Bears come up short at San Diego State 64-63

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Bears come up short at San Diego State 64-63

BOX SCORE
SAN DIEGO (APCSN) -- Playing for the first time since leading rebounder Richard Solomon was suspended, No. 24 California was outrebounded and outhustled in losing to San Diego State for the second straight season.Chase Tapley scored 25 points, including two free throws with 8.6 seconds left, and San Diego State won 64-63 on Sunday.Solomon, who was suspended indefinitely on Friday because of conduct contrary to athletic department values, is averaging 6.0 points and a team-leading 7.3 rebounds."It's not the reason we lost," Justin Cobbs said. "Richard's an important part of our team but still, we should have done what we needed to win."Tapley came up huge with his offense and defense down the stretch for the Aztecs (8-2), whose last six wins have been by four points or fewer.Tapley had a rebound with 20 seconds left and fed Jamaal Franklin, who was fouled and made both shots for a 62-58 lead. Cobbs made a layup with 9.2 seconds left before Tapley was fouled and hit both free throws to give the Aztecs a four-point lead. Allen Crabbe of the Bears (6-2) made a 3-pointer with 2.1 seconds for the final margin."Everybody got caught standing around," Crabbe said of the rebound that ended up in Tapley's hands. "It's really nobody's fault. We needed somebody to be aggressive and go get the rebound."SDSU outrebounded Cal 37-35 and outshot the Golden Bears 43.4 percent to 40 percent."We didn't rebound the ball well and we didn't shoot the ball well," Cobbs said. "We're a better shooting team than that. Sometimes the ball doesn't go in and you have to do a better job on the defensive end."The Aztecs made 9 of 10 free throws over the final 2:21. Tapley had 10 of SDSU's final 21 points.San Diego State beat California 77-57 last season in Berkeley. This was San Diego State's second win against a ranked Pac-12 team this season and its third overall against the more glamorous conference. The Aztecs beat then-No. 23 Arizona 61-57 at Tucson on Nov. 23. They also beat USC 56-54 at home on Nov. 17."This was terrific. But we expected to win. We thought we would win. We thought we were the better team, and I think that's significant, also," said coach Steve Fisher, whose Aztecs were ranked in The Associated Press' Top 25 all last season but have yet to crack this season's poll. The Aztecs were coming off an 85-83 home loss to Creighton on Wednesday night in which they blew an 18-point first-half lead."It's a crazy game that we play," Fisher said. "I remember the feeling I had after Creighton, and we played every bit as hard as we did today. But today we found a way to make one extra play, one more play, and be euphoric as we raced to the locker room. This was a really great win for us. To a man, everybody who played made plays that won for us."Crabbe scored 23 points and Cobbs had 17 for the Golden Bears.Cal led only once in the second half, 51-50, after Crabbe's layup with 6:31 left.On Cal's next possession, Tapley intercepted Cobb's alley-oop pass on a 3-on-1 break, then went down the court and made a layup for a 52-51 lead with 5:50 to go.The Aztecs stayed in front the rest of the way."Was that ever sensational?" Fisher said. "Chase has done a phenomenal job of anticipation, alertness, experience, setting people up. It's almost like he baited that play to be made. He got down low, knowing that he was going to tease him to try to throw the lob. Made a phenomenal play."Tapley said the Aztecs needed something to happen then."My first instinct was try to get a foul without getting an intentional foul," Tapley said. "I said, Hey, you know what, why don't you just get a steal.' So I backed up, saw he was about to throw it, looked into his eyes, and as soon as it left his hands I jumped and tipped the ball and I went down and tried to score."Cobbs missed shots on consecutive possessions, including a coast-to-coast attempt when he fell to the court and remained there while Franklin got the rebound. Tapley finished that possession with a 17-foot jumper for a 55-51 lead with 4:20 left. Cobbs was hurt on the play and had to be helped to the bench.Crabbe then hit a 3-pointer for Cal.The Aztecs went on an 8-0 run to close the first half and take a 33-25 lead. James Rahon had consecutive jumpers before Tapley had a steal and a layup. Franklin made two free throws to finish he run.Cal erased most of that deficit in the first two minutes of the second half when Gutierrez made a bank shot and Cobbs hit a 3-pointer.After Cal tied it at 40 on David Kravish's jumper, Xavier Thames hit a 3-pointer for SDSU.The Bears return home to take on San Jose State (127), Jackson State (1211), Weber State (1216) and Santa Barbara (1219) before they travel to Las Vegas to take on a difficult UNLV squad on Dec. 23.

