photo from calbears.com: The Cal Bears Matt Bradley (20) drives on the Stanford Cardinal (0) KZ Okpala in Thursday night’s game at Maples Pavilion
By Morris Phillips
PALO ALTO — The Cal Bears’ Connor Vanover led Cal in scoring with 24 points on Thursday night at Maples Pavilion, helping the Golden Bears to their third straight victory in one of the most exciting, shocking turnarounds for this season in the 64-59 victory. With 56.7 seconds left, Vanover hit a three-pointer after Stanford cut the lead to just four points. Vanover hit nine out of 12 shots and had five three-pointers and blocked six shots.
The Bears, who set a school record of 16 straight losses, have re-invented themselves and have won three straight against three difficult opponents: Washington, Washington State University, and Stanford. On offense, Paris Austin had 15 points and Matt Bradley had 14 points. Bradley was a scrapper all night he had seven rebounds and fouled out of the game. For the Cardinal, KZ Okpala led Stanford with 21 points and eight rebounds and Josh Sharma had 11 points and 13 rebounds. The Cardinal’s Justin Sueing had nine points and 10 rebounds.
Cardinal Cormac Ryan hit two three-pointers, which helped cut the Bears lead down to 58-55 after Vanover’s three-pointer. Sharma then scored on a dunk. Grant Antecevich and Sueing also hit free throws to add to the score.
It was 17-0 run for Cal that made the difference and showed why this team is fired up. The Bears’ offense dominated and put the Bears up from three points to the five-point victory. The Bears went from zero to hero going from 16 straight losses to three straight wins, making them the hottest team in the Pac-12.
The Bears head to the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas next week. If the Bears could win two or three in Vegas it might secure head coach Wyking Jones’ job situation, which at one time was questioned and more over vocalized by the fans at Haas Pavilion during some home games.
The Bears will head to Vegas for the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament and face the fifth seed, which is yet to be decided.
Morris does the Cal Bears podcasts at http://www.sportsradioservice.com each Monday