Bears’ late rally falls short in season-opening loss to Oregon State, 71-63

By Morris Phillips

A sluggish start doomed the Cal Bears in their much-anticipated season opener against Oregon State.

After trailing by five at the half–and as many as 14 in the second half–the Bears’ late rally came up short in a 71-63 loss at Corvallis. Cal gets a quick turnaround with Northwest University up next at 3pm on Thursday also at Gill Coliseum.

The Bears and Beavers agreed to play each other in a rare non-conference matchup between Pac-12 foes just 48 hours earlier when Cal’s scheduled opponent, Colorado State was forced to withdraw from the multi-team event due to Coronavirus issues.

The Bears may have had a couple of more returning players than did OSU, but the Beavers had the more impactful newcomers as they controlled the glass and displayed better shot selection in a game the home team led throughout. Senior guard Ethan Thompson led OSU with 15 points, seven rebounds and six assists and Nicholls transfer Warith Alatishe contributed 16 points to help Oregon State hold off Cal, who climbed within 67-62 with a 1:30 remaining but could get no closer.

The Bears got 21 points from Matt Bradley, who led Cal despite missing 11 of his 16 shot attempts from the floor. Transfer guard Makale Foreman was the only other Bear in double digits with 10.

Cal ran into trouble early, falling behind 10-4 on their way to missing 18 of their 30 field goal attempts before halftime. The Bears ran into more problems in the second half by shooting threes in an attempt to get back in the game, but missed 11 of 14.

The Beavers controlled the glass 43-32 to make up for their subpar 44 percent shooting. Reserve Rodrique Andela grabbed 11 rebounds in just 23 minutes off the bench. Jarod Lucas was OSU’s other bench contributor with 11 points in 24 minutes.

Freshman Monty Bowser and graduate transfer Ryan Betley made their Cal debuts with Betley starting and scoring nine points.

The two schools hadn’t met as non-conference opponents since the 1987 NIT. Prior to that they met in a regular season contest at the Far West Classic in Portland in 1984.

The Bears and Beavers will meet again on January 2 and February 25 in Berkeley. They split last season with each team winning at home.

NCAA Ready: Oregon displays postseason form in 90-56 rout of Cal

By Morris Phillips

Well, the Oregon Ducks and Cal Bears aren’t on the same trajectory.

While the Bears exercised their ability to stay connected to a superior opponent (without success), the Ducks’ dress rehearsal for a lengthy NCAA Tournament run looked like the real thing in Oregon’s 90-56 thrashing of Cal.

The Ducks opened with five, consecutive made shots, then went on a 21-0 run to put the game out of reach before halftime. Payton Pritchard, UO’s leader and long distance marksman led the effort with 20 points, nine assists. The Ducks regained a share of first place in the Pac-12 with the win, and they clinch a least a tie for the title in the regular season finale against Stanford on Saturday.

“The first half I really thought we really flew around and made a lot of defensive plays. And our ball movement was good and we obviously shot well at three, which gives you a big boost offensively,” coach Dana Altman said of his Ducks.

Only one word could describe Oregon’s offensive output: torrid. The Ducks shot 60 percent from the field, 70 percent from three (12 of 17), and converted 80 percent of their free throws.  The Ducks shared the ball with five players in double figures, and 18 assists on 31 made baskets.

Coach Mark Fox had hopes his team could summon its best effort after consecutive home wins, but the Bears didn’t come close.

“I was disappointed in our approach to the game, but I want to give Oregon credit. They played very well,” Fox said. “The only thing I was surprised by was our very poor start to the game.”

The 34-point margin of victory was the largest ever for Oregon in a victory over Cal. The Bears hadn’t given up at least 90 points in over a year dating back to a lopsided loss to UCLA. The Bears shot a chilly 36 percent from the floor for the game, and 33 percent in the first half, after which they trailed 46-20.

Matt Bradley led the Bears (13-17, 7-10) with 15 points, Grant Anticevich added 10.

The Bears conclude the regular season on Saturday in Corvallis against Oregon State.

Boot the Utes: Balanced Bears outlast Utah, 86-79 in overtime

By Morris Phillips

BERKELEY, CA–Fewer mistakes, staunch defense, more and varied contributors, the Cal Bears are starting to play better basketball.

Could they be ready to take the show on the road?

By outlasting Utah 86-79 in overtime on Saturday, the Cal Bears assured they won’t finish in the conference’s basement for the third, consecutive year. So with two regular season games and the conference tournament remaining, could the Bears..

Knock off No. 14 Oregon on Thursday, and put the Ducks conference title aspirations on hold? The Bears hadn’t won on the road, or beaten a ranked opponent. Now that they’ve done both (won at WSU, beat No. 21 Colorado) could they double down and accomplish both feats in the same game?

Sweep the Oregon schools and finish .500 in conference play? Talk about the ultimate, confidence builder, that would send the Bears into the conference tournament with a four-game win streak and momentum.