If he takes Baylor job, Dykes will be graded harshly, his reputation at risk

If he takes Baylor job, Dykes will be graded harshly, his reputation at risk

Sonny Dykes, the defense-resistant head coach at California, is being hailed as not only the top candidate but the best fit for the vacated job at Baylor, which has been rendered an ethical cesspool by its repellent organizational dealings regarding a series of sexual assaults associated with the football program.

And good on him, if he wants to go, this being America and all. Cal probably won’t put up an enormous fight to retain him, and if he wants to return to his Texas roots, run a higher profile program in a more dynamic football conference, well, you can’t hate a man for climbing.

But this isn’t just a football job any more, and Dykes has to understand that treating it that way would represent failure.

Now Dykes could try to do as Jim Grobe, the interim coach who decided he didn’t want to keep the job, did, and try to keep a laser-like focus on the football. It is the safe thing to do, especially in a state in which football is more important than oil, spring football and even the daily insanity of its politics.

But Baylor has been a mess for too long as a result of its persistent mishandling and non-handling of the sexual assault scandal. It has become the touchstone by which the university is regarded, by outsiders, students and even present and potential football players. Baylor football may well be toxic for the next few years on a number of levels, and the only way for Dykes, or anyone else for that matter, to take the job and make it worth holding is to make transparency and zero tolerance the most important pillars of any new administration.

Business as usual just won’t cut it. Baylor has been crushed for business as usual.

So if Sonny Dykes is ready to meet that challenge in addition to the Oklahomas and Texas Techs and Kansas States that actually determine his employment, then by all means he has to rebuild trust in a school he has never worked at before. He has to clean up what he can of a colossal institutional mess. He has to make Baylor cleaner than clean, in face, in word and in deed.

Lack of naivete prevents us from ignoring the real reason he would be hired. He is being hired to win football games, and will be judged ultimately on that singular skill.

But to get into recruits’ homes, he has to show a devotion to be different than Baylor’s reputation. He has to repudiate some of the Art Briles era without doing it so stridently that he chases players away. He has to repudiate the culture of an administration that has been devoted then and now to keeping prying eyes away from their willingness to protect the brand at the cost of student safety. He has to be Forrest Gregg after the SMU death penalty of the 1980s, only he has to win quicker than Gregg because Gregg was hired to clean up SMU’s recruiting scandal while Baylor will have hired Dykes only to coach and mind his business.

And frankly, this seems like the type of task that will not serve Dykes well.

He will be pestered about a past that isn’t his, and “I’m sorry, I’m only here to talk about the future” answers won’t do. He will be nagged about the disarray of the program after the recruiting pipelines Briles created collapsed, and “We’re very happy with our class” declarations will ring hollow. He will be scrutinized for his decisions, and any player of his who falls afoul of either the law or human decency will label as part of the problem rather than the solution. His reputation is at risk here, and mistakes will be graded harshly.

Oh, and given the circumstances, his record will not immediately glow.

So maybe Baylor isn’t the job for him after all. Only he can know that, and only he can decide what job is the one for him. It’s pretty clear he is looking around for something a little less Cal, and while Baylor may not be the gem it once was, he may decide that home is too strong a lure, and fall in love with the idea of being the guy who steers the program out of its current shame and back atop the always disputatious Big 12 Conference.

Just so he knows what he’s in for if the rumors turn out to be true.
 

