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Cal Basketball

Cal Rolls Over Idaho State, 72-46

December 8, 2021

Coming off the difficult loss at Utah on Sunday, Cal’s men's basketball team asserted itself in the second half and routed Idaho State, 72-46, at Haas Pavilion Wednesday night. And the Bears made their big move with most of their starters on the bench.

The Bears (5-5) couldn’t quite shake the visiting Bengals from the Big Sky Conference in the first half. Cal was up 30-23 at the half, but Idaho State, which has lost eight straight after winning its season opener, made a bit of a move early in the second half and cut Cal’s lead to 31-28 with 18:26 left.

Trying to shake up his team, head coach Mark Fox put in some reserves and those players made their presence felt.

“I was a little bit disappointed in how we played in the first half on the offensive end, we just didn’t have any juice,” Fox said afterward. “I thought our cuts were a little bit lethargic. I didn’t think that we played with a lot of authority on the offensive end. ...our defense was consistent enough to allow us to build a small lead.

“In the second half, our bench came through. You want your team to play harder, you put in hard-playing dudes. Joel (Brown), Sam (Alajiki), and Lars (Thiemann) came in and the game instantly changed and was basically over. Credit those guys, for us a lot of guys played and had a chance to make plays.”

The Bears started playing lockdown defense and took over the boards. They reeled off 13 straight points and just took it from there. Idaho State finished with just five field goals (in 25 attempts) in the second half. And Cal outrebounded the Bengals 44-32.

‘I thought our bench was terrific. They have been waiting their turn. :

Balanced scoring was the order of the night for Cal, which had four players in the double figures. Andre Kelly and Thiemann, who came off the bench, had 12 points each. Jordan Shephard scored 11 and Grant Anticevich had 10.

The Bears were without forward Kuany Kuany, who was injured in the Utah game. It took Cal a while to adjust to his absence.

“Without Kuany tonight we were a little bit disjointed. There was a time when we need Kuany,” Fox said. “You throw a lineup out there with Sam and Grant and they really can’t run the whole playbook. That probably contributed to our poor start offensively.”

On Saturday the Bears take on Santa Clara, which will be much more of a challenge than Idaho State. 

“We got a real good team coming in here on Saturday, we are going to need the Cal family,” Fox said. “We are going to bring the water polo trophy, we are going to bring the Axe, we are going to bring it all.”

After a week off for final exams the Bears take on Dartmouth at home on Dec. 19.

“This is a critical time of the season,” Fox said. This is where you can make your team better. And we need to get all the pieces, so we can make the progress. It’s a marathon of a season. There obviously are exams and then the rest of the month.”

Other stories:

Cal Drops Road Contest At Utah

Bears Open Pac-12 Play With 73-61 Win Over OSU

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Cal Rolls Over Idaho State, 72-46

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