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.

Wilcox embracing challenge, will change the way Cal looks on field

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AP

Wilcox embracing challenge, will change the way Cal looks on field

BERKELEY — With more than a half-century without a Rose Bowl berth, tougher academic standards than most Pac-12 schools and lackluster fan support in a pro-sports focused market, there are plenty of hurdles for a football coach at California.

Coach Justin Wilcox took the job for the Golden Bears because he embraces those obstacles and he wants players who feel the same way as he seeks to rebuild a program that has one winning record in the past five years and no conference championships since 1958.

"When you come here, there are challenges," Wilcox said at his introductory news conference Tuesday. "You don't come here and go through school and just go through the motions. You'll be challenged in the classroom, challenged on the football field and learn to interact in a dynamic society. I believe in that and that helps guys grow."

Wilcox faces many hurdles in his new job replacing the recently fired Sonny Dykes less than three weeks before national signing day. He has to put together a coaching staff, evaluate the players already on campus and try to keep together, and even add to, a recruiting class that committed to a different staff.

Athletic director Mike Williams fired Dykes after four seasons on Jan. 8 because he wanted a coach committed to Cal instead of flirting with other jobs and needed someone who could excite a fan base that often stayed away from Memorial Stadium in recent years as the Bears teamed porous defenses with sometimes exciting offenses while posting a 19-30 record.

Williams had five finalists for the job but chose a former Cal assistant with a defensive background and familiarity with the Pac-12 as an assistant for seven years at three schools in the conference.

"He truly gets this place, he truly gets coaching in the West," Williams said. "He came in and was very organized and thoughtful. He knew what he wanted to do and who he wanted to hire. ... It's a special place and I think he'll treat it as a special place."

While Dykes flirted with job openings at Houston and Baylor this past offseason in part because of his concern about increased academic standards for recruits, the Bears hope Wilcox is someone who wants to stick around after more than a decade of being on a self-described "windy" path as a top defensive coach.

The former Oregon defensive back began his coaching career in 2001 as a graduate assistant at Boise State. He spent three years as linebackers coach under Jeff Tedford at Cal from 2003-05 when the Bears nearly ended their Rose Bowl drought during a 10-win season with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback in 2004.

Wilcox has spent the past 11 years as a defensive coordinator with stops at Boise State, Tennessee, Washington, Southern California and finally Wisconsin, where he helped the Badgers field a top 10 defense and win the Cotton Bowl.

Wilcox has worked and played for many successful coaches, including Tedford, Chris Petersen, Dan Hawkins, Mike Bellotti, and Paul Chryst.

"I've been extremely fortunate to work for and with people I learned so much from," he said. "Each step along the way, I've seen it done a lot of different ways. I'm not trying to be any of those people. I always try to take pieces and make it my own."

Wilcox has begun putting together his staff, having hired former Eastern Washington coach Beau Baldwin as offensive coordinator and longtime Oregon offensive line coach Steve Greatwood to fill that role on the Bears.

The Bears will look very different under Wilcox than Dykes. Wilcox said he will recruit tight ends as Cal moves from the spread "Bear Raid" offense that relied on four receivers almost exclusively to a more balanced offense with tight ends and more power concepts.

While he will delegate most of the offensive responsibilities to Baldwin, Wilcox said he will be more involved on defense where he wants to find players who can fit into his base 3-4 system.

Cal ranked 125th in total defense, 127th in scoring defense and 122nd in yards per play out of 128 FBS teams last season on the way to a 5-7 record.

"Every second is critical right now," Wilcox said. "I will not sacrifice the long-term good of the program for what everyone wants which is certainty. Things will happen quickly. I understand the recruits have some anxiety about the situation and there's emotions involved. That's totally understandable. I'd feel the same way."

EWU head coach leaving to become Cal’s new offensive coordinator

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USATSI

EWU head coach leaving to become Cal’s new offensive coordinator

Newly announced Cal head football coach Justin Wilcox has his offensive coordinator just two days into the job. Eastern Washington University head coach Beau Baldwin is stepping down and is on his way to run the offense in Berkeley, EWU announced on Monday.

"I’m excited for the great opportunity that’s ahead but I’ll miss an amazing place," Baldwin said at a press conference held at EWU to announce his decision to leave the school.

Under Baldwin, EWU turned into a powerhouse at the FCS level, posting an 85-32 record in nine seasons. The Eagles won five Big Sky Conference titles and were crowned national champions in 2010.

Baldwin has never coached at the Division I FBS level, but has posted success in the past against those teams. Last season, Baldwin and the Eagles started off the year with a 45-42 win on the road against Washington State.

To open the 2013 season, Baldwin received national attention as EWU pulled off a huge upset by taking down No. 25 Oregon State, 49-46.

In 2016, EWU averaged 42.36 points per game. The Eagles rushed for 112 yards per game and gained 238 yards per game through the air.