UNLV runs past Bears in the desert 85-68

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UNLV runs past Bears in the desert 85-68

BOX SCORE

LAS VEGAS (APCSN) California did not want to go into conference play this way.

The Golden Bears ran into a faster and more athletic UNLV team on Friday, losing 85-68 to the 21st-ranked Rebels.

Justin Cobbs led the Bears (10-3) with 20 points and five assists.

"(UNLV is) good and they played good," California coach Mike Montgomery said. "We had two primary guys not having good shooting nights. We didn't do the little things."

California enters the Pac-12 portion of its schedule playing host to USC next Thursday.

UNLV, meanwhile keeps having statement games.

First, it was beating then-No. 1 North Carolina last month. Last Saturday, UNLV beat then-No. 19 Illinois in Chicago.

On Friday, Anthony Marshall had 22 points and nine rebounds to lead UNLV (13-2).

"I have great teammates," Marshall said. "Everyone on the team gets along. We are brothers. We got some defensive stops that helped get our offense going."

Chace Stanback had 15 points and Mike Moser added 14 points and eight rebounds for the Rebels (13-2), who have won all eight games this season at the Thomas & Mack Center and 11 overall in Las Vegas.

Oscar Bellfield had 11 points and 11 assists for UNLV, which shot 49 percent from the field and had 22 assists.

"I told the team that for about 35 of the 40 minutes we were sensational," UNLV coach Dave Rice said. "We had about 5 minutes where our effort and execution lacked. But overall, I knew that today we would play well. We are always confident going into games. We were locked into what we were trying to do."

Justin Cobbs had 20 points and five assists for the Golden Bears (10-3), while Allen Crabbe had 13 points and six rebounds and Harper Kamp added 12 points and nine rebounds.

Jorge Gutierrez had 12 points and six rebounds for California.

"They're a fast-tempo team," said Gutierrez, who played high school basketball at Findlay Prep in Las Vegas. "We were not used to that fast of a tempo. In the first half, shots were not going in. (Coach Mike Montgomery) was telling us to get the ball inside. We took the 15-footers. We should have gone inside more."

Leading 46-26, the Rebels opened the second half by hitting consecutive 3-pointers and eventually built their largest lead at 72-45 with 8:41 remaining. The Golden Bears cut the lead to 13 points three times in the final 4 minutes.

With the Rebels' win, the Mountain West Conference is 11-3 against the Pac-12 this season.

"We got off to a tough start," Montgomery said. "We were not great defensively. Ball was going in for them and not for us. Marshall and Bellfield were good off the pick-and-roll. Our guys were right there. We didn't do little things. We didn't block off missed free throws."

After California led 5-2, the Rebels dominated, taking the lead for good at 11-8 on a 3-pointer by Moser with 15:52 left. The Rebels went on a 21-6 run after the Bears cut it to 15-14.

Stanback capped the half with a 3-pointer from the right corner at the buzzer.

"Offensively, it definitely felt good that we were trying to find the open man," Stanback said. "Defensively, we wanted to be aggressive, just close out as hard as we can."

The Rebels had 14 assists in the first half, nine by Bellfield. In the first half, UNLV shot 54 percent from the field and 5 of 11 from 3-point range. The Rebels finished 9 of 24.

California shot 32 percent from the field in the first half and finished at 38 percent for the game.

UNLV leads the all-time series 4-1.

The Rebels have three more games before starting conference play at San Diego State on Jan. 14.

Cal was without starting center Richard Solomon for the second straight game, as he continues to nurse a foot injury.

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."