NCAA

Rabb's big night gives Cal bragging rights over Stanford

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AP

Rabb's big night gives Cal bragging rights over Stanford

BOX SCORE

BERKELEY -- Ivan Rabb's plan to go aggressively at Stanford didn't exactly get off to an encouraging start when he was limited to one shot in the first 11 minutes.

California's leading scorer finally got going after an alley-oop dunk midway through the first half, and the Golden Bears followed along.

Rabb had 25 points and 13 rebounds and California pulled away late in the second half to beat Stanford 66-55 on Sunday.

"My plan was to come out aggressive early but the ball just wasn't coming my way at first," Rabb said. "Guys were getting good shots so I can't complain about that. I was just trying to play the game the right way."

Jabari Bird added 17 points to help the Golden Bears (15-6, 6-3 Pac-12) win in front of a standing-room-only crowd following an eight-day break.

Rabb overcame a sluggish start and scored 15 points in the second half, including eight over the final six minutes to go with a key block down the stretch. Rabb shot 7 of 9 from the floor and made 9 of 14 free throws while finishing one point shy of his career high.

The win moves California into a three-way tie for third place in the Pac-12 along with No. 8 UCLA and Utah.

"I think we're growing," Rabb said after the Bears fifth win in the past six games. "In the first half the shots weren't going in but they looked good, they felt good."

Reid Travis scored 17 points and Michael Humphrey added 10 points and nine rebounds for Stanford (11-10, 3-6). The Cardinal lost to their cross-bay rivals for only the third time in the last nine games.

Stanford was within 51-45 following a pair of free throws by Humphrey with 6:11 left before Rabb's late burst helped the Bears pull away.

Rabb scored six straight points for the Bears including four free throws. Grant Mullins followed with a 3-pointer and Kameron Rooks had a free throw before Rabb's emphatic dunk pushed California's lead to 63-48.

That was big on a night when the Bears made only 18 of 31 free throws.

"For us offensively we have to flow through (Rabb)," California coach Cuonzo Martin said. "He settles in, sees how the double-team is coming and he makes plays from there."

Stanford had its own shooting problems and lost its second straight following a three-game winning streak.

"They did a nice job of adjusting and getting the ball into the paint more," said Stanford coach Jerod Haase, who played for the Bears in 1992-93. "That opened up angles for them and gave Rabb good looks."

Neither team shot well in the first half until Rabb helped shake the Bears out of their funk.

RABB GOES DEEP

Rabb is trying to extend his game beyond the arc and is slowly making progress in that area. The 6-foot-11 sophomore made two 3-pointers to tie for the team-high, and is 6 of 11 from long range this year after attempting only two 3s his entire freshman season. "That's a shot we wanted him to take last year because he can shoot it," Martin said. "I expect him to shoot those."

BIG PICTURE

Stanford: Travis continues to be bothered by a right shoulder injury and went 7 of 15 from the floor but scored 10 straight points during one stretch in the second half. He had missed four of the previous six games because of the injury. ... Overall, the Cardinal shot just 38.8 percent as a team and committed 15 turnovers.

California: The Bears continue to be plagued by inconsistency, an ongoing issue. Cal made the opening basket but went scoreless for the next six minutes. ... It's Rabb's 10th double-double in 18 games after a late start to the season due to a toe injury. ... Bird moved past Joe Shipp into eighth place on the school's career 3-point list (158).

UP NEXT

Stanford: Returns to Maples Pavilion and will play Colorado on Thursday. The Cardinal haven't beaten the Buffs since 2011-12.

California: Hosts Utah on Thursday. The Utes have won five of the last six games between the two schools, including twice in overtime.

Quinnen Williams, possible Raiders draft target, misses mark in Alabama's loss

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USATSI

Quinnen Williams, possible Raiders draft target, misses mark in Alabama's loss

SANTA CLARA -- Quinnen Williams proved Monday night that he can talk a big game, even if he doesn’t play one.

