No. 24 Cal rolls to big win over George Washington

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No. 24 Cal rolls to big win over George Washington

BOX SCORE
BERKELEY -- Justin Cobbs delivered just what California coach Mike Montgomery wanted in his second game with his new team.Cobbs scored eight of his 16 points during a 21-0 run to end the first half and No. 24 California beat George Washington 81-54 Sunday night in the first round of the CBE Classic.Cobbs, a transfer from Minnesota, gives Montgomery the depth he knows he will need if the Golden Bears (2-0) are going to be successful this season"That's kind of what we expect from Justin," Montgomery said. "We think he's capable of doing that. His focus was really good. He came in and made a difference. That's really why we like him. We like him off the bench because he changes things. If we're not doing things or having problems, he has the ability to change things.Allen Crabbe led Cal with 21 points and Jorge Gutierrez added 15 as the Bears opened the season with back-to-back 20-point wins for the first time since 1995-96.Tony Taylor scored 20 points and Nemanja Mikic added 12 for the Colonials (1-1), who shot 38 percent to lose for the first time under new coach Mike Lonergan.The game got off to a sloppy, turnover-filled start before the Bears broke it open with their big, half-ending run. Gutierrez got it started with a jumper that gave Cal the lead for good at 20-19. Cobbs hit a pair of 3-pointers around another 3 from Crabbe to end the half with the Bears on top 39-19.Cobbs looked much more comfortable than he did in his debut for Cal when he scored four points Friday against IC Irvine."It's just getting my momentum going and getting a feel for the game and then making sure I'm being aggressive," he said. "Coaches are telling me be aggressive and make plays and that's what I tried to do instead of being so passive. I just came out with the mentality to be aggressive and try to make plays tonight."Cal extended the lead to 46-20 early in the second half as Crabbe hit another long-range shot before Taylor's basket ended a stretch of 15 straight misses from the field over a span of 9:13 on the clock for George Washington."I've never really been involved with a run quite like that," Lonergan said. "I tried calling a couple timeouts. I want to give them credit but our shot selection and different things really added to that run. We just lost our composure."The Bears coasted from there and even one of the few highlights for the Colonials came at a price. David Pellom had a breakaway dunk but was called for a technical foul for hanging on the rim midway through the half.Cal will play Austin Peay at home Tuesday in the second game of the tournament before going to Kansas City, Mo., next week to take on Georgia and either Notre Dame or Missouri. George Washington will play their final three games of the classic in Bowling Green, Ohio, next week.This was a short trip to California for the Colonials, who opened the season at home Friday night against Maryland-Eastern Shore, flew to the Bay Area on Saturday, played the game Sunday night and immediately left on a redeye flight home to get back for morning classes Monday."We were well prepared and focused, and I thought that was obvious because we came out ready to play," Lonergan said. "That doesn't mean anything but we were ready to play, and then we just kind of go crazy out there. I don't think the trip really had anything to do with this."Despite six turnovers in the first 9 minutes, George Washington took the lead on a 3-pointer by Taylor midway through the half and led 19-18 when Taylor hit another 3 as the shot clock ran down with 6:23 to go. The Colonials then missed their final 11 shots of the half and trailed by 20 at the break."At the beginning we were going real fast and had 10 turnovers early and that's crazy," said Cal freshman David Kravish, who had five points and nine rebounds. "Coach told us we were going too fast and were playing the game they wanted us to play and taking bad shots or whatever they wanted us to do. He told us to slow down, play our game and influence the way they play. That's what we did."

Former Napa star Josh Jackson leaving Kansas, entering NBA Draft

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Former Napa star Josh Jackson leaving Kansas, entering NBA Draft

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Josh Jackson declared for the NBA draft on Monday after one of the best freshman seasons in Kansas history, one marked by plenty of highlights on the floor and a few distractions off it.

The 6-foot-8 swingman, who is considered a certain lottery pick, was the Big 12 newcomer of the year after averaging 16.3 points and 7.4 rebounds. He helped the Jayhawks to a 31-5 record and its 13th straight regular season Big 12 title before losing to Oregon in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.

Jackson signed with former NBA player B.J. Armstrong of Wasserman Media Group.

"After thoroughly consulting with my family, I have decided to enter the 2017 NBA draft and pursue my dream of playing professional basketball," Jackson said in a statement Monday.

"I am very thankful for all of the support I have received from my coaches and teammates at Kansas," he said, "and I look forward to starting my career in the NBA."

Jackson was the nation's No. 1 recruit when he signed with the Jayhawks out of Prolific Prep Academy in California. He immediately earned a spot in the starting lineup, teaming with national player of the year Frank Mason III and Devonte Graham to form one of the nation's top backcourts.

With natural athleticism and ability to slash to the basket - not to mention defensive chops that are rare among freshmen - Jackson quickly established himself as one of the nation's top draft prospects.

His importance was never more evident than in the Big 12 Tournament, when he was suspended by coach Bill Self following a series of off-the-court issues. The top-seeded Jayhawks stumbled in a quarterfinal loss to TCU, ending their run at the conference tournament before it really began.

He returned for the NCAA Tournament and played well in wins over UC Davis, Michigan State and Purdue, but was hamstrung by foul trouble and managed just 10 points in a season-ending loss to the Ducks.

