Cal trounces Stanford on rivalry night, 74-55


Cal trounces Stanford on rivalry night, 74-55


It was a rivalry game Saturday Night at Haas Pavilion between the Cal Bears and the Stanford Cardinal. Two teams ranked in the middle of the Pac-10, neither with a realistic shot at the NCAA tournament, they played for the chance to go to the NIT and to settle a personal matter.Keep in mind Stanford blew out Cal 82-68 on January 2, the teams first meeting this season. If that game was an indication of how these teams would match up Saturday, this one should have been close. It wasnt. Cal pummeled Stanford 74-55.REWIND: 2nd half surge pushes Stanford past Cal, 81-68
But it was even worse than the score indicates.Cal dominated from the opening tip. Stanford Coach Johnny Dawkins actually subbed out his entire starting lineup almost three and a half minutes into the game as Cal ran out to a quick 8-2 lead.About eight minutes in, Stanford had four points, five turnovers and a shot-clock violation. The Cardinal trailed by 15.We decided we wanted to come out and be the aggressor, Cal coach Mike Montgomery explained after the game. Cal, usually a team that plays a zone defense, befuddled Stanford with a tough man-to-man scheme.By halftime Stanford had scored 21 points, tying its third-lowest scoring output in a half all season. Stanford shot an anemic 28 from the field in the first half, making 7 of 25 shots. Stanford forward Jeremy Green made four of those field goals, and had 14 of Stanfords 21 halftime points. No other Cardinal scored more than two points in the first half.Early in the second half Stanford almost made a game of it. The Cardinal cut the deficit to nine and forced Montgomery to call a timeout. Whatever he said in the huddle must have worked, as Cal immediately went on a 14-2 run to push the lead to 21. Cal capped the run with a dramatic play in transition, as Brandon Smith hurled the ball down the court to Jorge Gutierrez, who caught it under the basket using just his left hand, and in one motion tossed the ball into the air for Allen Crabbe to slam home for two of his game-high 24 points. Timeout Stanford. Game over.We wanted to jump on them like we did UCLA (on February 20), said Cal senior center Markhuri Sanders-Frison, who had 13 points and 13 rebounds in the final regular season game of his career at Haas Pavilion.Cal improved to 17-13 overall and 10-8 in Pac-10 play. Stanford dropped to 15-15 overall and 7-11 in the Pac-10.RELATED: Pac-10 standings
The Bears earned their shot to play USC in the first round of the Pac-10 tournament on Thursday by winning four games in a row to end the season. I think 17 and ten is fabulous, Montgomery said, referring to overall wins and wins in the conference. Because the Cardinal are in the bottom four of the conference, they must play a night earlier on Wednesday.Montgomery wouldnt discuss USC yet.Well cross that bridge when we get to it, he said. I think theres a lot of people in this league that can win the tournament. I put Stanford in that group. Youve seen a number of teams settle into who they are. I include us in that group.One reporter asked Montgomery how he would describe who Cal is.Were just a gritty group of guys, said Montgomery. Allen Crabbe has developed into an awfully nice player. Hes arguably the best freshman in the conference. Hes also one of the best players in the conference. Were not going to win any glamour contest. Were a gritty group of guys and our roles are defined now.

Rewind: With another close loss, clock is ticking for Kings in 2016-17

Rewind: With another close loss, clock is ticking for Kings in 2016-17

SACRAMENTO -- Carmelo Anthony missed a pair of free throws with 2.6 seconds remaining in the Kings-Knicks game Friday evening at Golden 1 Center. DeMarcus Cousins, like he had done most of the night, gobbled up the rebound. The Kings All-Star big took a couple of dribbles and then launched a majestic 52-foot shot that was right on target.

Instead of sliding through the net to force overtime, the shot caught front iron and careened off the rim. Cousins fell to the floor, acting out the despair that so many Kings fans in attendance felt. Kings lost by a final of 103-100.

The plan was laid out by coach Dave Joerger in the first week of training camp. First learn to how compete and then learn how to win. It was always going to be a process, but after another tough loss, this time on their home floor, the Sacramento Kings are becoming the poster child for “close, but no cigar.”

“We didn’t make a shot in the last minute, minute ten seconds,” Joerger said following the game. “It’s nobody’s fault. Nobody’s trying to miss. We executed and got where we wanted.”

Sacramento got the stops they needed, although they still gave up a few tough offensive rebounds down the stretch. The game came down to their inability to finish on the offensive side of the ball.

Down one with 21.9 seconds remaining, Cousins cut through two Knick defenders and stood all alone at the basket. His two-footer somehow rolled off the rim and into the hands of the Knicks.  

