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.

Fast Finish: Cal races past Pacific in the second half, wins 73-53 in non-conference finale

By Morris Phillips

BERKELEY, CA–Three seasons into Coach Mark Fox’s Cal tenure, his holiday humor has taken hold. After visiting Pacific closed the first half Wednesday with a 14-2 burst, being humorous wasn’t easy and probably cathartic.

“It was going to be an ugly Christmas at halftime,” Fox conceded.

Fox was left ashen with the Tigers awakening. After suffering under Cal’s attention to defensive detail, Pacific turned a pair of eight-point deficits into a five-point halftime lead. The process was sudden, unexpected and wholly threatening to the big brother school holding a 26-2 advantage in the series between the schools. The process took 6 1/2 minutes and had the Bears reeling.

But then the second half commenced, and the sunshine returned on an ugly, rainy afternoon. The Bears responded decisively with a 48-point second half in a 73-53 win.

Grant Anticevich led the Bears with 25 points, 11 rebounds and a career-best seven 3-pointers. Essentially before Anticevich closed the deal, Jared Celestine (career-best 12 points), Jordan Shepherd and Andre Kelly (11 points each) kept the Bears afloat.

In a game of subtle twists, almost all predicated on defense in the absence of eye-popping offense, Fox pointed to an unlikely turning point with 10:33 remaining and Cal clinging to a two-point lead. If anything was comical, Fox’s declaration displayed it.

“Lars made a couple of big free throws,” Fox said.

Cal increased the pressure a few minutes later with a 21-2 closing run that yielded a 20-point victory.

And what specifically turned the contest into a rout? Probably, Pacific’s lack of resolve, nothing new for a young ballclub who has yet to score more than 67 points in any of its nine losses. That frustration kicks in when you shoot 36 percent in the second half and suffer 13 turnovers.

Jaden Byers led Pacific with 10 points, Jeremiah Bailey and Sam Freeman added eight points a piece. For new coach Leonard Perry, an encouraging six-minute stretch didn’t come with much else to extoll. And yes, the humor was eliminated.

“They’re learning, they’re trying, and it’s been a hard adjustment,” coach Leonard Perry said of UOP’s trajectory. “They stick in there and they compete during practice.”

The Bears established an eight-game home win streak along with momentum leading to their next test, January 2 at Stanford. Can the Bears win on the road, and can they win in the Pac-12?

We’re making progress and now we’ve got to see if we can beat the people in the league,” Fox said.

Bear Down: Defense carries Cal past Dartmouth 61-55, but Foreman suffers significant injury

By Morris Phillips

BERKELEY, CA–Coach Mark Fox wasn’t joking around. In his mind, Dartmouth’s Brendan Berry, the Ivy League’s 3-point savant, was comparable to Steph Curry.

And Fox’s concern didn’t end with Barry. Secondary threats Taurus Samuels and Ryan Cornish were also capable of big shooting nights, so Fox made a choice, and a commitment.

“Dartmouth is a great three-point shooting team,” said Fox. “Our objective was to take away the three-point shot even at the expense of giving up some two-point shots, and ultimately we did a pretty good job of that.”

Never mind that the Big Green had suffered five, consecutive losses including an embarrassing late game collapse at Stanford on Thursday, resulting in an overtime loss. And Fox didn’t overplay Cal’s success at Haas Pavilion, where they were looking for a sixth, consecutive win. Instead the Cal coach was seeking some certainty that wasn’t rooted in modest winning or losing streaks. To him, a defensive strategy that emphasized his club’s fast improving defense was the path to take, with entertainment value barely a concern.

“Our defense was consistent enough to win,” Fox reiterated. “It wasn’t pretty, but we’ll take it.”

Cal stopped Barry cold in his tracks, limiting Dartmouth’s leading scorer to 10 points, and misses on five of his six 3-point attempts. Cornish and Samuels didn’t fare any better, failing to make even one three between them. And Cal kicked in a decisive effort on the glass as well, spearheading their 61-55 win on Sunday afternoon.

Jordan Shepherd led Cal with 11 of his 18 points after the halftime break. Andre Kelly added 14, and Grant Anticevich came up big with seven points and a career-best 15 rebounds.

Cal took its first lead, 22-21, with 4:23 remaining before halftime. The Bears led by four at the break, and saw their advantage grow to as much as 12 midway through the second half. But this was a struggle with Cal’s offensive numbers–42 percent shooting, and 26 percent from three–not much sexier than the visitors.

But in the end Fox was pleased, with a couple of caveats. Those misgivings began with Makale Foreman’s foot injury that likely will leave him sidelined indefinitely. When Foreman was felled in the second half–a reoccurrence of a previous injury–that put tremendous pressure on the rest of the Cal rotation. While Cal got meaningful contributions from Jalen Celestine, Sam Alajiki and Jared Hyder, Shepherd’s minutes spiked, causing concern.

“Jordan Shepherd played a massive number of minutes, and we’ll have to get some relief there.”