The Alabama defensive tackle, whom many project to be a top-five pick if he leaves school for the 2019 NFL draft, didn’t exactly show out in the College Football Playoff National Championship at Levi’s Stadium. The redshirt sophomore finished with just four total tackles (three solo, one assist) and 1.5 for loss.

Williams went relatively unnoticed in Clemson’s 44-16 rout, except for this first-quarter stop that showcased his power.

Williams, who entered the game tied for second on the Crimson Tide with eight sacks this season, didn’t register any noticeable pass rush -- to be fair, no one on Alabama did -- as the Tigers handily won the title.

Still, Williams wasn’t that impressed by what he saw from the now-national champions.

“They really didn’t do anything that caught us off guard,” Williams said. “We knew everything that was coming. They ran zone. They ran go routes, 50-50 balls.

“[Clemson QB] Trevor Lawrence threw the ball, and it looked like he put it on the money. He didn’t drop dimes, none of that. He threw it up, and the receivers made plays. All the respect to the receivers.”

While Williams later called Lawrence “good,” his comments were reminiscent of his pre-Orange Bowl words on Kyler Murray, when he smartly stopped himself from criticizing Oklahoma’s Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback. Williams showed no such restraint this time, and while you could chalk it up to the hurt of losing a national title game, NFL teams surely will ask him in pre-draft interviews about how he'll handle such situations.

As for his NFL draft status, Williams didn’t want to say much, claiming he really hadn’t thought about the possibility of turning pro after the season.

“I don’t know yet, man,” he said. “I got to go home, watch this film first, get with my teammates and let them know, man, everything.”

New Raiders general manager Mike Mayock, whose team has been linked to Williams with the No. 4 overall pick in numerous mock drafts, saw the defensive tackle in person Monday. Whether he liked what he saw or heard remains to be seen over the next three months.

DeAndre Hopkins explains how Clemson keeps producing NFL-level talent

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AP

DeAndre Hopkins explains how Clemson keeps producing NFL-level talent

SANTA CLARA -- The Clemson Tigers came into Monday night's College Football Playoff National Championship with a shorter list of 2019 NFL Draft talents than their counterparts, the Alabama Crimson Tide. But not if you ask some notable alumni.

To Houston Texans All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, the next wave of NFL stars are Tigers.

“The way they prepare here at Clemson, the strength and condition program, Joey Batson and Larry Greenlee do a good job of getting those guys ready for the next level," Hopkins told NBC Sports Bay Area after Clemson's stunning 44-16 blowout win in the title game at Levi's Stadium. "I think they’re definitely ready for the next level."

Clemson has produced 29 picks in the last five NFL drafts. The last time the program didn't have one of its players called come April was all the way back in 2002.

Watching with former Clemson stars Deshaun Watson, Vic Beasley Jr., Mike Williams, and Tajh Boyd, Hopkins witnessed one of the greatest teams in college football history. The 2018 Tigers accomplished a feat 121 years in the making, becoming the first FBS football team to go 15-0 or 16-0 since Penn in 1897.

“To me, it means a lot. I’m from Clemson, S.C., so to see this team do what they did … I think they are (the greatest ever)," Hopkins said. "I think they can be one of the best teams ever. Do it again next year, for sure.”

The last statement is what means the most to Hopkins and everyone else who once wore a Clemson Tigers jersey. Coach Dabo Swinney took to the podium immediately after the win and said he'll soak it all up now, but he'll get back to film Friday and start preparing for next season.

“I think this is the next dynasty," Hopkins said. "Deshaun Watson started it by winning a national championship here. I think those guys are going to continue it.

"I think they’re gonna be here next year and the year after.”

That's not hard to imagine, either.

Freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence wowed with his precision passing, throwing for 347 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. His top target, Justyn Ross, made one-handed catches as a recently turned 19-year-old and finished the night with six catches for 148 yards and two TDs.

Clemson made its fourth playoff clash with Alabama look easy. The biggest names in the NFL know, too, that these could be the next stars of not only Saturdays but Sundays before we know it.