Rough Road: Cal comes up short after halftime again, loses 65-57 at WSU

By Morris Phillips

The road trip that causes the most headaches in the Pac-12 starts in Seattle on a Thursday and leaves you feeling unsettled in Pullman, Washington on Saturday afternoon.

Bad weather, rough flight, slick roads and a quirky opponent in a mostly empty arena throw you off balance, and likely the Washington Huskies shook your confidence as well. Conference ballclubs aren’t at their best after going through the Northwest curveball machine.

The Bears were the latest testees who survived the first half, but finally slipped late in the second, losing 65-57 to Washington State. Cal was swept for the second weekend in a row and had issues trying to score in all four losses. On Saturday, coach Mark Fox was disappointed with the team’s rebounding, and not limiting the Cougars’ opportunities.

“I think it’s the third game in a row on the road where we had the lead at the half and we talked about trying to close it and finish it, and we just didn’t defensive rebound,” Cal coach Mark Fox said. “We forced some misses, we gave up a rebound on free throw that cost us three.”

The back breaking sequence came with 2:52 and WSU’s Michael Flowers at the foul line shooting one-and-one. Flowers missed the first one but WSU rebounded and swung the ball to Flowers for an open three that he buried, extending the lead to five.

“We just didn’t do the right things to close the game in the second half,” Fox said.

Cal scored just 10 points after Andre Kelly got them even at 47 with 9:19 remaining. Flowers contributed 11 of his 13 points in the second half, and Andrej Jakimovski paced the Cougars with 18 points.

In seven of Cal’s nine losses–and three of the last four games–they’ve scored 60 points or fewer.

Cal starting guard Joel Brown attempted to fly from the East Bay to Pullman on Saturday morning after he cleared COVID restrictions that left him home isolation for seven days. Brown arrived after the game started and played just one minute when it became apparent he couldn’t ramp it up after a week without physical activity or basketball.

“You just take a roll of the dice and say, ‘Is it going to be like he can just step in here and we keep rolling?'” Fox said. “And you can tell he wasn’t ready and out of synch and understandably so.”

Shepherd led Cal with 17 points, Kelly had 12 and a season-best 14 rebounds.

The Bears return home to Haas Pavilion to face No. 6 Arizona on January 23 at noon.

No Margin For Error: No. 5 UCLA too stingy for Cal’s tastes, Bears fall 60-52

By Morris Phillips

BERKELEY, CA–Coach Mark Fox stalked the sidelines, pestered the refs, incited the Haas Pavilion crowd, and as always, had the full attention of his team, but in the end, Fox had to tip his cap.

Visiting UCLA just brought too much to the table.

In a defensive struggle, the No. 5 Bruins simply were too stingy, and wore Cal down in their 60-52 victory.

“There’s no shame in laying it out there against the best teams and falling short. It doesn’t mean that you’re a failure,” Fox said. “We failed today, but these kids competed in a way that I was really pleased with.”

The Bears had success defensively, limiting UCLA to 60 points and a horrible night shooting from three (4 for 18), but in the game’s waning moments Cal’s resolve lessened and a pair of Bruins were left wide open to hit back-breaking, 3-pointers. Johnny Juzang’s three put UCLA up 55-43 with 3:28 remaining.

And how did Cal’s big effort defensively come to such an unsightly finish? Probably the result of climbing uphill all night, trailing for the game’s final 23 minutes, and realizing UCLA’s defense, which forced 15 turnovers, wasn’t going to relent.

“We’ve got to stop other teams from scoring,” UCLA’s Cody Riley said. “When we come out, we’re not always going to make shots. We can’t rely on making shots. It’s the defensive side where we win the ballgame.”

