BERKELEY -- California sophomore forward Ivan Rabb, when asked about his feelings this week, going into what could likely be his final homestand, said he'd thought about it being his last go-around at Haas Pavilion.
"Yeah, I have," he said. "I haven't put too much time into it, because I still have a lot of games to play, but it's a great possibility."
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1757760-bttv-cuonzo-martin... It was far from "I'm outta here," but it was typical Rabb: Understated, with a soft touch.
Rabb is projected to go No. 14 overall in the NBA Draft by NBA DraftExpress -- right about where he was projected to go last year, before he decided, without much fanfare, to return to Berkeley. Asked whether he had put any thought into what comes after his final games at Haas, he said, simply, "No."
Rabb -- though he wasn't honored on Senior Night against Oregon State -- played like a man sensing the end of his college career. Rabb scored 14 of Cal's 39 first-half points, with an alley-oop dunk to help fuel a 12-0 run that pulled the Bears away from the Beavers, for good, in a 76-46 win.
"I have the opportunity to go or stay," Rabb said. "I'm not sure what's going to happen, but I wanted to take my time coming off the court, slap hands with the fans, and soak in the moment."
Rabb scored five points during that 12-0 run, while fellow senior Jabari Bird helped turn the momentum. With 10:04 left in the first, Bird picked off a bad pass from Daine Muller and took the ball all the way for a tomahawk dunk that brought Haas Pavilion to its feet. After Drew Eubanks completed an and-one play, the Bears (19-9, 10-6 in Pac-12) got going, with an alley-oop lob from senior grad transfer Grant Mullins to Rabb.
Rabb finished with 16 points and nine rebounds, one board away from his 15th double-double of the season. Rabb had just two points and two rebounds after halftime, as the game was well in hand.
"This was the first game we finished -- we had a lead, played well and finished the game," said head coach Cuonzo Martin. "It's never too late, so that's a good sign for us."
Rabb said that the Bears wanted to take out their loss to Oregon on somebody. The Beavers were in the crosshairs.
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1757759-bttv-sam-singer-iv... "I thought we missed some easy shots early, but we settled in to play," Martin said. "We lost to a good team. Learn from it, move forward. As painful as it is, you can't get it back."
While Rabb was the more productive, it was Bird who had the signature moments, including two first-half dunks, and a tomahawk slam with 16:35 to go off a pass from Charlie Moore, who serpentined around three Oregon State defenders to pass off the baseline.
Bird scored 6 points, going 3-for-13 from the floor, and left to a standing ovation from the 9.500 in attendance, which included Sean Marks and most of the 1997 Sweet 16 team, which was honored at halftime, along with coach Ben Braun.
Cal was down early, 14-7, but started clawing back, despite an abysmal .826 points-per-possession mark in the first half. The Bears started 7-of-23 from the field, but after intermission, took advantage of Oregon State miscues. When a JaQuori McLaughlin fall-away jumper fell short on one end, Rabb hit a step-back jumper on the right wing over Eubanks on the other end. After Eubanks flubbed an alley-oop, bouncing it off the back iron, Moore hit a long two from the top of the arc to give Cal a 20-point advantage with 12:58 to go.
That jumper put the capper on a 7-0 run. The Bears hit three straight field goals and six of eight over a five-minute span from 18:15 to 13:04, including that run.
Senior Sam Singer helped engineer a eight-minute second-half stretch run where the Bears made eight straight buckets, with five coming out of Singer's hands.
"It was a perfect ending," Singer said.
He finished with a season-high 14 points on 7-of-7 shooting (a career-best) in 14 minutes. His last bucket came off of an assist from his honorary AEPi fraternity brother, and fellow senior, Stephen Domingo.
"It's very emotional," said Singer, who planted a kiss at half-court before he walked off for the final time. "I had to fight back tears, walking off for the last time. It's been an unbelievable four years, a lot of teammates, different coaches. I'm grateful for this experience, and I'm going to miss it a lot."
"I thanked him for taking a chance on me, a kid from Miami, and I texted John Montgomery, also, and it was great to see coach [Gregg] Gottlieb, part of the staff when I committed here as a freshman," Singer said.
Cal now enters its final road trip -- to Utah and Colorado -- sitting in fourth place in the Pac-12. The Utes are right behind in fifth place, with a conference mark of 9-7. The Buffaloes are 16-13 overall, and 6-10 in Pac-12 play. If the Bears can win out -- and they've beaten both Colorado and Utah (it took double-overtime) this season -- then they will get a first-round bye in the Pac-12 Tournament, which starts on March 8, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
"It's very important, and one of the goals we had at the start of the year," Singer said of the bye. "We had a couple chances these past three or four games to almost clinch that four spot, and we'd lost three in a row. To have a game lead with two games left is something we're excited about, but we have to go out and compete on the road."