh time Travis has topped the 20-point mark this season, scoring 18 of his points in the second half.

Stanford (4-6) led by as many as five points midway through the second half before the 49ers (4-6) rallied to take the lead with eight minutes to play.

Travis scored eight straight points to pull the Cardinal to within 62-61 at 3:21 of the second half. Long Beach State responded with an 8-0 run in the final three minutes, scoring 14 of the game’s last 21 points.

Jordan Griffin scored eight straight points during the 49ers game-clinching run. Griffin led LBSU with 21 points, followed by Bryan Alberts (15), Gave Levin (13) and Deishaun Booker (13).

Freshman Isaac White added 17 points for the Cardinal, and senior Michael Humphrey had 13 points and six rebounds.

The 49ers scored 17 points off 17 Stanford turnovers. LBSU outshot the Cardinal 51 percent (28-55) to 49 percent (28 of 57, 6-19 3-pointers), including 45 percent from 3-point range (10 of 22).

At the free throw line, LBSU hit 63 percent from the stripe (10 of 16), while Stanford was 60 percent (6 of 10).

The Cardinal held a 37-24 rebounding edge and collected five steals.

After a break for final exams, the Cardinal return to action on Friday, Dec. 19, hosting the Denver Pioneers at 7 p.m. PST at Maples Pavilion.

Stanford bounces back with 70-54 win over Montana

Photo credit: @StanfordMBB

By London Marq

PALO ALTO — Back at home, the Stanford Cardinal looked to get back into the win column after losing four games straight at home and on the road. The well-respected Montana Grizzlies traveled to Maples Pavilion with the hopes of handing the Cardinal another loss. Stanford comes into this game looking to play at an efficient level as they are still short handed due to injuries and only declared eight men for the game.

Cardinal Star forward Reid Travis was a monster as he poured in 20 points and snagged nine rebounds. He was dominant around the hoop, taking advantage of the good ball movement. He kept Stanford in the game early when things were not looking pretty.

Freshman Daejon Davis from Seattle also had a solid game for the Cardinal. He showed of his agility, speed, and versatility slicing to the basket. He scored 17 points with four assists and five rebounds. He’s another young piece that has shown a high level of talent, like the Australian-born Isaac White, that Stanford acquired this past offseason.

Stanford would close the game out with dominance, going on a 26-4 run over the last 10 minutes of the game. Their next game is against Long Beach State in Southern California where they will hope to improve on this impressive bounce back game.

Final: Stanford def. Montana 70-54

OSU Buckeyes overthrow Cardinal 79-70 in 2nd round of PK80

Ohio State University forward Keita Bates-Diop (33) tries to dribble around Stanford University forward Michael Humphrey (10) in a college basketball game during the PK80-Phil Knight Invitational between the Stanford Cardinal and Ohio State Buckeyes on November 24, 2017, at Moda Center in Portland, OR. (Photo by Brian Murphy/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)

By Alexandra Evans

The Stanford Cardinal men’s basketball team returned to the court at the Moda Center to face the Ohio State Buckeyes in the second round of the PK80 Invitational tournament in Portland but it was all for not as the Buckeyes got a nine point victory over the Cardinal at 79-70.

OSU exceeded Stanford for the first eight minutes until Reid Travis took a shot to give them a 7-6 lead. The Cardinal would keep their lead over the Buckeyes for the remainder of the half, until the last 45 seconds when OSU made a three pointer to tie the score 32-32.

The Buckeyes then managed to come back and keep a lead over the Cardinal, which gradually increased as the second half progressed. The closest Stanford came to catching OSU was after Oscar da Silva jumped to make a basket, putting the score at 70-65 with 45 seconds left.

OSU, now 5-1, put up a 79-71 win and will go on to face Butler University in the finals.

Stanford freshman Daejon Davis put up a career-high 15 points before fouling out of the match in the second half; Travis (who also fouled out) and da Silva tied for second with 14 points each.

“One thing I liked best, when I looked into their eyes, I didn’t feel a sense of defeat at any point. There was a belief and a confidence that we were going to find a way to get it done,” Jerod Haase, Stanford’s coach, said following the match.

Stanford is now 3-4 and prepared to make a comeback this Sunday (their opponent is TBD).

North Carolina Walks Easy, Rout Stanford 96-72

Photo credit: @StanfordMBB

By London Marq

PALO ALTO–It was a packed house in Palo Alto as the #9 ranked North Carolina Tar Heels came in into Maples Pavilion with the first sellout crowd since 2015. With a 3-1 record entering play, the Stanford Cardinal were looking to keep this one competitive with the 2-0 Tar Heels. The Tar Heels were in control from the tip and defeated the Cardinal 96-72 Monday night.

The first period was a blur of scoring. The Cardinal sprang out of the gate, garnering an 11-6 lead–just the start they were hoping for. The Tar Heels came back with a haymaker, going on a 24-to-4 scoring run. Kenny Williams of North Carolina was on fire, scoring his team’s first five baskets. Williams was 7-11 from the floor, including six made from downtown for the night. The short-staffed Cardinal wouldn’t bounce back after that and would go into halftime down by 14 (50-36).

In the second half, it was a sprint to the finish for the Tar Heels. Joel Berry would leave the court with 29 points for North Carolina. Reid Travis and Isaac White would do their best to defend home court with 21 and 20 points, respectively. The Cardinal will be looking to retrieve their injured players Marcus Sheffield and Dorian Pickens soon in order to remain competitive this season.

Cardinal coach Jerod Haase is now 1-3 against his former coach, Tar Heels coach Roy Williams. Haase played for Williams at Kansas and coached under him in North Carolina. Hopefully some of the winning spirit will go with Haase and company into their next matchup against #8 Florida this Thanksgiving Thursday.

Final: #9 North Carolina defeated Stanford 96-72.

Cal speeds up the pace in exhibition win over University of Providence

Photo credit: @CalMBBall

By Morris Phillips

BERKELEY, CA — Size and athleticism were in abundant display for the Cal Bears in their exhibition debut victory over University of Providence.

Kingsley Okoroh, one of the few familiar faces in the Cal lineup, led the way with a triple-double (14 points, 10 rebounds and 10 blocks). Kentucky transfer Marcus Lee joined Okoroh in the team’s twin towers starting lineup and contributed 17 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks.

Returning guard Don Coleman led Cal in scoring with 20 points.

New coach Wyking Jones, an assistant under former head coach Cuonzo Martin had the Bears playing a more uptempo style including a frequent, full court press. The Bears held the Argonauts to just 22 percent shooting in the first half in which they established a 44-24 halftime lead.

Providence’s shooting picked up slightly in the second half and the Bears cruised to a 81-52 victory. Deontae Woodbridge led Providence with 13 points but missed eight of his 12 shots from the field.

The Bears were picked to finish 11th in a Pac-12 pre-season poll, a nod to all the personnel and coaching changes on a team that has seven freshmen and a junior transfer, Jacob Orender.

The Bears official season opener comes on Friday night against UC Riverside at 9pm at Haas Pavilion.