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Cal Basketball

Bears Pull Out OT Thriller in 81-75 Victory Over WSU

January 20, 2024

HAAS PAVILION - After suffering a heartbreaking buzzer-beating loss to Washington Thursday, the Bears were badly in need of a win in the final game of their homestand against two solid but beatable opponents. It wasn’t easy but the Bears overcame a heartbreaking buzzer-beating 3 that sent the game into OT and pulled away in the extra stanza for a much-needed 81-75 win at Haas Pavilion Saturday afternoon.

The Bears got a monster game from guard Jaylon Tyson, who put up a season-high 30 points along with 9 rebounds and 5 assists. He was also an impressive 9-for-10 from the line in the win. Center Fardaws Aimaq also came up big with 18 points and 14 rebounds in the victory.

“Man, we needed it,” Aimaq said after the game with a smile. “Losing close ones are obviously always tough but we’ve been in this situation before early on in the season and just to see that we’ve grown from previous mistakes, it’s the right steps that we’re taking.”

“This is a good win,” Tyson said. “We need to start stacking them now. We have Stanford out here next week. It would be fun to see the fan base out here be loud and proud,”

The Cougars jumped out to an 11-7 early lead on the strength of a trio of 3-pointers, including a pair from forward Andrei Jakimovski in the opening five minutes. The Bears took their first lead at 15-14 on a Grant Newell trey with 12:23 left in the half.

The Bears pushed their lead to as high as 11 in the next three minutes as they completed a 13-2 run with a trio of 3’s from Newell, Jalen Celestine and Jalen Cone to go up 27-16. Cone ripped the nets for three 3-pointers in the first half for the Bears.

WSU gradually pared their deficit down to 3 on a 13-5 run capped by a Jakimovski 3 but a pair of dunks in traffic by Aimaq and Tyson closed out the half, giving the Bears a 36-29 lead.

After some early success, the Bears struggled to score against the stingy WSU defense as the Cougars whittled away at Cal’s lead, eventually tying it at 42 with 13:21 left in the game on a Jaylon Wells jumper and free throw after the foul.

After a Cone layup, a pair of Isaac Jones jumpers gave WSU their first lead since the early minutes of the game, 46-44.

As the Bears continued to struggle to get good shots and score, the Cougars extended their lead to 7 on a trey from Wells to up their lead to 59-52 with 4:20 left as the game continued to slip away from the Bears.

Six straight points by Tyson were unable to cut into the Cougar lead as the Bears failed to get stops on the defensive end but an Amaiq bucket and free throw and a Tyson 3 with 1:05 remaining pulled the Bears to within 1 at 65-64 as the crowd pleaded for a defensive stop. They got one with a shot clock violation as the Bears regained possession with 35 seconds remaining. Cone was fouled on the inbounds pass and calmly sunk a pair of free throws to give the Bears a 68-65 lead with 4.2 seconds remaining on the clock. Then just like Thursday night, Cal fans watched in horror as guard Miles Rice drained a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired to force overtime.

The Bears shook off their disappointment, battling for several offensive rebounds before a kickout to Celestine for a 3 to start the OT scoring. A Tyson free throw and a Keonte Kennedy steal and jam put the Bears up by 6 with 3:28 left and got the crowd roaring.

A wide-open 3 by Jakimovski and a Jones slam cut the Bears’ lead to 1 but a Tyson jumper put the Bears up 76-73 with 1:51 left. After getting a stop, Tyson was fouled on a drive to the bucket and hit his two free throws to extend the lead to 5 with 50 seconds left. The Bears were able to get a key stop on the next possession and secure the rebound, forcing the Cougars to foul Cone, who converted both free throws to push the lead to 7. A Celestine rebound on the defensive end and a final free throw with 9 seconds followed by a Jakimovski layup closed out the scoring as the Bears pulled out the much-needed OT victory, dropping WSU to 13-6 and 4-4 in Pac-12 play.

Discussion from...

Bears Pull Out OT Thriller in 81-75 Victory Over WSU

2,179 Views | 2 Replies | Last: 5 mo ago by smh
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Very exciting and gutsy win! It looks like the teams's identity and mutual trust has matured. To help, Cone's gotta regain his touch while the Bears have to find more ways to let Kennedy slash or fast break.
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BearoutEast67 said:

More free tix for students!
right, thanks, and better still a replacement athletic director.. ASAP
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