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Cal Basketball

Bears Blow 16-Point Lead, Fall to ASU 71-69

December 31, 2023

HAAS PAVILION - The Bears rang out the year with an excrutiatingly loss to start the Pac-12 season winless in their first homestand as ASU overcame a 15-point deficit with less than 10 minutes to play in a 71-69 victory over Cal.

“We didn’t execute down the stretch,” Cal head coach Mark Madsen said. “That’s squarely on me as a head coach. We have to be better. We will be better. That’s what I told guys in the locker room.

“Give credit to Arizona State. We knew the press was coming. We worked on the press for two days in a row. And ultimately, I didn’t put the guys in good position to defeat the press.”

It was feast or famine for leading scorer Jaylon Tyson, with the junior contributing 20 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists but the points came on just 6-of-15 shooting along with 5 critical turnovers. The Bears had 15 turnovers overall which led to 18 Sun Devils points. Guard Frankie Collins led ASU with 25 points on 10-for-17 shooting from the floor, including three 3’s.

The Bears got off to an early lead on the strength of a pair of Jalen Cone 3’s and some slick buckets by Tyson to go up 14-9 with 11:18 left in the first half at the first timeout break. The Bears doubled ASU’s rebound total in the opening eight minutes and held the Sun Devils to just 4-of-14 shooting in the opening stretch. However, five early turnovers, including a pair of careless travel calls kept the game closer than it should’ve been.

The Bears had five straight empty possessions after the timeout before finally getting back on the board with a Fardaws Aimaq free throw. After getting a stop, Tyson got things fired up for the Bears, hitting a tough driving bucket in traffic and converting the free throw then picking up a steal on the defensive end and throwing it down with authority on ASU forward Kamari Lands to give the Bears a 20-12 lead. 

A pair of single free throws by Cone and guard Keonte Kennedy followed by an Aimaq layup completed a 10-0 Cal run to push their lead to 24-12 with 6:53 remaining in the half. ASU countered with three straight 3’s to narrow the lead but a pair of Kennedy buckets on a layup and jam extended the lead to 8 with 3:34 left in the half.

A Kennedy bucket closed out the socring for the half, pushing the Bears’ lead back to 10, 35-25 at the break. Tyson was all over the court for the Bears in the opening stanza, adding 10 points. 3 boards. 3 assists and 4 steals by the break. Aimaq also added 10 first half boards to pace the Bears.

The Bears came out hot in the second half with Tyson and Aimaq hitting back-to-back 3’s in the opening minutes to extend their lead to 14, 41-27. A Kennedy layup further pushed the lead to 16 with 16:11 remaining.

ASU slowed the Bears roll with a pair of treys from guards Adam Miller and Frankie Collins but three straight buckets by forward Grant Newell pushed the Bears lead by out to 14 with 12:04 remaining.

A pair of Newell free throws and a kick-out jumper from the soph forward extended the lead back to 14 after an Alonza Gaffney trey but the Sun Devils came back with another 3 from Lands to keep the Bears in sight. Lands and the Sun Devils weren’t done, with the ASU forward hitting another pair of 3’s and Collins adding a bucket and-1 to narrow the Bears’ lead to 5 with 7:47 remaining for a 9-0 run. A pair of Tyson free throws broke the run but the Sun Devils came back with another Lands 3 to narrow it to 4.

A pair of turnovers by Tyson and Cone further fueled ASU’s furious comeback as the Sun Devils narrowed the lead to just one on a Perez layup and free throw after a Tyson foul with 4:07 left. A Miller free throw and a driving layup by Collins gave ASU their first lead since the opening minutes at 64-62 with 3:12 left. An Aimaq bucket and-1 finally cooled off the blazing Sun Devils to push the Bears back in front, 65-64 with 1:58 left.

ASU countered with a Collins jumper but a pair of free throws by Tyson gave the Bears the lead again with 1:35 remaining. A follow jam by Gaffney pushed ASU in front with :43 left and a careless turnover by Tyson on a wild pass gave the Sun Devils the ball back with the lead.

Tyson narrowly missed a steal on the inbounds pass coming out of the timeout but Collins hit a layup in traffic as the play clock ticked down to push ASU’s lead to 3. Cone was fouled on the inbounds pass and hit a pair of free throws with :06 left but were forced to foul ASU to get the ball back. Collins hit the first free throw but after the rebound, Tyson let fly early and was way off the mark as the clock ran out on the Bears’ chances to finish 2023 with a much-needed win.

“Man, it was just unacceptable what just happened,” Cone said after the game. “We had to take care of the ball and we didn’t. We didn’t get the defensive stops. We didn’t perform the way we need to perform.

“It’s on us,” Kennedy said. “We had the game plan. We didn’t execute. We’ve got to be better. We’ll take the loss on us and we’ll watch the film, practice, go out on the road. We’ve got two games on the road and we’ll take care of that then we’ll be back home.”

Discussion from...

Bears Blow 16-Point Lead, Fall to ASU 71-69

2,403 Views | 3 Replies | Last: 6 mo ago by joe amos yaks
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Madsen has a ways to go as an X's and O's coach
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Inexplicable: (1) the back to back turnovers on inbounds plays (2) Cone's quick three pointer with about a minute to go.
joe amos yaks
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What happened? Why did we not win? We should have beat the snot out of that ASu complainer.
"Those who say don't know, and those who know don't say." - LT
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