Riley’s presence in the paint was a welcome sight for his teammates, who fashioned an unlikely trip to the Final Four last spring without him due to injuries. With him, Cal was made to suffer as two of their top three scorers, Grant Anticevich and Jordan Shepherd, were harassed into horrible shooting nights. The attention paid to Anticevich and Shepherd allowed Andre Kelly the space to make 11 of his 14 shots, but a one-man show isn’t the precursor to an upset. For the most part, Cal was denied entry into the lane, and their 1 for 14 shooting from three did little to compensate for their lack of easier baskets.

“I knew that we were going to take Cal’s best shot because I know what Mark Fox is made of and I know how upset he was with their defense Thursday,” UCLA coach Mick Cronin said. “They gave up 50 points in the paint (versus USC). They were minus-38 in points in the paint. I can only imagine their film session and their practice yesterday. So we told our guys it was going to be World War III. We were probably going to have to grind it out. We do a good job at taking care of the ball. We’re top 10 in the country in that. It gives us a chance. Eventually we knocked down some shots.”

Tyger Campbell, the orchestrator of UCLA’s attack finished with 17 points, four assists. Jaime Jaquez, Jr. contributed 14, and Riley added 9. Juzang missed seven of his 10 shots, but buried the big 3-pointer late to make his 3 for 10 shooting more impactful.

Trojans Brought Their Horse: Undefeated USC stops Cal’s streak at Haas, wins 77-63

By Morris Phillips

BERKELEY, CA–That rust enveloping the USC Trojans–built up over nearly three weeks following their last game on December 18–dissipated rather quickly.

The Cal Bears, hoping to catch USC out of sync, soon found themselves being dismantled by the visitors, with each, successive possession and after timeouts. Conceding too many opportunities on the glass, and bleeding points in the paint, the Bears were worn down in their first home defeat, losing 77-63.

“They’re good, and we have to play better to beat a great team,” coach Mark Fox admitted.

Cal started fast, holding their own in an uptempo start that saw the lead exchanged nine times in the first ten minutes. But it soon became apparent that the surprisingly disciplined Trojans were stout as advertised. First, USC showed unexpected proficiency at the foul line, converting 11 of their 13 attempts. Then the visitors controlled the glass (39-24 rebounding edge) and attacked the basket relentlessly (50-14 edge in points in the paint). Cal aided USC by shooting just 41 percent from the floor for the game, and sprinkling in some glaring, empty possessions.

“We felt like we gave the game away,” said Grant Anticevich, who led Cal with 19 points. “Credit to USC. They are a top-10 team for a reason. But we just made too many mistakes.”

“Once we started defending at a higher level, we took the lead,” USC coach Andy Enfield said. “Our defense in the second half was outstanding.”

Isaiah Mobley led the Trojans with 19 points, and Drew Peterson added 17. Boogie Ellis, the transfer guard from Memphis, had 14.

Jordan Shepherd scored 17 points, and Andre Kelly came up with 13 points, 11 rebounds, but the Bears got almost no secondary help. Starters Kuany Kuany and Joel Brown were factors defensively, but failed to make a shot from the floor, far less than what was needed to aid Cal’s upset bid. Jalen Celestine scored 10 points off the bench but could have played a bigger factor were it not a couple of questionable decisions with the ball in his hands.

Cal trimmed their deficit to 54-50 with 9:20 remaining only to see the Trojans surge again and regain their double-digit advantage. What started on the defensive end incorporated high percentage shooting as USC shot 64 percent after halftime.

“We made some positive plays,” Fox said. “We just didn’t threaten enough in the second half.”

MISSING MATT?: In an interesting comparison, the Cal transfer that has many saying “what if?” Matt Bradley has already seen USC this season. Bradley opted to forgo his stature as Cal’s go-to guy, transferred to San Diego State, and his Aztecs faced the Trojans in the Paycom Wooden Legacy Championship Game in Anaheim on November 26.

It didn’t go well for Bradley.

The Trojans’ length and singular focus on getting Bradley stopped, paid off as the 6’3″ guard was limited to three points in 25 minutes on the floor. Bradley shot 1 for 7, including 0 for 4 from three.

