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Bears Pummel Santa Clara, 84-69

December 2, 2023
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HAAS PAVILION - The Bears got a big boost with the return of Memphis portal transfer guard Keonte Kennedy in his Bears’ debut as the Bears easily handled a talented Santa Clara team with an 84-69 win in Berkeley. The Bears were led by guard Jalen Cone who went for 26 on 8-for-11 from the field and an unstoppable 7-for-10 from 3.

"It was just electrifying to be able to be out there with my teammates again," Kennedy said. "I feel like I bring that energy mentality. That's all it was, just playing hard, just playing with my teammates. It was Jaylon Tyson's birthday so I was just excited we got that win."

"Keonte worked so hard to get through that injury," head Coach Mark Madson said after the game. "He's been diligent. He was cleared ahead of time by the surgeon. And I think a lot of that has to do with our training staff. A lot of that has to do with Keonte just the way he works. But I was really proud of everybody, the guys who played, the guys that didn't play with the energy on the bench, and hopefully we can continue to play this way and build on it."

The Broncos came in at 7-1 with wins over Stanford and Oregon but were without leading scorer and rebounder Carlos Marshall, who has averaged 15.6 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. No stranger to playing shorthanded in much greater numbers themselves, expect no compassion from the win-starved Bears and their fans.

The Bears came out of the gate with an intensity on both ends of the court that’s been lacking much of the season. After the Broncos took a 10-9 lead on a 3-point jumper by forward Johnny O’Neil, the Bears went on a 13-0 run on a pair of 3’s from Cone and Tyson, a bucket and-1 from center Fardaws Aimaq and a pair of layups from Grant Newell and Rodney Brown to go up 23-9 with 11:54 remaining in the half.

Cone was a first half spark for the Bears, hitting a scalding 4-of-5 from the perimeter and finishing the half with a trio of free throws after being hacked on an off-balance 3-point attempt to push the Bears’ lead to 17. A final-minute trey from Santa Clara guard Adama-Alpha Bal narrowed the halftime lead to 14 with the Bears up 45-31 at the break.

The Bears maintained their intensity out of the break as they quickly built their lead to 17, including a 3 and a layup from Cone, who stayed hot. After the Broncos whittled the lead down to 11 with 13:15 left, the Bears went on a 7-point run and extended their lead to 18 with 11:13 remaining. Not ready to lay down, Santa Clara went on a 7-point run of their own as the Bears aided their rally with some sloppy ball-handling and turnovers to again cut the Bears’ lead to 11. 

After a pair of Kennedy free throws, in danger of letting their win opportunity dissipate, Cal fans tensely watched Santa Clara rally with a pair of layups and a three from center Christoph Tilly to narrow the Cal lead to 6 with 7:37 left in the game.

Again the Bears staved off the rally, with Tyson hitting a pair of critical buckets with a 3 and a layup in traffic followed by an Aimaq layup and another Cone three. Suddenly, the Bears found themselves with a 16-point lead again in a span of less than 3 minutes with their 10-point run with 3:27 left. A pair of Kennedy free throws and a thundering Grant Newell dunk extended the run to 14 and the Bears’ lead to a game-high 20 before a Tyeree Bryan 3 ended the run.

If there was any doubt about Kennedy’s health, an explosive one-handed dunk in the final minute over a defender quickly dispelled that notion.

Despite a height advantage with contributing post players of 7’1, 7’0 and 6’11, the Bears hung in on the boards, being narrowly outrebounded 40-39.

Aimaq had a solid game, contributing 15 points on 7-for-15 shooting while often disrupting the Broncos’ shots. Tyson had a his best game of the season, adding 21 points on 8-for-12 from the floor along with 11 rebounds, 2 assists and no turnovers. Overall, the Bears took care of the ball much better than they have so far this season with only 8 turnovers. They only forced 10 Santa Clara TOs but they made them count, scoring 17 points off the giveaways.

