CCSF Rams pull off wild comeback over DVC in opener


CCSF Rams pull off wild comeback over DVC in opener

SAN FRANCISCO -- The reigning 2011 City College National Champions from San Francisco began their 2012 title defense facing the Diablo Valley College Vikings, and after a wild second half, the Rams were able to extend their unbeaten streak to 13 games with a thrilling 48-41 overtime victory at home Saturday.

The CCSF Rams were 12-0 last year, and their only loss in an 11-1 2010 campaign came in their final game of the season -- the National Championship game.

Their undefeated 2012 season, however, was in jeopardy in their opener. Trailing DVC 41-27 in the second half, and frustrated with poor execution and an excess of penalties, CCSF began their comeback.

In the fourth quarter, San Francisco starting quarterback and Berkeley native Andrew Spivey rolled left, just as he had the play prior. But this time, he stopped, rotated and threw across his body, barely getting the long throw to receiver J.J. Hudson in the front corner of the end zone. Place kicker Matthew Vultaggio's extra point made it 41-34.

The defense, led by linebacker and team captain Tyrone Ward, quickly put a stop to the subsequent Vikings drive. Punting from their own end, DVC made a critical mistake, hiking the ball high over the punter and all the way back to the three-yard line, where Spivey punched it in for the game-tying touchdown.

Spivey finished 29-for-52 for 465 yards, six touchdowns through the air and the one game-tying touchdown on the ground.

"In his debut as a starter, Spivey was very impressive," CCSF quarterbacks coach and Marin County native Jim Collins said, "He threw the ball well and made good decisions. The more pressure-packed the situation, the more he thrived. And he showed tremendous leadership qualities on the field and on the sideline."

DVC got the ball late with a chance to march down the field and take the lead, but the Rams defense came up big.

Ward put a loud hit on Vikings quarterback Quinn Kaehler. And a few plays later on second and fifteen, Kaehler, who finished the game with over 450 yards through the air, rolled out to his right with time. Maybe he was feeling the affects of Ward's hit, because his ball down the right sideline fluttered and hung up in the air for safety Broughan Jantz to pull down for the interception.

The athletic play put his offense on their own 12-yard line with 1:46 left in a 41-41 tie game.

It was time for one of San Francisco's premier prospects -- wide receiver Kyani Harris -- to take over.

"Kyani is a tremendous physical talent with an exceptional understanding of offensive football," Collins said. "Most of his plays required him to make a choice after the ball was snapped, and he made the right decisions and executed them for us each time."

Spivey hooked up with Harris four times for 55 yards during the final regulation drive, and downed the ball at the 11-yard line with seven seconds remaining.

They were seven long seconds.

Placekicker Matthew Vultaggio, who had a field goal blocked before dangerously clanging an extra point off the post and in earlier in the game, had a chance to give the Rams the regulation victory.
The snap is down. The kick is up. ... The Rams are offsides.

The ball sailed through the uprights as the referees marched the line of scrimmage back to the 16-yard line.
The snap is down. The kick is up. ... The Vikings call timeout.

The ball once more sailed harmlessly through the goalposts and the teams lined up again.

This time, the kick would count. And this time, Vultaggio pulled the 34-yard, game-winning field goal attempt wide right as time expired, forcing overtime in the season opener.

Overtime rules give each team a possession starting at the 25-yard line. The Rams didn't waste any downs, converting a 25-yard touchdown from Spivey to Dezmon Epps on their first play and handing an opportunity to seal the win to their defense.

The Vikings looked to have matched the Rams' score on third down when the referee put his arms in the air after an acrobatic catch on the right edge of the end zone, but the far-side referee came streaking across the field to overrule the call, indicating the pass hit the ground for an incompletion.

CCSF batted down the fourth-down pass attempt to make the comeback official and move to 1-0 on the young season.

"The offense executed well down the stretch," Collins said, "But the defense kept us in the game the entire second half."

The Rams are back in action Friday, Sept. 7 at 7 p.m. in Oakland against Laney College.

Rahon's season-high paces Saint Mary's rout of Pepperdine


Rahon's season-high paces Saint Mary's rout of Pepperdine


MORAGA -- Saint Mary's guard Joe Rahon shook his head in disbelief and shrugged his shoulders while running back on defense after getting blocked by Pepperdine's Chris Reyes midway through the second half.

It was one of the few things that didn't go Rahon's way in the Gaels' second straight blowout win.

Rahon scored 17 of his season-high 22 points in the first half and No. 23 Saint Mary's beat Pepperdine 85-65 on Saturday night.

"Our team's all about the open guy takes the shot and tonight I was able to get in the lane and make a few layups to get a rhythm going," Rahon said after shooting 9 of 13 with three 3-pointers. "That's kind of what makes us good offensively. We're unselfish and we don't really care who gets all the credit."

Rahon had plenty of support while helping Gaels coach Randy Bennett to his 350th career win.

Calvin Hermanson added 19 points and Jock Landale had 15 points and 10 rebounds as the Gaels (17-2, 7-1 West Coast Conference) led by double figures nearly the entire second half.

It was also a nice bounceback for Saint Mary's, which lost to Pepperdine twice during the regular season in 2016 before knocking the Waves out of the postseason conference tournament.

"Our guys definitely knew that," Bennett said. "We respected them because they'd gotten us three times in the last three years. Not many teams have. They have."

It wasn't as close this time around despite another big night from Pepperdine's Lamond Murray Jr., who scored 29 points on 12-of-20 shooting. It's the fifth consecutive game in which Murray has had at least 23.

The Waves (5-15, 1-7) couldn't keep pace with the Gaels' big three of Rahon, Hermanson and Landale. The trio accounted for 66 percent of Saint Mary's points and teamed for 18 rebounds and 11 assists.