The Bears conclude their non-conference schedule on Wednesday when Pacific of Stockton visits Haas Pavilion. The Tigers suffered a lopsided 77-67 home loss to UC Davis on Sunday, a game in which the Tigers trailed 41-21 at the break.

Bengals Bashed: Cal gets a rare laugher in 72-46 win over Idaho State

By Morris Phillips

BERKELEY, CA–Defense wins championships, and it also wins December non-conference games against overmatched opponents.

Don’t leave home without it, or make yourself at home with it.

Cal’s 72-46 victory over Idaho State was all defense after halftime, as the Bears ran away from Idaho while limiting the visitors to five made baskets after the break.

“We know as disjointed as our roster has been with injury that offensively it’s going to take a while to develop some chemistry,” coach Mark Fox said. “But I really wanted us to play hard defensively, and I thought in the second half we really showed that.”

The Bears benefitted in a stretch of 12 consecutive ISU misses that allowed Cal to stretch their lead to 49-30 with 11 minutes remaining. Idaho State shot an uncompetitive 28 percent from the floor in dropping an eighth consecutive game after opening the season with a win over NAIA Eastern Oregon.

Fox jumbled his starting lineup by promoting Makale Foreman and Sam Alajiki at the expense of Kuany Kuany and Joel Brown. While Kuany is out while dealing with an ankle injury, Brown played his normal minutes as a reserve. But the biggest beneficiary may have been Lars Thiemann, who came up with a career-best 12 points, three rebounds and a block in 19 minutes of action. The 7’1″ center’s presence gave the Bears defense force, and offensively his points were part of Cal’s decisive 42-16 edge in points in the paint.

“When he comes into the game he’s always capable of that,” guard Jordan Shepherd said of Thiemann. “We see it every day in practice.”

Marsalis Roberson, the freshman from Bishop O’Dowd in Oakland, made his collegiate debut, playing a couple of minutes in each half.

Idaho State was led by Robert Ford III with 11 points. Tarik Cool played the most minutes, and put up 14 shot attempts, but he couldn’t get it going, finishing with eight. The Bengals were outrebounded 44-32.

“We are feeling pretty beat up right now,” coach Ryan Looney said. “It has been a tough stretch and there a lot of things we need to do better.”

Andre Kelly had 12 points for Cal, and Grant Anticevich put up 10 points and 10 rebounds. Jordan Shepherd had 11 points on 4 of 10 shooting.

The Bears have won five, consecutive home games and at 5-5 will be afforded an opportunity to move above. 500 when Santa Clara visits Haas Pavilion on Saturday evening.

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.

Florida Sunshine Unkind: Hot-shooting Gators race past Cal, 80-60

By Morris Phillips

The Cal Bears desperately needed to make it to halftime within striking distance with an opportunity to regroup. But the hot shooting Florida Gators wouldn’t let it happen.

No. 23 Florida closed the first half on an extended 33-12 run that saw them turn a two-point deficit into a 19-point halftime lead. The Gators cruised from there, winning 80-60 at the Fort Myers Tip-Off at Suncoast Credit Union Arena.

“Credit the guys, not the adjustments,” Florida coach Mike White said. “I thought our energy level picked up.”

“We just got overwhelmed the last eight minutes of the first half,” coach Mark Fox said. “They’re an excellent team, but we’re certainly very disappointed in how we played.”

The Bears needed a credible shooting performance and some measure of a grasp on their opponent’s explosive offense, but they got neither. The Gators made 54 percent of their threes and 14 of 15 free throw attempts before halftime. Offensively, the Bears struggled with Florida’s quickness that made passing lanes disappear soon after they opened.

Jordan Shepherd, Cal’s leading scorer was limited to 15 points in 28 minutes on the floor, and Andre Kelly, coming off a 29-point, 15-rebound effort against San Diego, was limited to four shot attempts, and finished with nine.

“We didn’t get the ball entered as cleanly as we would like to,” Fox admitted.

The Bears committed 18 turnovers, and shot 41 percent in the first half when the game was decided. If shooting threes was the Bears’ method to stay close it never materialized. They attempted just four, and made one before the half.

Colin Castleton, the UF spindly big man, led the Gators with 16 points, eight rebounds. Tyree Appleby had 15, with a perfect performance from the line (7 for 7). Myreon Jones added 13, and Phlandrous Fleming Jr. had 11 off the bench.

“He created those shots,” White said of Castleton. “Outside of him, being prolific on the block, I do think we shared and moved it pretty well.”

The Bears got eight points from Lars Thiemann, and seven from Jalen Celestine, with both players coming off the Cal bench.

These two schools with big-time graduate journalism programs aren’t big on visiting the other’s campus. It’s never happened. This meeting was the third in the series, and all three have taken place in neutral buildings around the holidays. Cal won both previous meetings at the 1986 Rainbow Shootout in Honolulu, and the 1988 Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage.

Cal concludes its Florida swing with a meeting with Seton Hall on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. The No. 21 Pirates lost the tournament opener, 79-76 to unranked Ohio State.

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.