Bears In The Paint: Cal takes its case inside in 73-61 win over Oregon State

By Morris Phillips

BERKELEY, CA–Cal didn’t win the statistical battle in the painted area on Thursday night, but they showed up, and that really was the key to their eye-catching 73-61 victory over Oregon State in their Pac-12 opener.

Clinging to a one-point halftime lead, Cal open the second half with ten of the first 11 points, all scored in the paint, to take control of a close game. They would go on to lead by as many as 16 and win by 12, with Jordan Shepherd (25 points, eight rebounds) and Andre Kelly (20 points, 12 rebounds) leading the way.

“We were really ready to play,” coach Mark Fox said. “At the end of the night we won the game.”

The Bears being picked to finish last in conference, but finding a way to win their first Pac-12 outing is no doubt a story, but the Beavers dropping a seventh straight game may be more noteworthy. Oregon State was beat decisively on the glass, and couldn’t stop Cal’s top scorers while losing by double-digits for the third time in their seven-game skid.

The Bears outrebounded Oregon State 42-24, attempted 19 free throws, making 16 and scored 28 points in the paint. The Beavers tallied 40 points in the paint, but did little else well. Leading scorer Warith Alatishe had 21 points, eight rebounds, but his three fouls committed were painful. The first two of Alatishe’s fouls came late in the shot clock, and the third put Cal in the bonus too early in the second half, dooming a potential comeback by the visitors.

“We stayed composed,” Shepherd said, when asked about OSU’s late, modest run that brought them within 60-53 with 4:10 remaining.

Andre Kelly scored in double figures for the sixth time this season, and he’s shooting 67.5 percent from the floor. Kelly has double-digit rebounds in four of the eight games. In the second half Thursday, Kelly was six for seven as Cal shot 54 percent from the floor.

Oregon State missed 14 of its first 17 shots after halftime, and Cal closed it out by making nine of their 10 free throw attempts down the stretch. The Utes were limited to ten free throw attempts, making six.

Cal improved to 4-4 on the season, and they travel Salt Lake City on Sunday to face Utah Utes, beaten 93-73 by USC in their conference opener on Wednesday. The Utes have dropped two straight after a 5-0 start to their season. The Trojans saw four of their five starters score in double figures in the rout.

Cal Puts Hands On Fresno State: Defensive effort keys Bears’ 65-57 win at Haas

By Morris Phillips

BERKELEY, CA–Active hands, defensive intensity and limiting second chances, the Cal Bears had some admirable phrases attached to their performance against Fresno State on Sunday night.

And one more: salting it away late which the Bears did in getting past the Bulldogs, 65-57 at Haas Pavilion.

Jordan Shepherd scored 17 points, and the Bears used a 13-4 run with eight minutes remaining to pull away from Fresno State. The Bulldogs were forced into uphill mode from the outset, falling behind 11-2 then suffering a lackluster effort on the glass combined with some untimely turnovers.

“We didn’t do what we needed to do to score and make the stops that we needed to on the road,” Fresno State coach Justin Hutson said. “We didn’t play a mature game to be able to come out and get a win on the road in front of a crowd. We just didn’t get the job done tonight.”

Conversely, Cal was ready to go from the start, and backed their early lead with an inspired defensive effort that kept the Bulldogs off the foul line and held to a season-low 57 points. Fresno State shot 36 percent in the first half and 43 percent for the game.

Credited with just three offensive rebounds, Fresno State was kept from second opportunities, and they got burned on their 12 turnovers which Cal used to fashion a 15-4 edge on points off turnovers. Orlando Robinson, Fresno’s 7-foot, junior center led them with 25 points, nine rebounds, but he didn’t get a lot of help from his teammates combating the Bears in the paint.

Isiah Hill was the only other Bulldog to score in double-figures but he was held to 10 points, missing his nine of his 13 shots from the floor.

