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Cal Basketball

Cal Upsets No. 21 Colorado, 76-62

February 27, 2020
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Matt Bradley scored 17 first half points and 26 overall and the Cal Bears got their first win over a ranked opponent this season, beating the No. 21 Colorado Buffaloes, 76-62 at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley. It was all Bears from the get-go as Cal jumped out to a 7-0 lead and only trailed for a total of 35 seconds the entire game. Cal (12-16, 6-9) held the lead over Colorado (21-8, 10-6) for 39 minutes of game time.

The Bears set the tone early, knocking down their first three field goals, including a three-pointer from freshman Kuany Kuany. Cal went up 7-0 before Colorado made its first bucket just over three-and-a-half minutes into the game. Both teams continued an offensive clinic, going back-and-forth until Colorado’s Lucas Siewert hit a three, giving Colorado the lead 23-21 with 8:45 to play in the first half.

From that point on, it was all Cal. On the ensuing possession, Matt Bradley knocked down a three, taking back the lead at 24-23. The Bears used a 17-3 run over the final eight minutes of the first half, taking a 12-point halftime lead, 38-26. It would be the first of two hard punches that led to the knockout blow and upset of No. 21 Colorado.

The run was spurred by a 12-1 solo run from Bradley. After knocking down the first three taking the lead 24-23, Bradley repeated with another three but was also fouled by Colorado’s Tyler Bey on the shot. Bradley knocked down the free-throw completing the four-point play. After a Bey free-throw, Bradley followed with his third three in a row. Colorado coach Tad Boyle was then called for a technical foul after an offensive foul was called on the Buffs. It was the third offensive foul called on the Buffs in less than two minutes. Bradley knocked down the free-throws, completing the 12-1 run and pushing the lead to 33-24 with 4:39 in the half.

After about three minutes of no scoring for both teams, Cal’s Joel Brown knocked down a three with 1:28 to play in the first half, extending Cal’s lead to double digits for the first time all game.

Overall, Bradley went off for 17 points in the first half, going 4-of-5 from three and 5-of-9 from the field. Kareem South chipped in eight points in the first half on 4-of-6 from the field. South ended up with 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting for the game. It was by far the best game the graduate transfer has had in Pac-12 play. The Bears shot 50% from the field in the first half including 60% from three. Perhaps more importantly, Cal only turned it over three times in the first half while Colorado coughed it up six times. The Bears scored 12 points off Colorado turnovers in the first half while the Buffs scored none on Cal’s miscues. Overall, Cal converted 11 Colorado turnovers into 21 points. 

In the second half, the Buffs got the score within eight points on multiple occasions but couldn’t close any closer. Each time Colorado got close, the Bears had an answer. Colorado pulled within seven after a Maddox Daniels three-pointer with 11:32 to play. But the Bears answered with a 9-0 run over the next two-and-a-half minutes, stretching the lead to 56-40. Cal would not look back. 

McKinley Wright led the Buffs with 18 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the field. Bey added 13 and Lucas Siewert added 11 for the Buffs. Colorado, which has had the best offense and three-point shooting in league play limped to 20.7% (6-of-29) shooting from behind the arc on the game, including just 3-of-20 (15%) in the second half.

“I think we’re getting better and better,” Bradley said after the game. “It might not show in certain areas, but we’re going to keep continuing to grow, and we just thank everybody for being a part of it.”

Head coach Mark Fox said that playing a terrific team brought out the best in the Bears and tonight, they were able to capitalize.

“A really terrific team brings out the best in you. And I think Colorado has a terrific team,” Fox said. “And a team we have unbelievable respect for. And it brought the best out in us for sure tonight.”

After playing one of its worst games of the season in a 87-52 drubbing to Washington in Seattle, the Bears played arguably one of its best halves of the season during the first half against Colorado.

“It just shows our resiliency — as a team, as a collective,” South said. “I think that obviously that game against Washington was a stinger. So we knew that we had to bounce back. It started in practice and analyzing film that we did wrong.”

South added that having a lot of time from last Saturday to Thursday helped them prepare specifically for the Buffs.

“We had time to prepare and I think that guys came in with the right mentality,” South said. “I seen it in their eyes before the game that they were locked in.”

Fox called it the best and most complete game Cal has played all season.

“For us to win, we’ve obviously got to have a lot of things go right,” Fox said. “You know, sometimes when you have elite talent, you can get away with some things. Our team has a very small margin for error. And so we played very completely today.”

It’s obviously a huge win for the Bears not just from the standpoint of dominating a ranked team, but beating a team it had lost to earlier in the season and a team on the verge of its first Pac-12 hoops conference title. The Bears have a quick turn-around and host Utah at 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Discussion from...

Cal Upsets No. 21 Colorado, 76-62

2,868 Views | 12 Replies | Last: 4 mo ago by HoopDreams
calgldnbear
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Holy quick article posting Batman !!!!

Nicely done Nathan
89Bear
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So proud of the program!!!! Coming off a disaster game, they stood up and delivered against a ranked team.
Awesome!!!
ilovetogobear
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Bradley was doing a lot of knocking down in this game.
upsetof86
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What a game, just when I think I get this team. Is this a team in transition/transformation mode or what? We very well could be a year and a player away from a step change.
oskidunker
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Very enjoyable game. Nice to see Shariff there.
TheSouseFamily
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TheSouseFamily
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Fun fact: with Cal's win over a ranked team, every team in the PAC-12 has now beaten a ranked team (in the coaches poll). In the AP poll, every team but USC has beaten a ranked team.
NathanAllen
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Staff
TheSouseFamily said:

Fun fact: with Cal's win over a ranked team, every team in the PAC-12 has now beaten a ranked team (in the coaches poll). In the AP poll, every team but USC has beaten a ranked team.
That is a fun fact. I had no idea. Thanks for sharing!
oskidunker
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Anyone know when there will be a replay? I have a terrible time finding out on the pac 12 site. Very frustrating.
TheSouseFamily
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And the wild thing is that the 11th place team in the conference, Oregon State, is 2-2 against ranked teams and the top team in the conference (at least as of this minute), Arizona State, is 2-4. Just a strange year in the P12.
NathanAllen
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Staff
Interesting. Although, looking like it will be 2-3 for the Beavs after tonight...
HoopDreams
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and now Cal is in 8th place alone, with Utah a half game behind us. so if we beat utah we will have a bigger lead over them in the standings

senior game saturday!
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