The win brings the Bears to 3-5 on the season. They will next face a tough 6-2 Butler squad at noon in the fabled Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis at 2 pm PST.

Discussion from...

Bears Pummel Santa Clara, 84-69

4,612 Views | 17 Replies | Last: 7 mo ago by calumnus
Oakbear
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Nice to see the low turnovers, big change
79 Bear
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Great write-up MB. Sounds like it was a fun game to watch.
rkt88edmo
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Hopefully Cone can keep a hot hand against bigger and more athletic defenders. I know we've had 3pt shooters in the past who seemed automatic against lesser teams but in conference play it was much harder to score.
MoragaBear
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Staff
79 Bear said:

Great write-up MB. Sounds like it was a fun game to watch.
So fun to watch. The energy was high and Kennedy just brought a different vibe to the team, just like we heard about over the summer.
RJABear
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That was the most fun, with the most spontaneous cheering, we have had at a Cal Basketball game in years. Sure, Stanford last year was a blast, but it felt like a fluke game where thh Bears could not miss a 3-pt shot.

The Santa Clara game was just good basketball.

OdontoBear66
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MoragaBear said:

79 Bear said:

Great write-up MB. Sounds like it was a fun game to watch.
So fun to watch. The energy was high and Kennedy just brought a different vibe to the team, just like we heard about over the summer.
And I love the continuous smile on his face. Seems like he is really having fun out there.
TheFiatLux
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It's so nice to feel good about Cal basketball again. It's also nice to see energy back in Haas. I think Madsen will have this thing shining faster than many people thought.

Feels good.
oskidunker
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MoragaBear said:

79 Bear said:

Great write-up MB. Sounds like it was a fun game to watch.
So fun to watch. The energy was high and Kennedy just brought a different vibe to the team, just like we heard about over the summer.


Yes. Made 8-8 free throws. Good at drawing fouls. I think his shooting from the field will improve
Go Bears!
calumnus
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TheFiatLux said:

It's so nice to feel good about Cal basketball again. It's also nice to see energy back in Haas. I think Madsen will have this thing shining faster than many people thought.

Feels good.


Agreed, though I think fan's opinion has been a bit of a roller coaster. Initially it was unrelenting optimism thinking we would be good out the gate, then early results produced some radical readjustment to expectations and even pessimism, now we are back to unrelenting optimism! Go Bears!
graguna
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calumnus said:

TheFiatLux said:

It's so nice to feel good about Cal basketball again. It's also nice to see energy back in Haas. I think Madsen will have this thing shining faster than many people thought.

Feels good.


Agreed, though I think fan's opinion has been a bit of a roller coaster. Initially it was unrelenting optimism thinking we would be good out the gate, then early results produced some radical readjustment to expectations and even pessimism, now we are back to unrelenting optimism! Go Bears!
Real depth will be the achilles heal. I keep hearing "when we're fully healthy....."; what team is ever fully healthy?
We need last night's team and one other guy back to be a mid-Pac 12 team this year.
calumnus
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graguna said:

calumnus said:

TheFiatLux said:

It's so nice to feel good about Cal basketball again. It's also nice to see energy back in Haas. I think Madsen will have this thing shining faster than many people thought.

Feels good.


Agreed, though I think fan's opinion has been a bit of a roller coaster. Initially it was unrelenting optimism thinking we would be good out the gate, then early results produced some radical readjustment to expectations and even pessimism, now we are back to unrelenting optimism! Go Bears!
Real depth will be the achilles heal. I keep hearing "when we're fully healthy....."; what team is ever fully healthy?
We need last night's team and one other guy back to be a mid-Pac 12 team this year.


Kennedy was/is the key. Last night's team plus Celestine wins more games than they lose.
59bear
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calumnus said:

graguna said:

calumnus said:

TheFiatLux said:

It's so nice to feel good about Cal basketball again. It's also nice to see energy back in Haas. I think Madsen will have this thing shining faster than many people thought.

