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The Bears bounced back from losing their season opener on Wednesday in their 86-61 win over Northwest. Graduate transfer Ryan Betley had a game high of 14 points and overall Cal shot 50. 8% compared to the Eagles ’37. 9%. The game wasn’t as close as the score indicates, however, as the bears were on top with up to 37 points.
Cal decided to change his starting line-up after a disappointing loss to Oregon State. Joel Brown, Grant Anticevich and Lars Thiemann have been replaced by Makale Foreman, Kuany Kuany and D.. J. . Thorpe. This line-up change proved effective early on as Cal took an early 10-3 lead due to his overwhelming size and all starters except Betley scored at least one basket.
Betley continued his hot shooting from the game in the state of Oregon as he increased Blue and Gold’s lead to 8. The high point of halftime came when freshman Monty Bowser drove down the baseline and dived over Daniel Sharpe from the northwest for his second college-college basket.
Cal defended himself intensely in the first half, forcing Northwest to shoot only 27% from the field and 25% from three. This suffocating defense resulted in many easy fast break points, including three free throws for junior striker Andre Kelly, which gave the Bears a 20-7 lead 10 minutes before the game started. Back-to-back hook shots for Kelly extended Cal’s lead to 17, and a Betley 3-pointer made a 14-0 run and quickly brought the Eagles to a 27-7 deficit. Northwest Junior Guard J.. . R.. . Delgado hit a step, pulled up three to finish the run at 16 and cut the lead to 19.
The Bears’ advantage of scale was fully evident when they outnumbered the Eagles by half by 24-18. Northwest was forced to have many contested jumpers instead of easier shots on the rim. Not only did the Eagles struggle to reach the free-throw line, but they were also unable to take advantage of the rare chance for free points as they missed each of their four free-throw attempts in the first half.
Despite a 41:21 lead, it wasn’t all positive for Cal. The Bears were a little sloppy with the ball, flipping it eight times, while the Eagles only flipped it five times. However, the bear shooting bounced back after a miserable performance against the state of Oregon. They shot north of 40% of three and made more than half of their total shots in the first 20 minutes. The biggest positive result for Cal was the fact that it scored 41 halftime points even though junior guard Matt Bradley only scored 5 points. It’s hard to beat Cal when the supporting cast is consistently insulted.
The second half started as a pure offensive, not a defensive matter. The Bears and Eagles traded easy baskets early on, including an open line-up for second striker Kuany after Bradley’s support. The momentum shifted in Cal’s favor when Bradley got an offensive rebound that put him on the line for the first time in the half.
Bradley then missed both attempts, but followed with one and one in the next possession, where he unusually missed another free throw. The junior star then left the court with an obvious cut on the leg. The Bears were not swayed by their star’s injury, however, as Foreman and Betley splashed threes in a row to extend the lead to 26. Fortunately for Cal, Bradley’s injury wasn’t serious when the junior returned to the game and even attempted a putback dunk.
The bears scored different hits throughout the matchup. From Kelly spin layups to foreman and one reverse lay-ins, the Eagles had no answer to the Cal offense. Bradley clearly learned from the game in Oregon when he played more team ball with lots of extra passes against Northwest instead of forcing his shot again.
The Eagles’ solid start in the second half was over quickly, as their deficit had risen from 20 to 36 points after two consecutive layups by Thiemann – but the game was basically over. Late in the second half, on a quick break, Foreman sprinted onto the court and tossed it to the subsequent Bowser, who got his second high point of the game to take down the Eagles for good.
The Northwest certainly won’t be the toughest opponent the Bears will face this season, but a first win always indicates a step in the right direction.
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Pacific 12 Conference, Oregon State Beavers Men’s Basketball, California Golden Bears, UC Berkeley, Chicago Bears, Basketball, Northwest University
World News – CA – Cal Men’s Basketball Bounces Back 1. Win of the season
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