A 16-9 run to open the second half got the Bulldogs even at 37. But after the game was tied at 40, Cal responded with their run to put the game away as Grant Anticevich scored six of his 13 points as Cal went up 53-44 with 3:19 remaining.

Andre Kelly contributed 14 points on 6 of 8 shooting, and his scoring was instrumental in Cal’s fast start.

The Bears are 3-4 on the season after consecutive losses accumulated in Florida. Next, they open Pac-12 competition with a home game against Oregon State on Thursday, and a trip to Salt Lake City on Sunday to face the upstart Utah Utes.

The match-up with the Beavers undoubtedly gives Cal its most favorable scheduling break of the season thus far with Oregon State on a six-game losing streak, including consecutive losses to Tulsa, Samford and Princeton.

While the Bears may sense a team in disarray, Oregon State is simply a team defined by returning experience as well as a completely-retooled backcourt that has been outplayed in parts of the team’s seven games. OSU is poised for improvement sooner rather than later.

The Beavers may also sense something well: that the Bears, picked to finish last in conference, might be just what coach Wayne Tinkle’s team needs to see this Thursday in order to end a losing skid and open conference play in style.

Cal’s Best Effort: Bears see late lead evaporate in 62-59 loss to No. 21 Seton Hall

By Morris Phillips

This time the present-and-accounted-for Cal Bears made plays and got stops at the Fort Myers Tip-Off… with the exception of the final 83 seconds.

Cal–in their best performance yet–pulled even with No. 21 Seton Hall on Grant Anticevich’s made free throw only to lose 62-59 seconds later when they couldn’t convert on any of their last three possessions.

“I thought we played really, really well,” coach Mark Fox said. “We just didn’t close it.”

The Bears got big performances from Anticevich and Andre Kelly who combined for 38 of their 59 points, but they allowed their second consecutive ranked opponent to escape what would have been an embarrassing defeat.

“No matter what, you get out of here 1-1 and two months from now it’s not going to matter what the score was,” Pirates coach Kevin Willard said.

The Bears needed Seton Hall to struggle offensively in part due to the Pirates’ misfortune, but also attributable to Cal’s defense along with their deliberate, offensive pace. And all three transpired along with Cal’s two leaders having big nights. A 10-2 run in the first ten minutes after halftime, gave Cal a 39-38 lead, and put Seton Hall on their heels.

A pair of made free throws from Kelly with 4:39 remaining gave Cal its biggest lead, 56-51, but they couldn’t sustain it. When Cal went scoreless for two minutes plus, Ohio State transfer Bryce Aiken strung together five points in 6-0 run that allowed the Pirates to regain the lead.

Two more made free throws from Kelly put Cal in front again, and seconds later Anticevich’s first of two free throws got Cal even at 59. But Anticevich missed the second, and a three with seven seconds left. Jalen Celestine missed a three early in a shot clock with 42 seconds to go. And with three seconds remaining, Joel Brown could convert his first free throw before purposely missing the second. Brown ended up on the charity stripe when Seton Hall elected to foul leading by three and less than 10 seconds left.

“Grant’s a great shooter and I want him to take that shot every time,” Fox said. “I thought we executed it well, it just didn’t go in.”

“I thought we played really well against a nationally-ranked team. We obviously had some possessions where we had some turnovers that lead to baskets, and those are costly errors. I thought we competed well.”

Jared Rhoden scored 21 points, and Kadary Richmond added 12 for Seton Hall. Alexis Yetna and Tyrese Samuel each scored 10 points as Seton Hall improved to 4-1.

The Pirates shot 34 percent from the floor, and 22 percent from three. They bailed themselves out by making 24 of 30 free throw attempts.

“We’re trying to make things happen instead of letting things happen,” Willard said.

The Bears fell to 2-4 and they return home to Haas Pavilion on Sunday to host Fresno State at 7:00 p.m.

