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Bears Put it All Together in Rout of Cal State Northridge

December 19, 2020
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BERKELEY- Missing leading scorers Matt Bradley (ankle) and Grant Anticevich (appendix), the Bears nevertheless caught fire in their rout of CSUN today at Haas Pavilion. Normally subtracting nearly half the team’s scoring would be a recipe for disaster for a team struggling to find it’s rhythm after missing two big stretches of practice time due to covid protocols but nearly everything went well today for the Bears, starting from the perimeter, where they shot 53% from three and 61% overall in downing the Matadors, 87-56.

The Bears jumped out to a quick lead right out of the gate, taking a 16-5 lead six minutes into the game when newly-activated Fresno State transfer Jarred Hyder hit a driving layup off a CSUN turnover. The Bears hit five straight buckets in their quick start.

“I just think were ready to go,” said shooting guard Ryan Betley. “Our coaches did a good job with Scout. We’re growing as a team. We hit a game-winner the other day and I think that momentum really helped us. We were kind of in a rut as a team, especially after that Pepperdine loss. 

“We were down the whole game against San Francisco. Coming back from that just showed us we can win, no matter what the scoreboard indicates early on. We just have to stick together and we showed that today.”

The Bears extended their lead with guards Makale Foreman and Betley putting the team on their back in the first half with 15 and 13 points respectively, stretching the lead to 43-25 at the break.

Overall, Cal shot 53 percent (9-of-17) from 3-point range and out-rebounded the Matadors 35-25. The Bears held CSUN to 35 percent shooting and converted 24 points off of Matador turnovers.

CSUN came into the game playing respectible ball, having beaten Pepperdine the same week the Waves defeated Cal and playing a fairly close game in a nine-point loss to Stanford but the Bears dominated from start to finish, with Foreman leading the Bears with 23 points, including 4-of-8 from 3 as well as Betley, with a tremendously-efficient line of 6-for-8 from the field, including 5-of-6 from 3 along with no turnovers in 27 minutes of action.

“We thought it was a qualify performance from our young people,” said head coach Mark Fox after the game. “I thought we did a lot of things that were really sound and allowed us to build a lead and play from in front and get our young guys some experience.”

The Bears emptied their bench, with all 13 available players seeing the floor in Cal’s win.

The Cal defense was stellar, holding CSUN to 34% from the field and outrebounding the Matadors 35-25. They also outscored CSUN on turnovers, 24-12 in the victory.

Point guard Joel Brown played a nice game, as well, going 5-for-5 from the field for 10 points along with 8 assists, 6 rebounds and just one turnover. Continued play like that from the point could serve the Bears well in games to come.

“Joel was really good defensively,” said Fox. “Everyone will probably talk about the fact that he hit all his shots and had eight assists and didn’t turn the ball over much and he was really sound offensively. but his impact on the game was probably greatest on the defensive end because he took on an oustanding player and I thought he did a tremendous job to slow Starks because he’s very, very talented.”

The team didn’t get comfortable with their lead coming out of the locker room, extending the lead to an impressive 40 points when frosh forward Monty Bowser hit the front end of two free throws, putting the Bears up 83-43. The 31-point win was the Bears’ largest margin of victory since a 30-point win over Oregon State on Feb. 24, 2017. Even soph center Lars Thiemann (eight points, six rebounds) had a solid game as did F/C Andre Kelly (seven points, seven rebounds) with a fairly quiet line that nonetheless helped the Bears to victory.

Hyder scored six points on 3-for-7 shooting from the floor in his debut, giving the Bears another much-needed scoring option on the floor and the perimeter.

“Getting Jarred back is huge,” said Fox. “It’s going to allow us to just have a lot more versatility. It’s going to take time for him to get comfortable. It may take him a few weeks. But at least we have him on the court and it’s great to see.”

CSUN (3-3) was led by 10 points and three assists from TJ Starks, who came into the game leading the Matadors in scoring averaging 19.2 points per game after transferring from Texas A&M.

Injury Report: 

Fox noted that Bradley twisted his ankle in the last game and had enough swelling that they opted not to play him. Fox listed him as day-to-day.

Anticevich had an emergency appendectomy in the early hours Friday after his roommate transported him to the hospital. Fox noted he could miss significant time but is on the mend.

Up Next:

Cal will host Seattle U at 2 p.m. (PT) on Tuesday, Dec. 22 at Haas Pavilion CSUN defeated Seattle U this season, 76-65. The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Network, and will be the Bears’ non-conference finale.

Other stories:

Men's Basketball Previews: Cal-State Northridge, Seattle

Jarred Hyder Eligible Immediately

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Bears Put it All Together in Rout of Cal State Northridge

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