Jackson's suspension came following an incident outside a Lawrence bar in December, when a member of the Kansas women's basketball team got into an altercation with Jackson's teammate, Lagerald Vick.

Jackson followed the woman to the parking lot and the woman said he kicked her car and caused hundreds of dollars in damage. He pleaded not guilty last week in Douglas County District Court to one misdemeanor count of criminal damage to property and a trial is scheduled for May 24.

His attorney, Hatem Chahine, said he was planning to file for diversion.

Jackson also was ticketed in February after he struck a parked car and fled the scene, and that drew Self's ire when he didn't tell his coach about the incident until several weeks later.

His decision to declare for the draft came a week after teammate Svi Mykhailiuk announced he would skip his senior season. But unlike Jackson, the 6-8 sharpshooter has not hired an agent and could withdraw his name by May 24 and return to the Jayhawks.

Redemption: Year after heartbreak, UNC outlasts Gonzaga to win title

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AP

Redemption: Year after heartbreak, UNC outlasts Gonzaga to win title

BOX SCORE

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- It's OK, Carolina, you can open your eyes.

An unwatchable game turned into a beautiful night for the Tar Heels, who turned a free-throw contest into a championship they've been waiting an entire year to celebrate.

Justin Jackson delivered the go-ahead 3-point play with 1:40 left Monday and North Carolina pulled away for a 71-65 win over Gonzaga that washed away a year's worth of heartache.

It was, in North Carolina's words, a redemption tour - filled with extra time on the practice court and the weight room, all fueled by a devastating loss in last year's title game on Kris Jenkins' 3-point dagger at the buzzer for Villanova.

"Just unreal that we get a second chance at this," junior Theo Pinson said, recounting a pre-game conversation with teammate Joel Berry II. "Not a lot of people can say they can do that. I told him, `We're about to take this thing. I'm about to give everything I got.' I knew he would, too, We just didn't want to come up short again."

But to say everything went right for Roy Williams' team at this Final Four would be less than the truth.

The Tar Heels (33-7) followed a terrible-shooting night in the semifinal with an equally ice-cold performance in the final - going 4 for 27 from 3-point land and 26 for 73 overall.

Gonzaga, helped by 8 straight points from Nigel Williams-Goss, took a 2-point lead with 1:52 left, but the next possession was the game-changer.

Jackson took a zinger of a pass under the basket from Pinson and converted the shot, then the ensuing free throw to take the lead for good. Moments later, Williams-Goss twisted an ankle and could not elevate for a jumper that would've given the Bulldogs the lead.

Isaiah Hicks made a basket to push the lead to 3, then Kennedy Meeks, in foul trouble all night (who wasn't?), blocked Williams-Goss' shot and Jackson got a slam on the other end to put some icing on title No. 6 for the Tar Heels.

Williams got his third championship, putting him one ahead of his mentor, Dean Smith, and now behind only John Wooden, Mike Krzyzewski and Adolph Rupp.

"I think of Coach Smith, there's no question," Williams said. "I don't think I should be mentioned in the same sentence with him. But we got three because I've got these guys with me and that's all I care about right now - my guys."

Berry recovered from ankle injuries to lead the Tar Heels, but needed 19 shots for his 22 points. Jackson had 16 but went 0 for 9 from 3. Overall, the Tar Heels actually shot a percentage point worse than they did in Saturday night's win over Oregon.

Thank goodness for free throws.

They went 15 for 26 from the line and, in many corners, this game will be remembered for these three men: Michael Stephens, Verne Harris and Mike Eades, the referees who called 27 fouls in the second half, completely busted up the flow of the game and sent Meeks, Gonzaga's 7-footers Przemek Karnowski and Zach Collins, and a host of others to the bench in foul trouble.

The game "featured" 52 free throws. Both teams were in the bonus with 13 minutes left. Somehow, Collins was the only player to foul out.

Most bizarre sequence: With 8:02 left, Berry got called for a foul for (maybe) making contact with Karnowski and stripping the ball from the big man's hands. But as Karnowski was flailing after the ball, he inadvertently grabbed Berry around the neck. After a long delay, the refs called Karnowski for a flagrant foul of his own.

"I'm not going to talk about refs," Karnowski said. "It was just a physical game."

Zags coach Mark Few handled it with class, calling the refs "three of the best officials in the entire country," and insisting they did a fine job.

He might have wanted further review on the scrum with 50 seconds left. The refs were taking heat on social media for calling a held ball, which gave possession to the Tar Heels, on a pile-up underneath the Carolina basket. It set up the Hicks layup to put Carolina ahead by 3. One problem: Meeks' right hand looks to be very much touching out of bounds while he's trying to rip away the ball.

"That was probably on me," Few said. "From my angle, it didn't look like an out of bounds situation or I would have called a review. That's tough to hear."

The Bulldogs (37-2), the Cinderella-turned-Godzilla team from the small school in the West Coast Conference, tried to keep the big picture in mind. Twenty years ago, this sort of run at that sort of place looked virtually impossible. With less than 2 minutes left, they had the lead in the national title game.

"We broke the glass ceiling everyone said we couldn't break," junior forward Johnathan Williams said.

And North Carolina got over a hump that, at times this season, felt like a mountain.

"They wanted redemption," Williams said. "I put it on the locker room up on the board - one of the things we had to be tonight was tough enough. I think this group was tough enough tonight."