With 3.9 seconds remaining and Sacramento trailing by 103-100, Rudy Gay missed a contested 3-pointer that would have tied the game. Again, no one tries to miss a game-tying shot.

You can’t ask for much more if you are Joerger. His best two players had the ball in their hands repeatedly down the stretch. They even had open looks, but sometimes the ball doesn’t bounce the way you need it to.

“It’s tough - frustrating loss,” veteran Omri Casspi said following the game. “Basically it comes down to down the stretch, making plays and knocking down shots. I felt like we had good shots, we’ve just got to make them.”

Sacramento shot just 7-of-21 from the field (33.3 percent) in the fourth quarter, but the ball movement stopped late in the fourth, especially when Ty Lawson left the game at the 5:19 mark.

The Kings did a nice job of defending the Knicks down the stretch, but it always comes down to a missed layup, a slow rotation or an offensive rebound by the opposition that does them in.

“We competed throughout the whole night, it’s just small mistakes,” Cousins said following the loss. “We’ve got to correct those or we’re going to continue to lose close games.”

The clock is ticking for Sacramento. With the loss, they have now lost four of their last five and sit at 8-14 on the season. Their schedule to-date was considered the second toughest in the NBA and it doesn’t get any easier Saturday night when they travel to Utah to take on the Jazz on the second night of a back-to-back.

“We don’t have a lot of time,” Darren Collison said. “We can’t sit there and say that we’re going to figure it out and lose these games because the West is not going to wait for us. We’ve got to be able to play - play the right way.”

It’s not all doom and gloom for the Kings. They see improvement, but they just can’t seem to get over the hump. They have been within in striking distance late in games in each of their last four losses, but the process of finishing games has been a difficult one.

“I think we’re in a good place, we’ve just got to continue to grow, keep our heads up, stay positive,” Cousins said. “I think we’ll be fine. Hate to say it, but it’s a learning curve.”

Sacramento will be tested on what they learned against the Knicks when they face a well rested, but injury riddled Jazz team that plays extremely hard under coach Quin Snyder.

Three takeaways: Labanc creating offense for Sharks

Three takeaways: Labanc creating offense for Sharks

ANAHEIM – The Sharks dropped their second in a row in regulation on Friday in Anaheim, as the Ducks moved into first place in the suddenly tight Pacific. What were the three biggest takeaways from the game? Here we go…

1 – Getting down early…again

The Sharks were surely aware that a good start was key against the Ducks, who have given up the fewest third period goals in the NHL (15). It didn’t happen, and Anaheim seized a 2-0 lead 15 minutes into the game. It was similar to what happened against Ottawa on Wednesday, when the Senators scored two goals in the first eight minutes and went on to a 4-2 win.

The Sharks managed to fight back and tie it with a strong second period, but they may have used up their energy tanks by the time the third period started, and the Ducks took back the momentum – and the two points.

“I think anybody in this league, let alone Anaheim in their home barn, it’s tough to come back,” Dylan DeMelo said. “We did a good job fighting back. It was just unfortunate that they got that one there with about five minutes left.”

Headed into Saturday’s game with Carolina, the Sharks are 11-4-0 when scoring first, and 4-7-1 when allowing the first goal.

2 – Labanc creating offense

Rookie Kevin Labanc was all around the puck even before his goal made it 2-2 in the second period. With three goals, he now has more than Joe Thornton, Joonas Donskoi, Mikkel Boedker, Melker Karlsson and Chris Tierney, in about half the games.

Does Labanc feel he can help fill the offensive void with so many players failing to produce?

“Everybody here can score goals. It’s just a matter of opportunities and getting the right bounces,” Labanc said. 

“Some guys just don’t have the right bounces going their way. We’ve just got to stay positive. I’m doing everything that I can to do what’s right for the team and to win the game. Whether it be scoring goals, blocking shots, I’ve just got to do my job and play the right way.”

You have to think Labanc is on the cusp on staying with the Sharks for the season, and with so many players just not getting it done on the scoresheet, perhaps it’s time some of his former Barracuda teammates join him on the NHL roster.

3 – Snakebitten Pavelski

Once again, Joe Pavelski had some great chances that he couldn’t cash in on, just like against Ottawa. There’s certainly no reason to worry about Pavelski's play, but had he been able to finish his opportunities against the Senators and Ducks, the Sharks could have at least gotten a point in the standings in each.

“We had some good looks. Myself, I had a bunch. Have to start putting it in the net,” Pavelski said. 

“It’s frustrating when you know a goal could change the game like that and you’re missing some good opportunities. [Have to] keep working for the next chance.”