Cal In The Clutch: Bears trail by double digits but win in double overtime, 75-68

By Morris Phillips

BERKELEY, CA–Andre Kelly tallied 11 of California’s 18 overtime points, and the Bears escaped with a 75-68 double overtime win over Southern Utah at Haas Pavilion on Thursday.

Kelly finished with 29 points, 15 rebounds to pace Cal with John Knight III leading Southern Utah with 31 points. While Kelly heated up late to rescue Cal from an offensive standpoint, Knight was held scoreless over the final 3:41 of regulation, and the first 9 minutes, 32 seconds of the two overtime periods. When Knight was cooking–he had 12 of his 31 in the second half–the Thunderbirds built a 44-34 lead with 13:41 remaining, necessitating a furious run and come back by the Bears to force overtime.

Bears’ coach Mark Fox turned to 6’7″ freshman Sam Alajiki during this stretch to guard Knight. That prompted a 8-0 run to get Cal within two, and also got the Bears some relief from Knight’s hot shooting.

“We were having a real hard time with that kid’s strength,” Fox said of his decision to insert Alajiki. “Sam is a real strong and powerful guy, we went with that lineup and he did a great job.”

The Bears drew even at 46 with 8:48 remaining, and again at 51 on Kelly’s layup with 4:40 remaining. But they didn’t experience a lead in the second half until Grant Anticevich hit a jumper with 28 seconds left. Maizen Fausett followed with a layup to force overtime for Southern Utah. Joel Brown’s layup attempt at the buzzer was blocked by SUU’s Dre Marin.

Cal had not experienced an overtime game since February 2020 when they beat Utah 86-79. The Bears moved to 4-0 in overtime contests with Fox as their coach.

Southern Utah hadn’t endured a two-overtime game since their 2019 victory over Nebraska. Knight led the Thunderbirds in floor time with 49 minutes. Three other Southern Utah starters logged at least 44 minutes, and coach Todd Simon only got three points all evening from his bench.

Kelly was a gametime decision due to an ankle injury, but he responded with 11 of 16 shooting from the floor. He also buried a 3-pointer with 34 seconds remaining in the second overtime to give Cal its biggest lead, 73-65.

Andre had a very productive night,” Fox said. “I still think he can play a lot better.”

Anticevich had 15 points, eight rebounds and Brown played a team-most 46 minutes. He had seven assists, five rebounds but struggled with his shot. Brown finished with four points on 1 of 7 shooting.

Southern Utah got 14 points, eight rebounds from Fausett and Tevian Jones had 11 points, five rebounds. Jones was 0 of 6 from three, part of a subpar team effort from distance in which SUU missed 22 of 27 three attempts.

The Bears continue competition in the Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off in Florida on November 22 where they will meet No. 24 Florida. The Gators won easily on Thursday, defeating Milwaukee 81-45.

Oh-Oh Opener: Cal upset at Haas by upstart UC San Diego, 80-67

By Morris Phillips

BERKELEY, CA–Defend and start the season in the win column were the objectives for the Cal Bears, and neither were met.

Toni Rocak, the 6’8″ senior from Switzerland, had 27 points, eight rebounds as the UC San Diego Tritons, in year two of their four-year transition from Division II to Division I, pulled the upset on the Bears at Haas Pavilion, 80-67. The Tritons trailed 37-33 at the half, but took the lead in the first five minutes after the break, and maintained it, in a 47-point outburst that was littered with Cal defensive breakdowns.

The Bears were led by Jordan Shepherd, the transfer from Charlotte, who had 27 points, and Andre Kelly with 17. The Bears started fast, building a 28-17 first half lead, but led by just four at the break, and scored just 30 points in the second half. Cal didn’t settle for threes, making five of 18, but they were most hurt at the free throw line where they missed 10 of their 24 attempts. Cal shot 45 percent from the floor during the opening 20 minutes, only attempting 10 3-pointers, making three.