After Pepperdine pulled within 72-63 on Murray's basket with 4:48 remaining, Rahon made one of two free throws, Emmet Naar had a 3-pointer and Rahon scored on a driving layup to help the Gaels to the win before a packed house at McKeon Pavilion.

"That's where playing together all last year helps," Rahon said. "You've been in the situation so many times that you look around and no one's rattled, no one's losing their confidence. We just have a lot of composed guys on our team."

Rahon, whose previous season high was 14 points, made seven of his first nine shots to eclipse that mark before halftime. Hermanson added 15 points, including an emphatic dunk on a baseline drive while Landale scored 11 points to give Saint Mary's a 47-33 lead.

Bennett has never coached Murray, only against him, but the Gaels coach sounded like a proud father after watching the Waves' leading scorer repeatedly torch his team's defense. "He's a really good player now," Bennett said. "He's as good a scorer as there is in our league. I think he's the best scorer in the league. It's just fun to see guys improve like that. He's made a big jump."

Pepperdine: The Waves have lost five straight and 14 of 15. ... Nolan Taylor's 3-pointer in the first half was the first of the season for the 6-foot-7, 250-pound freshman forward. ... Two days after becoming the school's career assists leader, Major was held without one for the first 14 1/2 minutes against Saint Mary's.

Saint Mary's: The Gaels responded to last week's loss to No. 4 Gonzaga with a pair of blowout wins at home, exactly the way Bennett expected. They have one more home game before playing four straight on the road. ... The 85 points are the Gaels' second-most this season.

Saint Mary's is likely to move up a few spots after three of the eight teams in front of the Gaels lost at least once this week.

Pepperdine: Returns home to host Portland on Thursday night.

Saint Mary's: Closes out its three-game homestand against San Francisco on Jan. 26. The Gaels won the first matchup between the two teams earlier this season 63-52 at Memorial Gym.

Rabb bounces back, leads Cal past Oregon State


Rabb bounces back, leads Cal past Oregon State


CORVALLIS, Ore. -- California sophomore Ivan Rabb rebounded from a disappointing game against Oregon with 18 points against Oregon State.

Rabb added eight rebounds and the Golden Bears handed the Beavers their seventh straight loss with a 69-58 victory Saturday night.

Rabb, who had been averaging 15.4 points in conference play, was held to an uncharacteristic four points in Cal's 86-63 loss to the No. 11 Ducks.

"Shots weren't dropping and I wasn't getting to the free-throw line," Rabb said. "But tonight I made an effort to get to the line, knock down shots, and just be more patient on the block. Overall, my teammates played better, I played better and we were way better as a team."

Charlie Moore added 15 for Cal, (14-6, 5-3 Pac-12), which led the Beavers by as many as 14 points after a close first half. Jabari Bird and Grant Mullins each added 12 for the Bears, who were coming off the loss to the Ducks but have won four of their last five games.

Drew Eubanks had 22 points and 10 rebounds for Oregon State (4-16, 0-7). Stephen Thompson Jr. added 19 points for his 13th straight game in double figures.

The Beavers have struggled without top scorer Tres Tinkle, who was averaging 20.2 points a game before he broke his right wrist on Nov. 25 against Fresno State. Tinkle has missed 14 games.

"I just think we have more bodies with more experience," Cal coach Cuonzo Martin said. "Not that they didn't play hard - they have a lot of talent, they have young talent. Of course they're missing key players - probably one of the best players in our league in Tres - but we knew they'd make plays. We knew Stevie as well as Drew were good enough to carry those guys. We just had to utilize our experience, our older guys and also our bodies, try to run in transition and ultimately get to Ivan Rabb to make plays."

Cal led most of the first half but the Beavers kept up. Thompson's layup and free throw pulled Oregon State within 15-14 before Moore answered with a layup for the Bears on the other end.

Mullins' 3-pointer and Kingsley Okoroh's dunk put the Bears up 20-16. Bird's 3 extended the lead to 34-25 but Oregon State closed the gap late in the half and trailed 34-29 at halftime. Eubanks led all scorers at the break with 12.

The Beavers got within 38-34 on JaQuori McLaughlin's layup and free throw. It was as close as Oregon State would come and Bird made a 3-pointer that pushed California's lead to 48-36 with 12:42 to go.

"It's tough to say we're making strides, but we did some positive things," Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle said. "I'm proud of the guys for their effort but I've got to do some searching here because I'm having a hard time getting these guys to focus for 40 minutes. That's on me. I've got to do a better job, because we're still continuing to shoot ourselves in the foot, and we're a ways in the season."

The two teams split the regular season series last year, and Cal beat Oregon State 76-68 in the Pac-12 tournament last season. Cal had won eight of the last 12 meetings going into Saturday's game.

California: With his first 3-pointer early in the opening half, Bird upped his career total to 154, surpassing Randy Duck (1994-97) for 10th place on Cal's all-time list.

Oregon State: Oregon State players have missed 42 games due to injuries this season. In addition to Tinkle, center Cheikh N'diaye is out indefinitely with a left shoulder injury. Eubanks has a sore thigh that's bothering him. ... Oregon State was coming off a 62-46 loss at home to Stanford on Thursday.

Cal has eight days off before they host rival Stanford. While the break is nice, Rabb was already eager to play the Cardinal.

"Yeah, we're looking forward to it," Rabb said. "It's a rivalry game. It's going to be a high energy game. It's going to be a great atmosphere at Hass Pavilion."

California: The Golden Bears return home to face rival Stanford next Sunday. The Cardinal fell 69-52 to Oregon earlier on Saturday.

Oregon State: The Beavers visit Colorado on Thursday.