Story Poster
Photo by X / Cal Basketball
Cal Basketball

Bears Blow 18-Point Lead, Bow Out in 1st Round to Stanford in OT

March 13, 2024
3,124

LAS VEGAS - A game that had all the hallmarks of an exciting Bears’ win with Cal raining 3’s with impunity through much of the game turned into an ugly overtime loss at the T-Mobile Arena in a disappointing 87-76 loss to Stanford in the opening round of Pac-12 Tournament play Wednesday night in Las Vegas.

A game where the Bears at one point went 13-for-26 from the perimeter and took care of the ball while piling up assists went off the rails in a big way as a cold stretch saw the Bears score just two points in 12 minutes of play, all the while turning the ball over and taking bad shots as they saw their lead disintegrate in the second half.

Not helping matters was a 36 to 9 free throw attempt margin that allowed the Cardinal to claw their way back into the game in a game where the Bears were outscored 45-12 to finish the game.

“Disappointing loss. We had some great opportunities to take control that game," Madsen said after the game. "And when they got going, they were able to come up with some loose balls late and they made key shots, and our execution wasn't great.”

How could a team that looked so good for first 26 minutes of the game look so bad the final 14 and OT?

"It was probably a combination two things and I'll go back and take a look at it, but it was probably a combination of two things,” Madsen said. “Number one, they (Stanford) had to up their defensive energy and their intensity. And then our ball movement in the first half was probably 10 out of 10. The ball didn't move as well in the second half as it did in the first and so we'll go back and look at that. But it's a function of having been not as good as we have been on our side and better defense on their side.”

The game got off to a strong start for the Bears with a Keonte Kennedy steal followed by a Jalen Celestine 3 to open the game. Celestine’s three was the first of three treys in the opening four minutes with the Bears jumping out to a 13-4 lead, including a pair of 3’s from senior guard Jalen Cone.

After getting snubbed for earning any type of All-Conference recognition after leading the conference in rebounds with 11 per game (5th nationally) and finishing 14th in scoring with 14.7 points per game, center Fardaws Aimaq came out hot with an early 6 points and 4 boards in the opening 8 minutes.

The Bears got sloppy with the ball in the following minutes with several careless turnovers, including two from Kennedy and another by Tyson as the Cardinal chipped away at the Bears’ lead, cutting it to 20-16. A knifing Rodney Brown layup through traffic, a Celestine 3 and a Devin Curtis jumper put the Bears back up by ten, 27-17 with 6:52 left in the half.

The Bears extended their lead to their biggest of the half, going up 12 with 2:13 left in the quarter. The run started on a perfect alley-oop lob from Tyson to Aimaq for the jam followed by 3s from Tyson and Kennedy. Tyson led all players at the break with a smooth 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the field and 2-for-3 from the perimeter. Stanford center Maxim Reynaud continued to be a problem for the Bears after dominating them last week in the Cardinal victory, going for 13 points and 5 rebounds for the half.

The Bears avoided the type of slow start that’s often derailed them or forced wild comebacks. Aside from the brief stretch of turnovers, they took care of the ball well and distributed impressively heading into the locker room with 13 assists, including 5 by Cone and just 4 turnovers while playing to a draw on the glass with 18 a piece, taking a 45-34 lead into the locker room.

The Bears handcuffed themselves with a third personal foul on Celestine late the first half and an early third foul by Cone to start the second half - a dangerous proposition to have two starters with a thin bench in early foul trouble.

The Bears shook off their early foul trouble and pushed their lead to 13 four minutes into the second half on a trio of 3’s with a pair from Kennedy and another by Cone to take a 54-41 lead. More 3’s from Celestine (2) and Cone extended the lead to 18 at 63-45 with 14:28 left in the game.

After the impressive run, Stanford scored the next 8 points with an assist by several highly questionable foul calls that threatened to put the Cardinal in the bonus with significant time left on the clock. A Tyson jumper finally stopped the Stanford run, giving the Bears a 65-53 lead. Things got ugly from there with the Bears playing tight and sloppy ball, allowing another six straight Stanford points to see their lead dwindle to 6 with 8:30 left in the game. Fueling the Stanford run was an implausible 23-2 free throw attempt advantage at that point.

The lone Tyson bucket were the only points the Bears scored in a wretched 13-minute stretch as the Cardinal continued to peck at the Bears’ lead, pulling to within 2 at 65-63 with 3:46 left in a stretch that saw Aimaq foul out and Celestine whistled for his fourth foul. Three minutes later, Celestine joined Aimaq on the bench with 5 fouls.

A critical 3 by Cone finally stopped the 18-2 Cardinal run, giving the Bears a 5-point lead with 1:52 remaining. An Angel layup tightened it up to 68-65 with a minute left. A Cone free throw extended the Bears’ lead to 4 with :32 left but a miss on the back end of the 1-and-1 proved critical. 

After Spencer Jones hit one of two free throws, disaster struck for the Bears, with an impound pass fumbled by Kennedy and Jones drilling the kickout 3 with :18 remaining. On the next possession, Kennedy again fumbled the inbounds pass, giving Stanford the chance to pick up the win in regulation but a runner by Jones rimmed out. A half-court heave hit glass by Tyson after the rebound as the game went to OT knotted at 69.

