Montgomery gets Cal win in first game back

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Montgomery gets Cal win in first game back

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BERKELEY -- Mike Montgomery wasted little time providing the update everybody wanted to hear.

"I'm fine," he said in his typical matter-of-fact tone.

California's fourth-year coach returned to the bench three-plus weeks after undergoing surgery for bladder cancer and guided the 24th-ranked Golden Bears to a 77-56 season-opening victory over UC Irvine and former assistant Russell Turner on Friday night.

Allen Crabbe scored 24 points, Jorge Gutierrez had 11 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and two steals, and Cal shot 45.9 percent. The Bears jumped out to a 19-7 lead and controlled the game the entire way.

Montgomery moved well on the sideline and showed no signs of being limited. He spent a short stint away from the team to recover following the procedure on Oct. 19 and said he is now cancer-free.

He said he still has to be careful not to overexert himself.

"I get tired," Montgomery said. "You don't really realize what's going on. It's not something overt where there's specifics. But all of a sudden you go home and you're kind of, Whoa, I'm tired.' You do have to be aware of that. If you're going to do your job and be sharp, you've just got to make sure you don't do too much too fast."

Montgomery faced his former assistant from his days at both Stanford and the Golden State Warriors in Turner, the second-year Anteaters coach who worked under Montgomery at Stanford from 2000-04 and then in the NBA from '04-06.

Turner invited Montgomery to meet his team before the game.

"I doubt coaches really get all that wrapped up in coaching matchups but there's no question that Mike Montgomery is a man who's had tremendous influence on me," Turner said. "He's someone that I truly admire. I introduced him to my team today because he's going to be in the Hall of Fame as a college coach one day. I want to do at Irvine what he's done at Montana and Stanford and Cal. He showed me how to do it, so he's had a huge impact on my career and my life."

At one point, Montgomery showed some of his typical emotion and fire when he caught an errant pass thrown out of bounds by Cal reserve center Bak Bak with just under 10 minutes to go. Montgomery strongly bounced the ball in frustration before talking to guard Justin Cobbs.

"This is what he does and obviously it's what he loves," senior forward Harper Kamp said of Montgomery. "He's excited to be back out there. Everyone knows that kind of thing gives you a little bit of perspective. I'm happy to see he has some energy. He's the same old same old."

A sophomore guard, Cobbs made his Cal debut after sitting out last season following his transfer from Minnesota.

The Bears, who beat UC San Diego 88-53 in their lone exhibition game last week, shot 53.3 percent in the first half on the way to a 48-23 lead at the break and only built on that over the final 20 minutes.

Chris McNealy scored 14 points for the overmatched Anteaters, who shot 39.3 percent and were outrebounded 47-28.

Richard Solomon and Kamp each grabbed eight rebounds for a Cal team picked to finish second in the Pac-12 after going 18-15 last season and reaching the second round of the National Invitation Tournament.

Cal is in the preseason rankings for the fourth time in program history and first since it was 13th in 2009, when the Bears went on to win their first Pac-10 crown in 50 years and advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Gutierrez, Cal's senior leader and top returning scorer after averaging 14.6 points per game last season, Crabbe and Kamp give the Bears a formidable trio of scorers and also are the team's most experienced players.

Crabbe, the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year last season, shot 10 for 19 and scored Cal's first seven points of the second half and had a steal in the backcourt followed by a pretty one-handed dunk to put the Bears ahead 55-30 with 17:37 remaining to liven up the crowd at Haas Pavilion.

Cal made eight of its first 14 shots on the way to a 21-9 lead 8:21 into the game, with Crabbe scoring eight and hitting two 3s. Eight Bears players had a basket in the first half.

UC Irvine freshman Will Davis II had double-doubles in both of the Anteaters' two exhibition wins - averaging 11.5 points and 10.5 rebounds - but went 4 for 14 from the floor for eight points to go with nine rebounds.

Turner, who has one of the country's youngest rosters with only five returning players, eight freshmen and no seniors will keep his team in the Bay Area to play at San Jose State on Monday night.

"That's a different level of competition that we faced for the first time with a young team, and I thought it just looked like that," Turner said.

UC Irvine has not won in its last five season openers since 2007. The Anteaters haven't beaten a team from the Pac-12 since a 79-63 win at Stanford on Nov. 19, 2005.

This marked the schools' first meeting since Cal's 65-57 victory on Dec. 3, 2003, in Berkeley. Cal, 4-0 in season openers under Montgomery, leads the series 5-2.

No. 20 Saint Mary's holds off Santa Clara in WCC finale

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No. 20 Saint Mary's holds off Santa Clara in WCC finale

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MORAGA — Jock Landale scored 17 points and No. 20 Saint Mary's beat Santa Clara 70-56 on Saturday night in the West Coast Conference regular season finale for both teams.

Emmett Naar and Calvin Hermanson scored 13 points apiece and Dane Pineau added 10 points to help the Gaels (26-3, 15-3) complete a season sweep of the Broncos.

Saint Mary's will get a week off before playing in the WCC tournament as the No. 2 seed in Las Vegas next week.