Bears In the Win Column: Cal holds off San Diego, 75-70

By Morris Phillips

BERKELEY, CA–Five made 3-pointers in a span of less than three minutes–an anomaly for the 2021-22 Cal Bears–fueled the host club to their first win of the season, 75-70 over San Diego.

“(Jordan) Shepherd made a great play, I was open and shot it with confidence,” Joel Brown said of Cal’s first half run that fueled Cal’s evening. “From there, it opened up everything.” 

Grant Anticevich led Cal with 17 points, shooting 5 for 8 from the floor, and making all three 3-point attempts. The fifth-year senior has lead the Bears in scoring in two straight games.

The other three Cal Bears that have been in heavy usage thus far this season: guards Brown, Shepherd and forward Andre Kelly produced complimentary, balanced numbers as well. Leading scorer Shepherd had 14 points, three assists, Kelly had 13 points, eight rebounds, and Brown had 12 points and seven assists.

This time out the Bears weren’t tentative offensively or bereft of made buckets, they shot 50 percent from the floor for the first time. And they backed that with a 10 for 15 clip from three and 69 percent success at the free throw line. After the game was tied at 32 at halftime, the Bears pulled ahead in the first seven minutes after the break, using an 8-0 run that saw them down 43-38, then up 46-43. They then led for the final 13 minutes, 24 seconds of the game.

The Bears hadn’t been this efficient shooting threes since the 1996-97 season, and again, they weren’t expected to be dialed in like Steph with this group, this season.

“We made enough shots to win,” Coach Mark Fox said.

“The thing that probably drives me crazy more than anything is especially when it’s guys we deem as snipers,” said USD coach Sam Scholl, who obviously wasn’t fooled by Cal’s 28.1 percent shooting from three coming in. “Their snipers got off a few too many 3s.”

San Diego was paced by senior Joey Calcaterra with 18 points, and four made threes. Jase Townsend had 16 points, four assists and Terrell Brown 11 points, 11 rebounds, five blocked shots in a spirited performance for San Diego.

Jalen Celestine and Makale Foreman comprised the biggest co-conspirators for Cal off the bench, as both played extensive minutes for a second game after both were absent in the opener. Foreman was 3 of 4 for 8 points in 20 minutes, while Celestine went scoreless in 12 minutes. Lars Thiemann picked up the slack with Kelly in foul trouble, playing 12 minutes and scoring four points.

“We had a couple too many breakdowns on their good players and they made us pay,” Scholl said of his Toreros, who could have started the season 3-0 for the first time since 2013.

Cal hosts Southern Utah on Thursday evening at 7:00 pm with television coverage on the Pac-12 Network. Southern Utah has already gained a foothold in the Bay Area, losing to St. Mary’s in Moraga on Monday, 70-51.

Rebel Rebel: Cal falls short at UNLV, 55-52 with Bears’ Shepherd held to 9 points

By Morris Phillips

The Bears visit to the Vegas bright lights, and a meeting with the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels, hinged on one aspect: 3-point shooting.

The Runnin Rebels attempted more, made more and that allowed them to get past Cal, 55-52 at the Thomas & Mack Center. The Rebels were 10 of 29 from three, the Bears 4 of 14. That and some critical defensive stops in the game’s final two minutes decided a close game.

On Cal’s final possession, leading scorer Jordan Shepherd, who scored 27 points in Cal’s loss to UCSD was rushed into a lengthy 3-point attempt that drew iron but bounced away. Shepherd had a rough afternoon, missing 14 of his 17 shot attempts, and was held to nine points.

“We had about three actions we thought they might do,” UNLV coach Kevin Kruger said. “They guarded it absolutely perfectly.”

Shepherd missed a second 3-point attempt, and had his attempted layup blocked with 27 seconds left. All three stops were part of the Rebels big defensive stand that kept Cal scoreless in the final two minutes.

“We had a layup to win the game. I don’t know if there was contact or not,” coach Mark Fox said.

“That’s the final step for us. Learn how to close a game like this. Certainly I thought our defense was much better than it was the other night.”

Grant Anticevich led Cal with 11 points, 10 rebounds, and Andre Kelly had eight points, eight rebounds and Joel Brown started, and saw 29 minutes of floor time, but finished with seven points, four rebounds.

Cal was limited to 36.8 percent shooting from the floor. The Rebels with their constantly changing personnel groupings, which included four transfer players, stuck with man-to-man principles throughout. The Bears were just as good at their end by harassing UNLV into rushed shot attempts. They played zone predominantly and limited the Rebels to 37.5 percent shooting.

Jalen Celestine and Makale Foreman made their season debuts for Cal, but neither got it going offensively. Celestine played 24 minutes, scoring four points and Foreman was scoreless in six minutes, missing both his shot attempts.

UNLV got 12 points, five rebounds from Bryce Hamilton, and Michael Nuga contributed 10 points, six rebounds.

“We were picked, what were we picked, eighth? We wear UNLV on our chest with pride. We’re here to bring it back to what it once was.”

The Bears host the University of San Diego Toreros on Monday night at Haas Pavilion at 6pm.