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Bears Pull Off Exciting 73-71 Comeback Win Over Stanford

January 26, 2024

HAAS PAVILION - The official attendance read under 9,000 but a packed Haas Pavilion felt closer to a sellout in yet another come-from-behind win for the Bears in their 73-71 victory over Stanford tonight at a student-packed Haas Pavilion. The comeback win was even more impressive with star player Jaylon Tyson going down in the second half to what appeared to be cramping or a muscle strain, with others stepping into the void to pick the team up in the victory.

“A big rivalry game, the student section and the fans in general really came out and really had out backs and didn’t give up on us when they had their little run but the fans were great,” Cal guard Jalen Celestine said after the game. “I missed a shot but they were still cheering me on. I loved it, man. Hopefully, they’ll come out in our next homestand against the LA schools and we can keep it going from there.”

“I was proud of every single guy on our team,” Cal head coach Mark Madsen said after the game. “You talk about a tough game. This is a rivalry for a reason. Stanford came out and just had our heads spinning. They were back-cutting us. They were flex-cutting us. They were scoring at will on certain sets so you have to give them a lot of credit. That’s a great basketball team, very well-coached with great players and it was a close game. It went our way tonight but that’s a really talented basketball team.”

“It was a high-level basketball game,” Stanford head coach Jared Haase said. “Two teams that were playing their hearts out with a lot of pride for their universities. It was a game that I anticipated it would come down to a stretch at the end and the team expected that as well, so that was certainly not a surprise. At the end of the job, we didn’t make enough plays and enough free throws and we didn’t finish the plays that we needed to down the stretch to get it done. It was a high-level, fantastic college basketball game but unfortunately, those are the ones that sting a little bit, too.”

The crowd included the whole football team, who paraded The Axe in front of a festive Cal crowd with Cal head coach Justin Wilcox and running back Jaydn Ott addressing the fans during a break in the action in the first half of the game and all stayed along with athletes from many of the other Cal programs and students of all stripes.

The game got off to a shaky start for the Bears as they quickly fell behind 12-4 five minutes into the game behind three straight buckets by Stanford forward Spencer Jones in the Cardinal’s 9-0 run. The Bears whittled away at Stanford’s lead on 3’s by Grant Newell (11 points, 10 rebounds) and center Fardaws Aimaq along with a pair of Jalen Cone free throws but back-to-back 3’s by Stanford guard Michael Jones stretched Stanford’s lead again to 8 with 5:38 left in the half.

Four Cone free throws, a Jaylon Tyson layup and a pair of Aimaq buckets narrowed the lead to a more manageable four points heading into the locker room with a 40-36 deficit.

The second half started out poorly for the Bears as the Cardinal extended their lead to 10 on a pair of 3’s bookending a backdoor cut layup to go up 50-40 at the 15:54 mark. The Bears, however, are no stranger to coming back from deficits and ratcheted up the defense, giving up just 21 more points in the final nearly 16 minutes. 

A Newell layup, a Keonte Kennedy dunk, back-to-back jumpers by Tyson and a Celestine jumper quickly knotted the game at 50 in the Bears’ 10-0 run at the 12:43 mark.

The Cardinal were not ready to roll over and immediately put together a 7-0 run of their own to try and retake control but both teams battled back-and-forth from there as the Bears managed to tie it at 60 on a pair of Newell free throws then forge ahead by 4 on a pair of Aimaq buckets with 6:14 remaining.

Again, Stanford went on a 6-0 run going 6-for-6 from the line to retake the lead with 4:30 left. The lead changed hands four more times from there, with the game knotted at 71 on a Celestine free throw and a Bears’ lead after converting the second from the charity stripe. The lead held up from there with Celestine hitting 1-of-2 on the next possession with 7 seconds remaining and the Bears defending well on Stanford’s final possession, forcing two off-balance shots that didn’t fall to secure their second straight win.

The Bears had six players in double digits with Aimaq (13 points, 12 rebounds) joining Newell with a double-double and Tyson (14), Celestine (12), Kennedy (11) and Cone (10) also hitting double digits. Cone struggled from the field, hitting just 1-of-11 but was money from the line, hitting 8-of-9. 

The win moved the Bears to 8-12/4-5 and 8th place in the conference heading into their road trip to Arizona.


Discussion from...

Bears Pull Off Exciting 73-71 Comeback Win Over Stanford

3,116 Views | 4 Replies | Last: 4 mo ago by Johnfox
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I love how Celestine and Newell couldn't contain their smiles all throughout their post game presser.

Madsen's confidence and leadership in his press conference showed in spades. He describes it as a player led team, which he claims is a more powerful structure than a coach led team. I found this very interesting, and makes a lot of sense why we see some magical (and sometimes even not so magical!) decisions on the floor. I love Madsen, and am so thankful to the powers that be who brought him in.
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I hope Coach can continue to build the team through the portal. Tyson was a huge get for the program But Coach needs to surround him with better players to win in the ACC. Having a PG that shoots only 33% from the field won't get it done at most any level. Onward and upward....
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am i reading the standings correctly? If we had beaten ASU and UW, which we were going to up to the final seconds, would we' be tied for first in the Pac-12
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Crazy how much we have grown from last season.
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