Rocak paced the Tritons in the opening half with 16 points, including four of six from the line. Rocak averaged just 12.8 points in 2020-21 in 17 minutes per game, and apparently is enjoying a bigger role with UCSD this time around. The Tritons opened the second half on a run, gaining a 45-43 advantage with 15:05 remaining. They held only one lead in the game’s first 25 minutes–2-0.

“We stuck with what we know and what we do and kept trusting each other,” Rocak said. “In those moments it’s easy for everybody to try to do their own thing but we stuck with being in group and being unselfish, and great things happen when we share the basketball.”

The Bears were heavily dependent on the quartet of Joel Brown, Grant Anticevich, Kelly and Shepherd with 6’9″ Kuany Kuany the fifth starter who logged just 13 minutes. 6’3″ guard Jarred Hyder was the first reserve off the bench, playing 15 minutes, and holdover Dimitrios Klonaras along with 6’7″ freshman Sam Alajiki were the remainder of the eight-man rotation. Junior center Lars Thiemann and freshman Obinna Anyanwu saw five minutes of action each, with Jared Celestine and Makale Foreman as the two most conspicuous absences from the Cal rotation.

“We just have to be sharper,” Kelly said of his Bears. “It was the first time with this group together. We’ll bounce back. We’ll respond the right way.”

“I’m very disappointed in our team’s play today,” Cal coach Mark Fox said. “It’s my responsibility to get it cleaned up and make sure this doesn’t define our season.”

Further information could clear up the status of Celestine and Foreman, both of whom played extensively in 2020-21, and are expected to be significant contributors going forward.

The Tritons got 18 points from Bryce Pope, and 10 from Matt Gray, who received his first ever starting assignment. Freshman Francis Nwaokorie was the most significant UCSD reserve, scoring nine points before fouling out in his first collegiate game. The win was UCSD’s first against a Pac-12 opponent, they had been 0-12 against Pac-12 competition previously. They also captured their first ever road win since transitioning to Division I. They went 0-7 last season. The Tritons and the Bears had met just four times previously with the last meeting in 1985.

The Tritons welcomed six new faces to their roster but it mattered little when the game was on the line. The Bears shot just 40 percent for the game as their offense and defense wilted in the second half.

The Bears travel to Las Vegas on Saturday to face the UNLV Rebels at 5pm. The first road contest of their season will be televised on the Stadium network.

How’s A Fast Start Sound?: Bears cruise past Cal State LA in exhibition opener, 92-58

By Morris Phillips

BERKELEY, CA–No one knows if the Cal Bears will win enough to satisfy their fan base. No one knows how much time Coach Mark Fox will be afforded to turn things around in Berkeley. And no one knows if the Bears are talented or fortunate enough to win one game in the Pac-12, a conference that has gone from barren to loaded overnight.

But the Bears could grab uncertainty by the throat by winning early, and taking advantage of their one strength: continuity.

That process began on Monday night, in the wire-to-wire, exhibition win over Division II opponent Cal-State Los Angeles, 92-58.

Four of the five starters for Cal on Monday have at least one season in the program, as do 11 of the 14 players that saw action. Starter Grant Anticevich is in his fifth year, Andre Kelly his fourth, and Joel Brown his third. A fourth starter, Kuany Kuany and top reserve Jared Hyder are back for their second seasons.

That experience is key because none of the Bears are considered impact players and no one thinks anyone on the roster has an NBA future. That type of guy, guard Matt Bradley, transfered to San Diego State taking his team-best 18 points per game with him.

But Bradley was the only one to depart the program. So if anything, Cal has an opportunity to surprise more talented teams that might not be up to speed immediately due to them having to integrate a top freshman or key transfer into their starting lineup or core rotation.

The Golden Eagles of downtown Los Angeles typify the prevailing upheaval throughout the college game. They return only one contributor and essentially have an entirely new team. They lost their first exhibition to UC Riverside by 34 points, and they didn’t figure to be much more competitive against Cal.