3’s by Angel and Jones to start OT put the Bears in an immediate hole. Following a Newell fadeaway, Stanford upped their lead to 7 after a Reynard bucket and-1. Three straight trips to the line netted the Bears just one point starting with Cone’s missed back-end free throw at the end of regulation and two straight first-shot misses on additional 1-and-1 opportunities in OT by Newell and Tyson. A Jones free throw and final trey closed out the scoring in the 87-76 Cardinal win.

"This being our last game, I don't want to dwell on the toughness of this loss, I want to choose to dwell on just how proud I am of our group, where we started the progress that was made during the season, and these outstanding young men and what they mean to our program and to our university," Madsen said.

With Cone playing his final collegiate game and Tyson quite possibly playing his last as well with him being expected to declare for the NBA draft, both players reflected positively on their seasons at Cal.

“I definitely say the program took a step in the right direction,” Cone said. “And this season for me personally and everybody on the roster, it made everyone better. Everyone on the roster grew at some point in the season and became a better player and a better teammate. So I just look back at the season as a positive even though it didn't go the way we wanted. Everybody grew in some shape or form so I like that.”

“With this team, this is probably the closest team I’ve been a part of on and off the court,” Tyson said after the game. “I built lifelong friendships, not only with the players but with the staff. It’s the closest staff I’ve been with at three universities. This is the closest and the best head coach who played a big role in my life.

“I know for a fact that with this man in charge right here that this program is gonna go to heights, they've never been before. Bet the bank on that. But from an individual standpoint, you just keep taking strides, keep getting better, keep God first and just keep going is really all.”

The Bears fell to 13-19 (9-11) for the season - a 10-win improvement over last season but a disappointing 4-game losing streak to end the season.

Related: 

The Rodcast: I Cant Stand(furd)

Discussion from...

Bears Blow 18-Point Lead, Bow Out in 1st Round to Stanford in OT

2,618 Views | 12 Replies | Last: 2 mo ago by MoragaBear
blungld
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Stating the obvious that the fold (specifically numerous bizarre turnovers, missed rebounds, and forced shots), was really avoidable and really really bad.
HoopDreams
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Relived the horror from your good game summary
bearsandgiants
How long do you want to ignore this user?
" the Bears were outscored 45-12 to finish the game"

If you asked me if I thought this was possible, the answer would be "yes." Nothing has changed.

Mark had better earn his money.
bearsandgiants
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Also, what the hell is up with the full line switch? Great to test depth but yo, you have to teach subs how to play basketball. Most of the second half was backups who looked like they'd never played the game before. That's not ok. In fact, it was an embarrassment.
stu
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Silver lining: maybe Stanford wins the Pac-12 Tournament and Haase keeps his job.
MoragaBear
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Staff
bearsandgiants said:

Also, what the hell is up with the full line switch? Great to test depth but yo, you have to teach subs how to play basketball. Most of the second half was backups who looked like they'd never played the game before. That's not ok. In fact, it was an embarrassment.
Aimaq and Celestine fouled out. They didn't play the bench much this season because they had to lean heavily on their best players to win all the close games they played in.

The bench was poor the 2nd half but so were most of the starters. I don't know if I'll ever forget seeing Kennedy let two balls bounce off him in the final minute. Where was his head?
HoopDreams
How long do you want to ignore this user?
the closing statements from Cone and Tyson were about the only thing good since about 8pm tonight
BTown85
How long do you want to ignore this user?
This is my first visit to BI since that game, hoping that SOMETHING else would be the banner story and I could keep my head buried in the sand.......

The fact that Hasse was fired makes me feel even WORSE now......
It's the future that's always bright at Cal......
polarbear
How long do you want to ignore this user?
MoragaBear said:

bearsandgiants said:

Also, what the hell is up with the full line switch? Great to test depth but yo, you have to teach subs how to play basketball. Most of the second half was backups who looked like they'd never played the game before. That's not ok. In fact, it was an embarrassment.
Aimaq and Celestine fouled out. They didn't play the bench much this season because they had to lean heavily on their best players to win all the close games they played in.

The bench was poor the 2nd half but so were most of the starters. I don't know if I'll ever forget seeing Kennedy let two balls bounce off him in the final minute. Where was his head?
This game is a perfect example of why a coach should play and develop his bench during the season whenever possible so there is not such a huge dropoff when injuries or foul trouble come up in the post season.
stu
How long do you want to ignore this user?
polarbear said:

This game is a perfect example of why a coach should play and develop his bench during the season whenever possible so there is not such a huge dropoff when injuries or foul trouble come up in the post season.
True, but with so many close games we didn't have many opportunities.
LawoftheBear
How long do you want to ignore this user?
HoopDreams said:

the closing statements from Cone and Tyson were about the only thing good since about 8pm tonight
What did they say?
MoragaBear
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Staff
LawoftheBear said:

HoopDreams said:

the closing statements from Cone and Tyson were about the only thing good since about 8pm tonight
What did they say?

It's at the end of the story and video.
Refresh
Page 1 of 1
 
×
subscribe Verify your student status
See Subscription Benefits
Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial.