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Cal Basketball

Bears' Last Second Bid For the Win Falls Just Short in 76-75 Loss to Utah

February 11, 2021

Since winning two of three over Washington and Utah, sandwiched around an ugly road loss to Colorado, it’s been nothing but L’s for the Bears with seven straight losses as they’ve struggled to score enough to win or get enough stops to keep the score low enough to overcome their lack of offensive production.

The result was the same today against a somewhat resurgent Utah squad who scorched the nets to the tune of 58% in the first half and 56% from the arc on the way to an 11-point halftime lead before hanging on for a down-to-the-wire 76-75 victory over the Bears.

“I’m really very disappointed for our team said Cal head coach Mark Fox. “I thought we played really hard in the second half. You’ve got ot give Utah credit for doing the same. 

“Our defense was better in the second half. We won the rebounding battle. But quite frankly, we got worn out at the free throw line. That’s a hard place to defend.”

The Bears finally got some balanced scoring in the game, with four Bears in double digits, led by Matt Bradley (20 points on 7-12 shooting), Grant Anticevich (18 points, also on 7-12 shooting, 8 rebounds), Andre Kelly (17 points, 6-8 shooting, 6 rebounds) and Makale Foreman, who’s starting to bounce back from a back injury with 12 points for the game.

Not content to fold after their miserable late first half, the Bears jumped right back into the game in the second half with five quick points to start the half on a jumper by Joel Brown and a quick trey from a previously-struggling Grant Anticevich in the first minute of the closing stanza. A pair of Andre Kelly free throws closed the gap to three before Utah again got on the board.

The Bears eventually took their first lead in 17 minutes on a Bradley layup, 56-55 with 8:48 remaining. Two minutes later, the Utah retook the lead and managed to hold off the Bears the rest of the contest in securing the win in the rubber match.

Every time it looked like the game would be out of reach for the Bears, they somehow came clawing back, whittling the Ute’s lead to just two on their last possession, with Bradley’s last-second three attempt coming tantalizingly close to going in before popping out into Kelly’s hands, who was fouled on the putback attempt.

After back-to-back Utah timeouts to freeze Kelly, the junior post missed the first of two free throws, sealing the Bears’ fate in their attempt to get back in the win column.

In their prior six losses, the Bears simply didn’t score enough to win, scoring just 57, 68, 68, 50, 55 and 70 in their losses. Only stellar defense or a poor effort by their opponents will usually earn you a win with those anemic numbers.

After another poor offensive start, the Bears scored 44 second half points, rebounded fairly well and played better defense, though team foul trouble put the Utes on the line far too often, which was essentially the biggest factor in the Bears’ loss with Utah’s 21 points from the line far outpacing Cal’s 11.

If the team can get production on both ends of the floor and the balanced scoring they saw in the second half tonight, their final five games against Colorado and the Washington and Oregon schools should present some opportunities to get back in the win column and give them something to build on to close out the abbreviated 2020-21 season.

Cal falls to 7-15 (2-13) on the season while the Utes moved to 9-7 (6-6).

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Bears' Last Second Bid For the Win Falls Just Short in 76-75 Loss to Utah

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