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Cal Basketball

Cal Falls to No. 1 Duke in 2K Empire Classic

November 22, 2019

NEW YORK — For the first time this season, no Golden Bear player scored in double figures as the top-ranked Blue Devils were too much for Cal men's basketball to handle. No. 1 Duke topped Cal, 87-52, Thursday night in the semifinal of the 2K Empire Classic benefitting Wounded Warrior Project at Madison Square Garden to hand the Bears their first loss of the season.

Kareem South and D.J. Thorpe led the Bears with 8 points apiece, and Andre Kelly pulled down a team-high 5 rebounds, but Cal recorded its lowest rebound total all season with just 28 boards.

Vernon Carey led Duke with 31 points and 12 rebounds. Carey scored 21 points in the first half. Jack White and Tre Jones hit consecutive 3s in the first half to help stretch a nine-point lead to 19 at halftime, and the Blue Devils never looked back. 

Cal and Duke played an even game to start, with both teams trading baskets to a 13-11 score before the Blue Devils began pulling away with 9 minutes remaining in the first half. By the end of the first half, Duke led, 40-21. 

Postgame Notes:

  • Tonight’s starters – Joel Brown, Kareem South, Matt Bradley, Grant Anticevich, Lars Thiemann
  • The Bears fall to 4-1 on the season.
  • Cal now owns a 2-2 all-time record against Duke.
  • Cal will face Texas in the Empire Classic consolation game at 2 p.m. PT/5 p.m. ET.
  • Cal's 21 points were its fewest scored in the first half this season.
  • Cal committed 27 fouls, its most this season.
  • Jacobi Gordon scored all 5 of his points in the second half. He pulled down a season-high 4 rebounds,
  • D.J. Thorpe scored 8 points, a new high after scoring 2 against California Baptist on Nov. 15.
  • Lars Thiemann matched his career-high 5 points before fouling out at 9:56 in the second half.
  • In his first significant minutes since returning from injury, Kuany Kuany scored 2 points and added 3 rebounds and 1 assist in 5 minutes.
  • Cal's 29 rebounds marked a season low.
  • Cal shot 37 percent (19-52) from the floor.
  • Cal faces Texas in the consolation game of the Empire Classic Friday at 2 p.m. PT/5 p.m. ET on ESPNU.
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Cal Falls to No. 1 Duke in 2K Empire Classic

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