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Golden Nuggets: A Look Back at Last Weekend’s Pac-12 Openers

Time to get excited about Cal Baseball as well.

The end of the big win at Stanford.
Cal Basketball on Twitter @CalMBBall

Men’s Basketball

  • Thank you to Ryan Gorcey for posting video and a transcript from the post-game presser after Cal pulled off the comeback against Stanford. I will post a few quotes, but be sure to read his writeup (no subscription needed).

Cal head basketball coach Wyking Jones opening statement after comeback win over Stanford: "Obviously very excited and happy for the win. Really, really proud of my guys and staff, for the fight, for not throwing in the towel. Just staying with it and chipping away, and believing that we had a chance to get it done, even though we were down, pretty much the entire game. Just really, really excited that we found a way to dig ourselves out of a hole. We've been in this situation a couple of times this year, and found a way tonight, so I'm very excited about that."

How do you keep focus in the second half (Marcus Lee): "It was just like the recipe we had this whole week. Coach said 'Stay together; when things go wrong, go inwards as a team.' That's what we did today. When we realized that once we go do things together, then nothing can stop us."

(Justice Sueing): "That was the main goal for this week of practice. All the grit and all the hard work that we've had, it paid off, and we all stayed together and got the win."

Sueing on what he saw on the play that gave Cal the lead late in the second half: "I just came off the pick, and I saw a lane. K.O. (Kingsley Okoroh) kind of opened it up for me, and I just took it and I was able to get the and-one, and made the play from there, and we took the lead."

Marcus Lee on his first Cal-Stanford game, after growing up in the Bay Area: "It met all expectations. We knew it was going to be a battle when we walked in. It's been like that ever since I've grown up, so being actually able to be in the rivalry is epic for me."

The Bears outscored the Cardinal 53-37 in the second half. Cal's 53 second-half points are a new high for points in a half.

With 5 blocks tonight, Cal tallied 5 or more blocks for the 12th time this season. The Bears are averaging 6.1 blocks per game.

This is only the second time all season that Cal earned the win after trailing at halftime.

This year, Cal games have followed two patterns, with a few exceptions. The first is the boat-racing, Cal getting down early and not coming back. The second is the closer than they should be wins, where the Bears have gotten out quick, but other teams force their way back in, like San Diego State, Cal Poly, and Cal State Fullerton, where Cal has pulled things out. There've been a couple exceptions, like Cal breaking Seattle in Key Arena and breaking down against Wichita State late, but the comeback against Stanford is the first time they showed the growth to make a comeback, something Wyking Jones noted.

"Just really excited that we found a way to dig ourselves out of a hole," Jones said after the comeback, "We’ve been in this situation a couple of times this year and found a way tonight, so I’m very excited about that."

Women’s Basketball

  • Cal had a great conference opening win over USC on Friday on the strength of 3 Kristine Anigwe 3’s and some great rebounding by Penina Davidson.

“She’s a well-rounded player. Obviously, she hasn’t taken a lot of threes for us, but that’s a good shot for her,” head coach Lindsay Gottlieb said, after joking that she mandated Anigwe go home and take 5,000 three-pointers during the holiday break. “If the right basketball play is dunking on someone or scoring 25 points in the paint, we’re going to try to get that. If people are sagging off, she can keep the defense honest.”

“It’s like a double whammy,” Cal head coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. “When you’re turning it over, it’s not just hurting our offense. It’s hurting our defense, because they’re scoring in transition, and all of a sudden, it got away from us a little bit.”

...

“In some ways, the loss is more disappointing, because I know we’re capable,” Gottlieb said. “I told them in the locker room that I’m yelling at them because I know we’re better than this. That’s what conference play does: It tests you and makes you grow. The strongest teams survive that.”

  • During halftime at the UCLA game the team showed a retrospective video showing the calendar 2017 year. The team made the NCAA tournament in the spring, went to Australia in the summer, and went to UConn in the fall. Set to one of my favorite Coldplay songs, The team posted the video to Twitter as well.

Football

  • Ross Bowers’ diving touchdown against Washington State was named the Pac-12 #12Best Play of the Year!
  • Congrats to Cal Grad assistant and former longsnapper Brad Northnagel for joining the Oakland Raiders with a “futures contract” meaning he’ll get to participate in off-season workouts with the team.
  • Vic Enwere and Darius Allensworth were selected to the Collegiate Gridiron Showcase and Symposium All-Star rosters. Congrats!
  • CJ Anderson hit 1,000 yards for the season and Marshawn Lynch hit 10,000 rushing yards for his career. Unfortunately neither were on playoff teams. Here’s that and lots more highlights from #CalInTheNFL for the final week of the NFL regular season.

Baseball

  • Darren Baker could have went to the majors if he wanted, but elected to honor his commitment to Cal Baseball. Now we will see him take the field in February. Ann Killion wrote a story on him and his new “big brother” (assistant coach) Noah Jackson. It gets a little emotional...

Noah Jackson is an assistant coach on the new Cal baseball staff. A 2003 graduate of Cal (where he played baseball), Jackson was a volunteer assistant with the Bears in 2015 before heading to the University of the Pacific to coach with Mike Neu. When Neu was hired last summer by Cal to replace David Esquer as its head coach, Jackson came back to Berkeley with him.

They have reunited with Darren, 18, who committed to Cal as a sophomore in high school, when Neu and Jackson were Cal assistants.

The connection between Jackson and Darren runs far deeper than just a coach who recruited a young player.

“I’d describe him as a big brother,” Darren said. “That’s the best way to put it.”

Go Bears.