Maybe, maybe not, but by consistently elevating their play, Coach Mark Fox’s Bears have changed the discourse surrounding the program.

“I got sick of everybody telling us how bad we were going to be because I just didn’t think we would be,” Fox said. “I wasn’t going to accept that and I wasn’t going to let our team accept that. We’re not anywhere near where we want to be but the perception and the feelings about our team and this program are drastically different than what I heard all this summer.”

In beating Utah, the Bears (13-16, 7-9) had to climb off the mat twice, the second time when the Utes wiped out a six-point deficit in the game’s final minute to force overtime.

The Bears regrouped, scoring nine of the first 12 points of overtime to take control. Matt Bradley contributed six of those, the last of his team-leading 21-point performance. The Bears sealed it by making nine of their ten free throw opportunities in the extra session.

Bradley’s often excelled without help this season, but on the occasion of Senior Day at Haas Pavilion, the Cal star performed as a piece of a quartet.

Grant Anticevich had a big second half, finishing with 17 points, eight rebounds. Senior Paris Austin, who was honored before the game along with Jacob Orender, David Serge and Kareem South, contributed 15 points, four assists. And Andre Kelly had 15 points, nine rebounds and a career-best five blocks in 31 minutes off the bench.

Bradley and Kelly led the Bears to a 19-14 start to the game only to see Utah finish the half on a 14-5 run to take a lead at the break. Alfonso Plummer had nine of his 23 points for the Utes before halftime.

The Bears scored the first seven points of the second half to regain the lead. Austin’s layup put Cal up 31-28 with 18:23 remaining.

Timmy Allen led Utah with 26 points. Guard Both Gach appeared to create a three-point opportunity in the final seconds that could have given Utah the lead, but the referee waved off Gach’s bucket, ruling Austin’s foul came before the shot. With two seconds remaining, Gach made both free throws to force overtime.

With the loss, Utah (15-14, 6-11) finished 0-9 in conference road games. The Utes conclude their schedule against Colorado on Saturday at home.

52 Won’t Do: Cal goes cold, shut down by Washington in 87-52 loss at Seattle

By Morris Phillips

If we know anything about the Cal Bears, them scoring 52 points is not good.

For the sixth time this season, the Bears posted exactly 52 points on Saturday afternoon at Washington. And for the fifth time, that meant a discouraging, double-digit loss in which the team’s offense disappeared without a moment’s notice.

“We’ve had some defeats,” coach Mark Fox said of the 87-52 loss to the Huskies. “But this one was a stinker.”

The Bears led 17-11 with 11:33 remaining in the first half, then went 15 minutes spanning the halves without a bucket. Trying to subsist on free throws alone, Cal found themselves trailing 43-26 at the half. Then after the halftime break, and likely after an earful from Fox, the Bears surrendered the first 11 points of the second half to fall behind by 28.

Cal fans needing to wrap their head around something to understand the Bears’ collapse instead were presented with a statistical oddity. In trailing 54-28, the Bears had missed 21 of their 25 shots from the field, while making all 16 of their free throws, which looked good, but did little to keep them in the game. And the wildly juxtaposed numbers didn’t end there: Cal had just three assists and 12 turnovers through the game’s first 24 minutes.

After the final whistle, the numbers weren’t much better for one of Division I’s most offensively challenged teams. Cal finished with just 11 made baskets and 17 turnovers in 40 minutes of hard-to-watch basketball.

Of course, the Huskies noticed very little of Cal’s struggles. The win ended a nine-game losing streak for the Pac-12’s most confounding team, one which came into the season with two elite freshman recruits and Top 25 expectations only to beat No. 1 Baylor in the season’s first month, then go into the tank. Even with the win, UW still sits in the conference basement at 13-15, 3-12.

But all the struggles didn’t prevent them from playing well on Saturday.

“We really locked in. We were really active. Guys did a good job of being focused and aware of what we were trying to do. And they executed it,” coach Mike Hopkins said.

After the game, Hopkins’ emotions surfaced in trying to thank the Washington fans for sticking with his group. The coach hilariously ended his press conference with a hopeful message, and a theatrical drop of the microphone as he departed.

“It shows you what this place can be and is going to be. So thank you fans out there. Go Dawgs!” Hopkins said in advance of his grand exit to humored laughs from the assembled journalists.

Cal was led by Matt Bradley with 14 points, but the Bears’ leading scorer missed eight of his 11 shots from the floor. Afterwards, the Huskies revealed that limiting Bradley was their top objective. No other Bears finished in double figures, Grant Anticevich and Kuany Kuany each had 7 points.

Nahziah Carter led UW with 16 points, freshman Isaiah Stewart had 15.

The Bears finish their home schedule this week starting with a visit from Colorado on Thursday at 6pm. Utah visits Haas Pavilion on Saturday.


Running With the Devils: Bears acquit themselves quite respectably in 80-75 loss to Arizona State

By Morris Phillips

BERKELEY, CA–A high-scoring game is the last thing the Cal Bears want to be involved in.