They weren’t.

Cal shot 62 percent from the floor, led by as many as 39, and won by 34 as well. Anticevich missed just two shots and finished with a game-best 23. Kelly put up 17 points in 17 minutes of action, and he too only missed two shots.

Jordan Sheppard, the lone newcomer for Cal to start the exhibition, scored 11 points, and seven-footer Lars Thiemann added 10.

Sheppard, who spent the last three seasons at Charlotte of Conference USA where he averaged nearly 12 points per game, spoke highly of his new teammate Anticevich after the game.

“That’s the Grant we see every day,” Sheppard said. “It’s nothing new to us. There’s more to come. He played great, unbelievable.”

Freshmen Sam Alajiki and Obinna Anjanwu made their debuts, but for the most part, played tentatively. The pair combined to miss six of their eight shots.

Freshman Marsalis Roberson from Oakland was held out, and sophomore Monty Bowser did not see action.

The Bears open their regular season schedule on November 9, 2pm at Haas Pavilion again the UC San Diego Tritons. That occasion will be only the second time the Bears have actual fans in the building since February 2020 with Monday being the first.

Buzzer Beat: Missed free throw leaves Cal short in 76-75 loss to Utah

By Morris Phillips

BERKELEY, CA–Six consecutive losses didn’t leave Cal resigned to a seventh.

Instead the Bears battled visiting Utah in a tense second half only to miss a potential game-winning three with a second remaining and a critical free throw after Andre Kelly was fouled grabbing an offensive rebound with 0.7 remaining.

Kelly missed the first–then while trying to miss the second intentionally–converted, preventing the home team from coming up with a miraculous tip-in for the win.

“We had a tip-in play ready to go,” coach Mark Fox said. “It’s just hard to intentionally miss.”

The Bears trailed by ten at the half only to tie the game at 50, then lead 57-55 with 8:48 remaining. The Utes responded with the game’s next six points and never trailed again. But with Cal trailing 75-68 and 37 seconds remaining, the Bears didn’t quit.

Grant Anticevich’s steal led to Matt Bradley hitting two free throws to bring Cal within 75-70 with 33 seconds to go. After Timmy Allen made one of two from the line for Utah, Kelly followed his own miss and scored with 17 seconds left.

Allen was fouled again, but missed both free throws and Bradley’s layup got Cal within 76-74 with six seconds. Bradley was the trigger man on the potential game-winner setup by the Utes’ botched inbounds pass, but it rattled out.

Fox appeared to display displeasure with the referees after Utah paraded to the line in the final four minutes, in which they didn’t attempt a single shot from the floor. The Utes made nine of the first ten from the line to build a seven-point lead, but missed three of the next four free throw attempts to open the door for Cal.

Quite frankly, we got beat at the free throw line,” Fox said. “And that’s a hard place to defend”

The Bears showed tremendous character in making game of it, but put themselves in a hole by allowing Utah to shoot 58 percent in the first half. Also Utes’ reserve guard Ian Martinez was hard to handle, scoring 16 points, including nine in the final six minutes.

“My mentality is to just go out there and be helpful to the team however they need me,” said Martinez.

Allen led Utah with 18 points, and never came out the game, playing all 40 minutes. The junior forward wasn’t flawless however with five turnovers and the three late misses from the line.

The Bears led 31-30 in the first half only to see the Utes score 12 of the final 13 points before the break.

Bradley had 20 points to lead Cal (7-15, 2-13). Anticevich added 18 and Kelly 17. The Bears’ 31-21 edge on the boards was negated by 14 turnovers and 23 fouls committed.

“I told the team it’s not the last 30 seconds you stay up at night thinking about. It’s the first 39 and a half minutes. There’s a couple of mistakes in there we need to clean up,” Fox said.

The Bears host Colorado on Saturday at 7pm.