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.

49ers: Solomon Thomas capable of playing anywhere on D-line

49ers: Solomon Thomas capable of playing anywhere on D-line

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers selected defensive linemen with their top picks in the final two drafts under general manager Trent Baalke.

The 49ers fired Baalke at the conclusion of the team’s 2-14 season, and new general manager John Lynch stepped into a tear-down project.

That complete rebuild began Thursday evening with Lynch’s selection of another defensive lineman. The 49ers traded back one spot and selected Solomon Thomas of Stanford with the No. 3 overall pick.

“We see a special football player, disruptive football player, who has tremendous versatility,” Lynch said. “I think he fits in with the current group that we have because he’s a little different than the guys we have. And when I think of Solomon, I think of speed and quickness and disruption.”

The 49ers expect to play more of an aggressive, attacking style of defense under first-year coordinator Robert Saleh. Perhaps, the team’s biggest need is at the “Leo” position, the weak side end that is considered more of a pass-rusher.

Thomas appears better-suited at the other end or at a defensive tackle position, but the 49ers are keeping an open mind about using him at nearly every spot along the defensive line in the team’s new 4-3 scheme.

“There are four defensive linemen and what’s intriguing about Solomon is he has the ability to play all four of them,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “That’s what makes him so unique. That’s why I think John says he’s a little bit different than some of the guys we have, because you can move him around. He has the quickness and speed to play on the outside. He has enough sides to play on the inside, so you don’t want to put him in one spot.

“We don’t think he has to be one specific role. Obviously, he is a defensive lineman, but there’s four spots he can play at and I think that’s going to depend on down and distance, whether we’re expecting run, whether we’re expecting pass and the type of personnel we’re going against.”

Graveman delivers in front of 'Blue Moon' Odom, rest of A's can't

Graveman delivers in front of 'Blue Moon' Odom, rest of A's can't

ANAHEIM — The A’s collection of individual highlights during their visit to Angel Stadium shouldn’t have equated to a three-game sweep for their opponent.

Jesse Hahn fired eight one-hit innings Tuesday, the same night Josh Phegley delivered a pinch-hit homer in the 10th before the A’s lost in 11 innings. On Thursday, Kendall Graveman turned in perhaps the defensive play of the 2017 season by a pitcher, recording an unassisted double play that was the first by an A’s pitcher in 46 years.

All great moments to relive in the clubhouse afterward, but surely they ring a bit hollow given the final outcomes. The A’s were swept by an Angels team that, like Oakland, has been hit hard by the injury bug. Los Angeles is without key relievers Huston Street, Andrew Bailey, Cam Bedrosian and Mike Morin, not to mention starter Garrett Richards among others.

Yet the Angels pitching staff twice held the A’s to one run over the three-game series, including Thursday’s 2-1 defeat, when the A’s mustered just three hits.

“We’re a little streaky right now,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “… Give them credit, they pitched really well, and they really are down a lot of guys in the bullpen. We would expect to do a little more damage.”

They couldn’t Thursday, and that it made it tough to savor Graveman’s incredible play the way they should have.

With runners on the corners and no outs, he fielded Juan Graterol’s comebacker and caught Ben Revere in a rundown between third and home. Graveman ran him down and after applying the tag, hurdled Revere and made the tag on Cliff Pennington, who was trying to advance from first to third in the chaos.

“That’s probably the best play I’ve ever seen a pitcher make, hurdling over an (opponent) to get the second out unassisted,” Melvin said. “I didn’t even know how to put that one down on my card.”

Graveman, one of the A’s better overall athletes, was asked if he’d ever recorded an unassisted double play before.

“Never. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen one,” he said. “(Ryan) Madson said he’s never seen one and he’s watched over 2,000 games.”

Incredibly, the last A’s pitcher to pull off an unassisted double play previously was in attendance Thursday night. John “Blue Moon” Odom did it back on July 11, 1971, also against the Angels. Odom attends most of the A’s games in Anaheim, and he’s struck up a friendship with Graveman over the years.

“Every time we come here and even in spring training, I try to catch up with Blue Moon Odom and see how he’s doing,” Graveman said. “He and Wash (former A’s infield coach Ron Washington) are friends so we always cut up about Wash. He’s a great guy. He sits in the front row. He came in and saw me right before stretch and told me ‘I’m gonna be front row watching you.’ That is pretty neat that that happened.”

A’s first baseman Yonder Alonso said he’s never surprised to see Graveman make a great defensive play.

“The guy’s a pitcher, but it feels like he’s a shortstop playing the position.”

Graveman was visited by trainers after the fifth-inning play, but Melvin said it was mainly to give the pitcher a breather and let him get his adrenaline under control. Neither Graveman nor his manager revealed anything specific that bothered Graveman. Seeing him stay in the game and complete six innings of two-run ball had to be encouraging for Melvin.

“The first thing I asked him was ‘What’d you fall on?’” Melvin said. “He said, ‘My butt.’ I said, ‘Well, you’re all right then.’ But you’re not gonna see that play again probably.”

The A’s are giving their manager and fans some accomplishments to marvel over. As they move on to Houston trying to halt a four-game losing streak, they just need to figure things out on the scoreboard.