The Gaels will go in at full strength after suffering a brief scare midway through the second half. Joe Rahon, the team's emotional leader and workhorse in the backcourt, limped off the court with an apparent knee injury and was taken into a tunnel to be examined. He returned to the court a few minutes later wearing tape around his right leg below the knee. He then later got his entire knee wrapped.

Saint Mary's led by as many as 20 in the second half despite coming out of halftime missing six of seven shots with two turnovers.

Landale, as he has much of the season, got the Gaels back on track with a short hook over Henrik Jadersten to start a 10-0 run. Landale later scored on consecutive trips down the floor to push Saint Mary's lead to 66-47.

Jared Brownridge and Matt Hauser scored 15 points apiece for Santa Clara. The Broncos (16-15, 10-8 WCC) lost for only the second time in the last five games.

The Gaels led nearly the entire way.

Saint Mary's came out strong from the perimeter, making five of seven shots beyond the arc in the first half. Naar had two of the 3s and was one of six Gaels players to score as part of an 11-2 run that pushed their lead to 41-29 at halftime.

BIG PICTURE

Santa Clara: Another tough night for the Broncos, who couldn't get much going despite Saint Mary's going through a pair of lulls on offense. Brownridge scored nine of his team's first 11 points, a pattern that played out much of the game. Jadersten gave Santa Clara an early lift with two 3s but picked up three fouls over a span of 1:41 minutes during the first half.

Saint Mary's: With four straight wins the Gaels have regained some of the momentum they lost after falling to No. 1 Gonzaga on Feb. 11 for the second time this season. A third showdown between the conference's two best teams appears likely.

UP NEXT

Santa Clara: The Broncos are the fourth seed for the WCC tournament and will have a bye in the first round.

Saint Mary's: The Gaels also receive a first-round bye and won't play until March 4.

Stanford falls short, can't complete upset against Oregon

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Stanford falls short, can't complete upset against Oregon

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STANFORD -- Oregon survived its Bay Area trip by the slimmest of margins.

Jordan Bell scored on a putback with 14 seconds left to give the sixth-ranked Ducks their second straight nail-biting victory in a rare Bay Area sweep as Oregon beat Stanford 75-73 on Saturday.

"It stresses Coach out," guard Dylan Ennis said. "It shows us that we can just get gritty, get down and get the win. ... Hopefully if we're down like that again we can fight back and do the same thing."

Bell's game-winner followed Dillon Brooks' last-second, tiebreaking 3-pointer three nights earlier at California to give Oregon (26-4, 15-2 Pac-12) its second sweep of its conference Bay Area rivals since 1976. The other came two years ago.

Tyler Dorsey scored 15 points to lead Oregon, while Brooks added 14.

"It's been a tough road trip for us, two close games," coach Dana Altman said. "That's life on the road. We found a way."

Reid Travis had 27 points and 14 rebounds to lead the way for the Cardinal (14-14, 6-10), but committed a turnover on the final possession to end any comeback hopes on senior day that honored Christian Sanders, Marcus Allen and Grant Verhoeven.

"There's a little extra when you see guys like Christian, Marcus and Grant shedding tears when they're getting called up," Travis said. "It's the last time they get to compete on this court. ... Just looking at that, there's no choice but to be motivated."

Stanford trailed by as many as 12 points in the first half but battled back to tie the game five times in the second half. But it took until that fifth equalizer for the Cardinal to take their first lead since being up 9-8 early in the first half.

Travis' jumper in the lane made it 71-69 with less than 3 minutes left but the lead was short-lived as Brooks hit a jumper at the other end to tie it.

The game was tied at 73 when the Ducks managed four offensive rebounds on one possession before finally converting on Bell's shot with 14 seconds left. It capped a wild sequence that started when Ennis shot an airball on a 3-pointer. Payton Pritchard caught the ball in the air and shot it to the rim before the shot clock expired. Bell was there to put back the second miss for the game-winner.

"It was going so fast I don't even know what happened," Altman said.

Travis lost the ball in the paint at the other end to seal the victory for Oregon.

BIG PICTURE

Oregon: The Ducks capped a 7-1 February with just their second road sweep of the conference season as they peaking at the right time of year. Their only loss in that span came on a late 3-pointer by Lonzo Ball in an 82-79 loss at UCLA. Oregon has one more road game left to finish the regular season at last-place Oregon State, and remains in contention for a Pac-12 title and a top two seeding in the NCAA Tournament.

Stanford: The Cardinal were unable to follow up home wins against California and Oregon State when faced by tougher competition from the Ducks. That has been an issue all season for Stanford, which fell to 0-8 against ranked opponents.

THEY SAID IT

"Something hit my elbow. It might have been the wind, but I don't shoot airballs on game-winners." - Ennis.

POUND THE BOARDS

Oregon had just eight rebounds for the entire first half before getting the four offensive boards on the final possession of the game. The Ducks were outrebounded 37-25 for the game but were outscored by only four points on second-chance opportunities.

CEREMONIAL DAY

Stanford also held a halftime ceremony for former coach Mike Montgomery, who was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame this past November. Montgomery is the winningest coach in school history with 393 of his 677 wins coming for the Cardinal.

UP NEXT

Oregon: Visits Oregon State on Saturday.

Stanford: Visits Colorado on Thursday.