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Cal Basketball

Bears Roar Back With 20-Point Win Over Pacific

December 22, 2021
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BERKELEY - A non-conference schedule -not to mention today’s game- that got off to a rocky start, finished about as smoothly as one could hope as the Bears moved to 8-5 (1-1) after today’s 73-53 come-from-behind victory over Pacific, which fell to 5-9 on the season. The win was the Bears’ eighth straight at Haas Pavilion and their sixth in the last seven games overall.

It was a game of unusual runs, with the Bears jumping out to an early 8-0 lead on a pair of threes from redshirt frosh wing Jalen Celestine and senior forward Grant Anticevich along with another Celestine jumper. But the tide temporarily turned the rest of the half, with the Tigers going on a run of their own to the tune of 30-17 to take a 30-25 lead over the Bears into the locker room.

"Really was a tale of two halves," said head coach Mark Fox. “I really didn't think we played well in the first half, even though I thought we started the game in a decent fashion.

“We didn't play with a lot of authority in the first half, but in the second half, we found our groove, had a lot of guys contribute, Grant with a big night. We looked how we hoped to look in the second half, going into the holidays with a win that will make the holiday break more enjoyable."

The Bears countered out of the break with a trio of threes -two from Anticevich, who established career highs with seven treys and 25 points to lead all scoring- along with another three from Celestine. A Celestine jumper with 16:40 gave the Bears the lead for good as they pulled ahead 36-35.

The next 10 minutes were a back-and-forth affair before the Bears put some wind in their sails and cruised to a 21-2 finish with tough defense and more reliable offense to go along with it as Anticevich stayed hot and a struggling Andre Kelly stepping up to add six points in the run to end with 11 points and six rebounds.  Anticevich, who was playing in front of his parents who traveled from Australia for the holidays, added 11 rebounds to his stellar 9-14 (7-11 from 3) shooting night.

"Shucks, 7 out of 11, that's really good shooting,” said point guard Joel Brown. "His feet were set and he shot with confidence. Grant puts in the work. I'm glad the result showed today, Grant is capable of doing this and we're looking forward to him doing it again sometime soon."

“When Grant’s shooting it like he shoots it, we’re not going to tell him to stop,” Fox said.  “The 3-point shot is not something we’ve utilized enough, but tonight we got in a rhythm and it was a weapon for us.”

Celestine also had a strong night, going 5-6 from the field, with 12 points along with seven rebounds. Kelly and senior guard Jordan Shepherd both finished with 11 on eneven shooting nights for both. Pacific got scoring from everyone in the game, led by point guard Jaden Byers, who scored an efficient 10 points on 4-5 shooting. The Bears outrebounded the Tigers 36-30 and turned over the ball just nine times to Pacific’s 13.

"Our defensive intensity, that's what catalyzed everything for us," said Anticevich. "(We were) running our sets with purpose, people (were) aggressive and just getting easy baskets.”

The Bears will be off for the holidays for the next week until taking the court at Stanford on January 2 at 4 pm. The 7-4 (1-1) Cardinal have a final tuneup against Liberty University tomorrow before heading into the holiday break.

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Bears Roar Back With 20-Point Win Over Pacific

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