Feels good.


Agreed, though I think fan's opinion has been a bit of a roller coaster. Initially it was unrelenting optimism thinking we would be good out the gate, then early results produced some radical readjustment to expectations and even pessimism, now we are back to unrelenting optimism! Go Bears!
Real depth will be the achilles heal. I keep hearing "when we're fully healthy....."; what team is ever fully healthy?
We need last night's team and one other guy back to be a mid-Pac 12 team this year.


Kennedy was/is the key. Last night's team plus Celestine wins more games than they lose.
I hope you're right. It strikes me that Askew, Kennedy and Celestine are probably must-haves if we are to see any appreciable success this year.
bearsandgiants
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I felt like Askew was a problem early on and it took him a bit to realize he has an important role, not that his role is to be most important. Just as he figured that out, he got hurt. Now Kennedy is back, and they'll be fully healthy with Celestine, except for Askew. Again, I see them gelling, only to have Askew return and make things weird again. As long as he holds onto that knowledge that he's a critical part of whole that is greater than the sum of those parts, this team really has a chance to be a force. Sadly, our 5 losses so far likely kill any chance of a tournament bid as 20 wins now seems almost impossible. I could see us winning 17, getting to the Pac12 final, and still getting screwed out of the tournament, finishing with 19 wins, one shy of threshold everyone seems to think matters. I do think, when fully healthy, this team has a chance to win the pac12, though, if they continue to grow. That last game was the most exciting game out of any of the last 5 seasons, I think.
bearsandgiants
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btw, that camera angle looked like it's still in the nosebleeds, to me.
KoreAmBear
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bearsandgiants said:

I felt like Askew was a problem early on and it took him a bit to realize he has an important role, not that his role is to be most important. Just as he figured that out, he got hurt. Now Kennedy is back, and they'll be fully healthy with Celestine, except for Askew. Again, I see them gelling, only to have Askew return and make things weird again. As long as he holds onto that knowledge that he's a critical part of whole that is greater than the sum of those parts, this team really has a chance to be a force. Sadly, our 5 losses so far likely kill any chance of a tournament bid as 20 wins now seems almost impossible. I could see us winning 17, getting to the Pac12 final, and still getting screwed out of the tournament, finishing with 19 wins, one shy of threshold everyone seems to think matters. I do think, when fully healthy, this team has a chance to win the pac12, though, if they continue to grow. That last game was the most exciting game out of any of the last 5 seasons, I think.
I think the outside chance is the last 10 games thing they may or may not look at. I've seen teams make it as an at-large with 17 to 18 wins in tough conferences and high SOS. So if we are a completely different team by March than the one that lost to Pacific and Montana State, then it's not out of the realm of possibility. Unlikely yes. But let's just get much better, and see how it goes.
oskidunker
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bearsandgiants said:

btw, that camera angle looked like it's still in the nosebleeds, to me.


Yes, its horrible. Glad I go all the home games.
Go Bears!
calumnus
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bearsandgiants said:

I felt like Askew was a problem early on and it took him a bit to realize he has an important role, not that his role is to be most important. Just as he figured that out, he got hurt. Now Kennedy is back, and they'll be fully healthy with Celestine, except for Askew. Again, I see them gelling, only to have Askew return and make things weird again. As long as he holds onto that knowledge that he's a critical part of whole that is greater than the sum of those parts, this team really has a chance to be a force. Sadly, our 5 losses so far likely kill any chance of a tournament bid as 20 wins now seems almost impossible. I could see us winning 17, getting to the Pac12 final, and still getting screwed out of the tournament, finishing with 19 wins, one shy of threshold everyone seems to think matters. I do think, when fully healthy, this team has a chance to win the pac12, though, if they continue to grow. That last game was the most exciting game out of any of the last 5 seasons, I think.


I am not convinced Askew is as critical as others believe, other than to provide limited minutes backing up Kennedy, but agree he is best if he focuses on being a role player.
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