NCAA

Montgomery gets Cal win in first game back

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Montgomery gets Cal win in first game back

BOX SCORE

BERKELEY -- Mike Montgomery wasted little time providing the update everybody wanted to hear.

"I'm fine," he said in his typical matter-of-fact tone.

California's fourth-year coach returned to the bench three-plus weeks after undergoing surgery for bladder cancer and guided the 24th-ranked Golden Bears to a 77-56 season-opening victory over UC Irvine and former assistant Russell Turner on Friday night.

Allen Crabbe scored 24 points, Jorge Gutierrez had 11 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and two steals, and Cal shot 45.9 percent. The Bears jumped out to a 19-7 lead and controlled the game the entire way.

Montgomery moved well on the sideline and showed no signs of being limited. He spent a short stint away from the team to recover following the procedure on Oct. 19 and said he is now cancer-free.

He said he still has to be careful not to overexert himself.

"I get tired," Montgomery said. "You don't really realize what's going on. It's not something overt where there's specifics. But all of a sudden you go home and you're kind of, Whoa, I'm tired.' You do have to be aware of that. If you're going to do your job and be sharp, you've just got to make sure you don't do too much too fast."

Montgomery faced his former assistant from his days at both Stanford and the Golden State Warriors in Turner, the second-year Anteaters coach who worked under Montgomery at Stanford from 2000-04 and then in the NBA from '04-06.

Turner invited Montgomery to meet his team before the game.

"I doubt coaches really get all that wrapped up in coaching matchups but there's no question that Mike Montgomery is a man who's had tremendous influence on me," Turner said. "He's someone that I truly admire. I introduced him to my team today because he's going to be in the Hall of Fame as a college coach one day. I want to do at Irvine what he's done at Montana and Stanford and Cal. He showed me how to do it, so he's had a huge impact on my career and my life."

At one point, Montgomery showed some of his typical emotion and fire when he caught an errant pass thrown out of bounds by Cal reserve center Bak Bak with just under 10 minutes to go. Montgomery strongly bounced the ball in frustration before talking to guard Justin Cobbs.

"This is what he does and obviously it's what he loves," senior forward Harper Kamp said of Montgomery. "He's excited to be back out there. Everyone knows that kind of thing gives you a little bit of perspective. I'm happy to see he has some energy. He's the same old same old."

A sophomore guard, Cobbs made his Cal debut after sitting out last season following his transfer from Minnesota.

The Bears, who beat UC San Diego 88-53 in their lone exhibition game last week, shot 53.3 percent in the first half on the way to a 48-23 lead at the break and only built on that over the final 20 minutes.

Chris McNealy scored 14 points for the overmatched Anteaters, who shot 39.3 percent and were outrebounded 47-28.

Richard Solomon and Kamp each grabbed eight rebounds for a Cal team picked to finish second in the Pac-12 after going 18-15 last season and reaching the second round of the National Invitation Tournament.

Cal is in the preseason rankings for the fourth time in program history and first since it was 13th in 2009, when the Bears went on to win their first Pac-10 crown in 50 years and advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Gutierrez, Cal's senior leader and top returning scorer after averaging 14.6 points per game last season, Crabbe and Kamp give the Bears a formidable trio of scorers and also are the team's most experienced players.

Crabbe, the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year last season, shot 10 for 19 and scored Cal's first seven points of the second half and had a steal in the backcourt followed by a pretty one-handed dunk to put the Bears ahead 55-30 with 17:37 remaining to liven up the crowd at Haas Pavilion.

Cal made eight of its first 14 shots on the way to a 21-9 lead 8:21 into the game, with Crabbe scoring eight and hitting two 3s. Eight Bears players had a basket in the first half.

UC Irvine freshman Will Davis II had double-doubles in both of the Anteaters' two exhibition wins - averaging 11.5 points and 10.5 rebounds - but went 4 for 14 from the floor for eight points to go with nine rebounds.

Turner, who has one of the country's youngest rosters with only five returning players, eight freshmen and no seniors will keep his team in the Bay Area to play at San Jose State on Monday night.

"That's a different level of competition that we faced for the first time with a young team, and I thought it just looked like that," Turner said.

UC Irvine has not won in its last five season openers since 2007. The Anteaters haven't beaten a team from the Pac-12 since a 79-63 win at Stanford on Nov. 19, 2005.

This marked the schools' first meeting since Cal's 65-57 victory on Dec. 3, 2003, in Berkeley. Cal, 4-0 in season openers under Montgomery, leads the series 5-2.

Louisville has 'effectively fired' head coach Rick Pitino

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AP

Louisville has 'effectively fired' head coach Rick Pitino

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville has placed coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich on administrative leave amid a federal bribery investigation.

Jurich is on paid leave, while Pitino is on unpaid leave. The coach’s attorney, Steve Spence, told the Courier-Journal Wednesday that Louisville has “effectively fired” Pitino.

Pitino’s exit comes after the school acknowledged on Tuesday that the men’s program is part of a federal investigation into alleged bribery of recruits. The 65-year-old coach was not named in the indictment that resulted in the arrest of 10 people including four assistant coaches at other schools and an Adidas executive.

It is the latest black eye for the Cardinals program. Pitino and Louisville are in the middle of appealing NCAA sanctions following an embarrassing sex scandal.

Jurich has supported Pitino through his transgressions during the athletic director’s nearly 20-year tenure at the university.

Cal fights USC into fourth quarter, can't complete the upset

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AP

Cal fights USC into fourth quarter, can't complete the upset

BOX SCORE

BERKELEY -- Stephen Carr ran for a fourth-quarter touchdown two plays after Southern California's defense forced one of its six turnovers and the fifth-ranked Trojans won their 13th straight game, 30-20 over California on Saturday.

USC (4-0, 2-0 Pac-12) has dominated the series with its in-state rival by winning 14 straight against the Golden Bears (3-1, 0-1), but this was one of the tightest matchups in years as the game was tied early in the fourth quarter.

Sam Darnold threw for 223 yards and two touchdowns for the Trojans but also had an interception and was under pressure for much of the day.

It was the defense that stepped up for USC, intercepting a pass from Ross Bowers in the first quarter to set up a field goal and then delivering the big play early in the fourth quarter after Chase McGrath gave the Trojans a 16-13 lead with his third field goal of the game.

Josh Fatu knocked the ball out of Bowers' hand and Uchenna Nwosu recovered the fumble at the 3. Carr ran it in two plays later from the 2 to make it 23-13.

Ykili Ross then intercepted Bowers' pass on the next possession, setting up Darnold's 4-yard TD pass to Deontay Burnett that put away the game.

Bowers finished 22 for 50 for 303 yards with one touchdown, four interceptions and two lost fumbles.

THE TAKEAWAY

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: The Trojans struggled for much of the game without starting RB Ronald Jones (ankle) and WR Steven Mitchell (groin) but managed to pull away late in their first road game of the season.

CALIFORNIA: The Bears used an improved defense to start 3-0 under first-year coach Justin Wilcox but this was supposed to be the test of how far they had come. Cal showed plenty by sticking with a national title contender for three quarters. A sequence on the opening drive of the second will haunt the Bears. Patrick Laird dropped a potential TD in the end zone and Matt Anderson then missed a 29-yard field goal that kept the game tied at 13.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

A win against an unranked team should do little to alter USC's poll position.

UP NEXT

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Visits No. 18 Washington State on Friday.

CALIFORNIA: Visits No. 24 Oregon on Saturday.