San Jose State mounts comeback, but falls short against Cal 88-80

Photo credit: @SJSUMBB

By: Ana Kieu

The San Jose State Spartans men’s basketball team was looking to pick up at least one win against a Pac-12 opponent this season. Unfortunately didn’t happen as the Spartans comeback bid wasn’t enough and they ultimately fell to the Cal Golden Bears 88-80 at Haas Pavilion on Friday evening.

Spartans head coach Jean Prioleau went with a starting lineup featuring Brae Ivey, Noah Baumann, Seneca Knight, Michael Steadman and Oumar Barry. Yes, another excellent lineup, but once again, SJSU fell short.

The Spartans won the tip and the game went underway at Haas Pavilion. The score was bad, but fixable early in the first period. SJSU trailed 5-2 at the first media timeout of the night.

The Golden Bears picked up the pace as they hit four of their last five field goals by the 11:19 mark of the period. That allowed Cal to take a 17-9 lead into the second media timeout of the night.

The Spartans, however, were resilient. Oumar Barry buried a 3-pointer at the top of the key, which helped SJSU make it a 1-point game at Cal 17-16. Barry continued pouring in the points along with Ivey, who had 7 points with 7:27 remaining in the period. SJSU trailed by just 2, 19-17.

Baumann changed the game with less than five minutes left in the period. Baumann hit back-to-back 3s to lift the Spartans to a 25-24 lead. SJSU made it a 32-30 lead and carried it with pride to the locker room at halftime.

The Golden Bears were on top 38-32 at the 17:10 mark of the second period. That wasn’t good news for the Spartans, who called a timeout after seeing their first period lead slip away in front of their very eyes.

If that wasn’t already bad enough, Cal went on a massive scoring run to take a 62-53 lead at the 10:24 mark of the period. If anything good came out of this, SJSU continued to dominate on the hardwood as Baumann hit four 3s for his eighth consecutive game hitting at least two 3s, Barry had a career-high 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting and Steadman collected his fifth double-double of the season with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Yet, SJSU was still down by 10 with 6:28 left in the period, despite shooting 52 percent from the field.

Despite the ups and downs, Baumann impressed Spartan Nation as he drained his sixth 3 of the game for a new career-high. As a result, SJSU pulled within 9 for a 74-65 deficit with 5:14 left in the period. Also, Barry recorded a career-high 18 points before he fouled out.

But things slowed down offensively for the Spartans. Well, at least for a little bit. The Golden Bears continued their onslaught from the 3-point line and hit 7-of-12 for a 82-67 advantage with 3:41 left in the period. This led the Spartans to play their hearts out, especially Knight. Knight drained a 3 to pull the Spartans within 6 for a 84-78 deficit with 1:20 left. Then, Knight poured in the points to make it a 4-point game with 35 seconds left.

The Golden Bears added 4 more points to secure a 88-80 victory over the Spartans. Cal improved to 5-6, while SJSU fell to 3-8.

SJSU returns to action on Saturday, Dec. 29 against Saint Mary’s at 5:00 pm PST.

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