No. 12 Saint Mary's rides Hermanson's hot hand past Stanford

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USATSI

No. 12 Saint Mary's rides Hermanson's hot hand past Stanford

STANFORD -- Randy Bennett envisioned how good his team might be a month into the season, and then a month after that comes conference play, once Saint Mary's got everybody healthy and roles defined.

The 16th-year coach already realizes this group could emerge as one of his best yet - and he has had some talented teams tucked away in the East Bay hills.

"It's up there. We'll see," he said. "Potentially, yeah. Potentially we could be. We have to do it."

Even if he had to give the Gaels a little lecture about playing defense during halftime. They responded by running away from Stanford in the second half, with Calvin Hermanson scoring a career-high 25 points and knocking down a career-best seven 3-pointers in No. 12 Saint Mary's 66-51 win Wednesday night to stay unbeaten.

"I wasn't too happy with how we defended in the first half. I didn't think we played hard or smart defensively," Bennett said. "We missed shots but I wasn't worried about that. We can shoot. We just have too many good shooters."

Jock Landale had 13 points and eight rebounds while playing in foul trouble for the sharp-passing Gaels (6-0), who got eight assists from Emmett Naar and six from Joe Rahon.

Grant Verhoeven scored 12 points and Robert Cartwright added 10 for Stanford (6-2), which under first-year coach Jerod Haase is off to its best start in five seasons. The Cardinal began 10-1 in 2011-12.

Hermanson hit five of his 3s in the second half.

"We've got a lot of good shooters on this team and Calvin's one of the best ones," Rahon said. "It was an awesome show he put on at both ends of the floor tonight."

After Stanford pulled within 48-45 on two free throws by Cartwright, Hermanson and Kyle Clark hit consecutive 3-pointers and Saint Mary's took off with a 16-3 run.

Saint Mary's opened the second half on a 12-0 run, getting two quick layups from Landale and Naar's 3-pointer for a 38-30 lead at the 15:36 mark as Stanford missed its first seven shots after intermission. Sheffield hit a jumper at 15:14 for Stanford's first points.

The Gaels needed a strong start after the break to keep its impressive early record unblemished. The teams finished even on rebounds with 29 apiece, but Stanford went 3 for 12 from beyond the arc and shot 38.2 percent for the game to 55.1 percent by Saint Mary's.

"It's every coach's dream to have that many shooters and that many great passers on the floor at the same time. It's hard to guard it all," Haase said, noting, "They came out more enthused than we did."

Saint Mary's won its first five games by an average of 18 points. The Gaels are picked to win the West Coast Conference after sharing the regular-season title last season with perennial power Gonzaga.

The Cardinal, who lost 78-61 on Saint Mary's home floor in McKeon Pavilion last year, then hung tough until the Gaels' barrage of late 3s - and 11 of 27 from long range overall, 7 of 9 by Hermanson.

BIG TIP-INS

Saint Mary's: The defense held Stanford to 21 second-half points. ... Landale made 6 of 8 shots and is now 51 for 67 - a 76 percent clip. ... The Gaels had 21 assists on 27 baskets, giving them 120 assists on 176 field goals this season.

Stanford: Warriors owner and Stanford fan Joe Lacob sat courtside. ... Haase is 2-9 all-time against ranked opponents. ... The Cardinal dropped to 183-81 all-time against current members of the WCC. This was the first visit by a WCC team to Maples Pavilion since a win over Loyola Marymount on Dec. 17, 2014.

BAY AREA RIVALRY

This marked the 57th meeting between the programs.

Bennett always hopes to keep these series against Pac-12 neighbors Cal and Stanford going for his mid-major program.

"I appreciate Stanford playing us in this home and home. It's great for Bay Area basketball," Bennett said.

Haase is open-minded, too, if the scheduling works.

"I think it's good for the Bay Area," he said. "It's absolutely on the table and we'll continue dialogue."

UP NEXT

Saint Mary's: The Gaels have a lengthy layoff before hosting University of Texas at Arlington on Dec. 8.

Stanford: The Cardinal face back-to-back ranked opponents, traveling to face Haase's old Kansas team - ranked fourth - on Saturday.