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Cal Basketball

Cal Hoops: Bears Topple Buffs, 71-62

February 13, 2021

For the second year in a row, the Colorado Buffaloes came into Haas Pavilion Saturday night with a much better season and league record than Cal. And also for the second year, the Bears came out an unlikely winner, this time  71-62,

Junior guard Matt Bradley paved the way for the Bears (8-15, 3-13 Pac-12) with 28 points on 9-of-17 shooting from the field, including 13 points in the second half. Bradley also grabbed eight rebounds, including three on the offensive side. Freshman wing Jalen Celestine had a breakout game and was the only other Bear in double figures, adding 13 points on 3-of-5 shooting from the field. Celestine started for just the second time in his young career in Berkeley. Junior forward Andre Kelly led the Bears with 10 rebounds.

While Bradley led the way in scoring, it was Celestine that got things going for the Bears. Celestine knocked down the game's first bucket — a three-pointer off an assist from senior forward Grant Anticevich. Three minutes later, Celestine knocked down his second three, pushing an early Cal lead to 10-4 less than four minutes into the game. Four minutes after that, Celestine nailed his third three. Bradley and Celestine combined for 15 of Cal’s first 20 points.

The teams largely went back-and-forth in the first half. With 2:21 to go in the first half, Colorado (16-6, 10-5 Pac-12), took a 31-27 lead. But Cal ended the half on a key 9-2 run to take a 36-33 lead into the locker room. Colorado scored the first five points in the second half to take a 38-36 lead, but, once again, Cal responded, this time with a pivotal 12-4 run, taking a 48-42 lead with 14:18 to play in the game. That ended up being the game’s defining run as the Bears never relinquished the lead despite Colorado getting close on multiple occasions. 

Each time Colorado made a push to regain the lead, Cal turned the Buffs away. Colorado drew within one point after a McKinley Wright and-one, bringing the score to 50-49 with Cal at the 10:45 mark. Cal scored the game’s next three points over two minutes to push its lead back to four, 53-49. The Buffs got within two points again at 55-53 with 6:14 in the game. But a 5-0 Cal run, pushed the lead to seven, Cal’s biggest of the game.

Colorado got within two points twice in the last three minutes, first 60-58 with 2:21 to play and then 62-60 with 1:02 left. With 40 seconds to play, Cal’s Bradley knocked down a dagger of a three-point shot, pushing Cal’s lead to 65-60. After Colorado’s D’Shawn Schwartz missed a three at the other end, Cal knocked down enough free throws to hold off the Buffs and take the game.

Both teams shot exactly 22-of-55 (40%) from the field. The difference was Cal went 7-of-22 (32%) from three while the Buffs went 3-of-15 (20%) and Cal went 20-of-28 (71%) from the free-throw line while the Buffs went 15-of-21 (71%). Cal also had solid ball-movement, earning 13 assists on 22 made field goals. It was an uncharacteristically cold shooting night for Colorado, which came into the game shooting 38.1% from three as a team and a nation-leading 83% from the free-throw line. 

It was a nearly opposite game in every aspect compared to the first time the teams met this season on January 14th when Colorado won 89-60 in Boulder. Wright led the way in scoring for the Buffs with 13 points, but was very inefficient from the field, going 3-of-11. Wright went 7-of-8 from the free-throw line. The only other Buff to finish in double digits for scoring was Eli Parquet with 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field. 

The Bears are back in action at Washington State on Thursday.

More stories:

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

Utah Preview: It Will Be Tougher for Bears This Time

Discussion from...

Cal Hoops: Bears Topple Buffs, 71-62

3,856 Views | 3 Replies | Last: 2 yr ago by Chapman_is_Gone
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Great game Bears!
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Congratulations to the team! There have been some tough losses this year. Great to see them make some timely buckets and secure timely stops.

Go Bears!
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