NCAA

No. 18 Arizona rallies from 13 down to beat California 67-62

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USATSI

No. 18 Arizona rallies from 13 down to beat California 67-62

BERKELEY  — Despite a pretty rigorous non-conference schedule highlighted by two games against ranked teams, Arizona coach Sean Miller wasn't surprised his squad came out a little tentative in its Pac-12 opener.

A strong second half from freshman Kobi Simmons provided all the calming influence the 18th-ranked Wildcats needed.

Dusan Ristic scored 16 points and Arizona overcame a sluggish and sloppy first half to beat California 67-62 on Friday night.

Simmons added 14 points while Lauri Markkanen had 13 points and nine rebounds as the Wildcats (12-2, 1-0) rallied from 13 points down and used a big run coming out of halftime to extend their winning streak to six games.

"It was us just getting back comfortable and finding ourselves," Simmons said after Arizona won for only the second time this season after trailing at halftime. "We know what we can do and we know the players we have. We just came out aggressive (in the second half) and got the job done."

Arizona struggled from the perimeter most of the game before Simmons provided a big lift in the second half. The freshman guard scored 10 consecutive points as part of a 15-4 run coming out of halftime, made a key save at midcourt following an inbounds play under the Wildcats basket, then fed Rawle Alkins for a late dunk to help preserve the win.

"In the second half he gave our team confidence," Miller said. "His spurt there got us the lead. I think we might have relinquished it but from that point on it was a different game."

California (9-4, 0-1) made just nine field goals in the second half and shot 37 percent from the field overall. The Golden Bears have lost consecutive games at Haas Pavilion following a school-record 27-game winning streak.

Ivan Rabb had 16 points and a career-best 16 rebounds for California.

"I just think that, simply, guys that were defending the ball didn't take pride in defending," Bears coach Cuonzo Martin said. "That's what happened in the second half. It's that simple."

The game, featuring two of the Pac-12's best defensive teams, opened up following a slow first half when Miller burned a timeout less than 90 seconds in.

Arizona led 41-36 with 14 minutes remaining before Rabb sparked a mini-run that put California back in front. After the teams traded scores, Chance Comanche scored on a three-point play with 10:33 left that put Arizona ahead for good.

The Wildcats still had to hold off a late run by the Bears. Jabari Bird's 3-pointer pulled California within 66-62, and after a turnover near midcourt, Bird had a chance to pull the Bears closer but his 3-point attempt bounced off the front of the rim.

Bird finished with 16 points and seven rebounds.

The Bears used their conference-leading defense to set the tone in the first half when California's offense sputtered.

Nine days after limiting No. 12 Virginia to 22 points in the first half, the Bears limited the Wildcats to 26 and used a 15-0 run to take control.

Arizona had won five straight since losing to Gonzaga in the Naismith Hall of Fame game on Dec. 23.

BIG PICTURE

Arizona: It was a lot closer than it probably should have been but the young Wildcats kept it together and made the game-changing run when they needed to. The offense wasn't sharp early but Miller's group responded in front of a hostile crowd on the road.

California: For the second consecutive game the Bears played a Top 25 team tight but couldn't finish the job. Martin's team continues to shine defensively, although the problems on the offensive end are making it tough.

MILLER'S 200th

The win was the 200th at Arizona for Miller. Unlike many of his contemporaries, the Wildcats coach embraced the milestone moment. "Any time as a coach you hit one of those it means something," said Miller, who is 200-63 at Arizona. "Being a college basketball coach isn't easy, especially in this day and age when from one season to the next so many things can change."

POLL IMPLICATIONS

As long as they can hold court against Stanford on Sunday there's no reason to think the Wildcats will lose any ground in the poll. There's a chance they could move up a few slots depending on what happens ahead of them, but for now Arizona's spot at 18 is secure.

UP NEXT

Arizona: Takes a short trip across the San Francisco Bay to play at Stanford on Sunday night.

California: Closes out its five-game homestand by hosting Arizona State on Sunday night at Haas Pavilion.

Pac-12 basketball teams near Barcelona terrorist attack safe

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AP

Pac-12 basketball teams near Barcelona terrorist attack safe

Men's basketball teams from Oregon State, Clemson and Arizona were staying at a hotel in Barcelona, Spain, near where a van drove into pedestrians on Thursday, but team officials said everyone was safe.

Spanish police have confirmed they are investigating the bloodshed in Barcelona's historic Las Ramblas district as a terror attack. The area is a popular summer tourist spot.

Tulane also was playing in Barcelona, but it was unclear if they were staying in the same hotel as the other teams.

Oregon State assistant coach Gregg Gottlieb posted to Facebook: "We are all luckily ok. Our hotel/restaurant is located right on Las Ramblas. This tragedy happened right in front of us as our team just sat down for pregame meal. Thoughts and prayers for all those that are were hurt."

The Beavers' game Thursday night was canceled. It was supposed to be the first of a five-game tour.

Clemson was scheduled to play Thursday night against a Spanish All-Star team.

"We've been in contact with our men's basketball program currently in Barcelona and the entire travel party is safe and secure. Their exhibition game for tonight has been cancelled and the team will return to Clemson as previously scheduled tomorrow morning. Our thoughts are with the people of Barcelona," the South Carolina school said in a statement.

Clemson coach Brad Brownell confirmed in a text to The Associated Press that the three teams were staying in the same hotel.

"We are fine. Thankful to be safe and together," Brownell wrote.

Tulane athletic director Troy Tannen confirmed via social media that the Green Wave players and staff were safe.

Replying to a Twitter inquiry from a Portland television about whether the team was OK, Oregon State head coach Wayne Tinkle responded: "Yes we are, happened directly in front of our hotel while we were having a team meal in the restaurant, so senseless and sad! All accounted4."

Oregon State said it has not yet determined the remaining schedule for the team, which was supposed to be on the exhibition tour until Aug. 25.

A spokesman for Arizona said the Wildcats have canceled their third and final exhibition of their tour and "are currently working on travel plans to return home."

The future of Cal athletics, or lack thereof

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USATSI

The future of Cal athletics, or lack thereof

Your education dollars are always at work, so it is with pride and bewilderment that we report that the University of California’s incoming class (2021, for those few who can get out in four years) marched to Memorial Stadium and formed the world’s largest human letter.
 
It was . . . wait for it . . . a “C.” A 7,196-person-strong “C.”
 
But the school, as it occasionally does, missed a golden opportunity to seize a golden opportunity. All they needed to do was have a quick whip-round, get $55,586.44 from each and every one of the captives . . . er, students, and they could have wiped out their entire athletics deficit in one night.
 
You see, while forming gigantic letters is always fun (or as the kids used to say when double negatives didn’t mean voting, never not fun), Cal is staring at quite possibly the bleakest future a major athletic university ever has. The athletic department, whose chief officer, Mike Williams, has just announced his intention to quit, is over $400 million in debt between construction costs, ambition, shrinking allegiance and the absence of a Phil Knight-level sugar daddy to buy the pain away.
 
And before you blame Williams, he inherited this indigestible planetoid from his predecessor, Sandy Barbour, who grew it from her predecessor, Steve Gladstone, and hastened it from . . . well, you get the drift. 
 
Cal’s been blowing through money it hasn’t been taking in for years upon years, didn’t realize the deficit-cutting benefits of the Pac-12 Network (because they largely don’t exist), and the day of reckoning looms closer and closer, especially now that new chancellor Carol Christ (no apparent relation) described the deficit as “corrosive” and has insisted that the athletic department have a balanced budget by 2020.
 
In short, the school may only be able to afford a lower-case “C” before too long. Maybe in comic sans.