Rabb bounces back, leads Cal past Oregon State

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AP

Rabb bounces back, leads Cal past Oregon State

BOX SCORE

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.

BIG PICTURE:
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.

BREAK TIME:
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."

UP NEXT:
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.

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."