Unless, you’re a Cal fan and ticket holder, then your attitude is probably why not?

The Bears’ rebuilding process that landed them in the Pac-12 basement in 2018 and 2019 has them traversing the bottom tier of Division I point-producers in 2020. Coming into Cal’s home game against Arizona State on Sunday, the Bears ranked 335th (out of 350) in scoring offense averaging a bare bones 62.2 points per game.

With the notable exceptions of defending National Champion Virginia (ranked 347th) and NCAA-worthy Wisconsin (302), it’s the bottom of a list teams would rather avoid. Littered with struggling squads across Division I, it’s a place where anxiety abounds. Players doubt their abilities, coaches like Shaka Smart of Texas (325) find themselves on the hot seat, and ticket holders check out faster than they check in.

For Cal, hosting red-hot ASU, averaging 77 points a game over a four-game win streak that has the Sun Devils dreaming of the NCAA Tournament, seemed like more bad news in a season that’s already been trying enough.

But it wasn’t. The Bears battled Arizona State into the final minute in a 80-75 loss that turned on a late ASU surge and the brillance of Pac-12 Conference Player of the Year candidate Remy Martin.

Martin had 22 points–15 in the second half–as ASU built an eight-point lead with three minutes remaining and held on to win for the seventh time in eight games. The Bears shot 48 percent in the second half–and scored nine points in the final 45 seconds–to make it a close shave, and a watchable, competitive affair.

“Sometimes in defeats you play well but we didn’t win, which is what we came here to do,” coach Mark Fox admitted.

Martin, the senior from Los Angeles, and arguably college basketball’s most prominent Filipino-American player, has scored in double figures in all 12 conference games. In nine of those, including Sunday, he’s scored at least 20.

“He hits the deep 3, he hit the shot off one leg and stopped, just really high level of difficulty shots but he get so much attention from defenses it’s really never easy for him to score too often,” coach Bobby Hurley said of Martin. “He continues to surprise me, the things I see him do out there.”

The Sun Devils achieved a conference road sweep for the first time in a decade with the win. ASU also beat Stanford 74-69 on Thursday. The rare, but also quirky, occurrence happens rarely, just not normally only once a decade. This season in the Pac-12, only ASU and Arizona (both occurrences this weekend) have accomplished the feat.

“I know its been talked about quite a bit but it’s not really a thing for me,” Hurley said of ASU’s first sweep since January 2010 over the Oregon schools. “It’s more where we stand right now, just can ill afford to lose, and got to keep it rolling the way we’ve been.”

Matt Bradley led Cal with 20 of his 22 points after halftime. Grant Anticevich added 18 points, eight rebounds and Paris Austin had 17. The Bears (10-15, 4-8) have lost seven of nine since sweeping the Washington schools, but remain in a tight grouping of five schools, placed seventh through 11th, for seeding in the upcoming conference tournament.

Cal visits Pullman, Washington and Washington State on Thursday night.



No Shot: Bears’ offense disappears in lopsided Pac-12 opening loss at Stanford

By Morris Phillips

STANFORD, CA–The Stanford Cardinal aren’t physically imposing, blessed with great depth, foot speed or rebounding acumen, but they consistently carry themselves as a formidable defensive team.

So far–with non-conference play complete and the Pac-12 schedule in front of them–their portrayal of themselves holds weight. Stanford ranks 13th (out of 350) nationally, allowing just 58.8 points per game, while forcing opponents into 39 percent shooting from the floor.

On Thursday night at Maples Pavilion against rival Cal, Stanford posted even better numbers in their conference-opening 68-52 drubbing of the visiting Bears. Beyond the points allowed and Cal’s 30 percent shooting for the game, Stanford forced 18 turnovers leaving Cal literally in shambles.

“Our team has had an epidemic of turnovers throughout the year,” said coach Mark Fox. “It wasn’t just tonight, and that’s taking nothing away from Stanford, which has a very good defense. We have to get it fixed.”

Cal started fast, seeing results from their pressure defenses that propelled them to an early 7-2 lead. But as quickly as things came together, they fell apart, as Stanford responded with an 11-0 run and never trailed again.

Daejon Davis led Stanford with 20 points, Tyrell Terry added 14, and Bryce Wills 10, as the Cardinal carried through on their intention to attack the Bears in the paint. An early timeout seemed to get the Cardinal refocused.

“We were literally jacking 3’s and not being aggressive going to the basket,” Davis said.

For the second straight game Cal held the edge on the glass, outrebounding Stanford 41-30, but it mattered little once the Bears’ shots weren’t falling. Leading scorers Matt Bradley and Kareem South fared the worst, missing 18 of their combined 24 shots.

“That’s tough for our team to overcome because we just don’t have a lot of other firepower around (Bradley and South),” Fox said.

The Bears have lost 8 of 10 following their 4-0 start, and have yet to win away from Haas Pavilion. What’s worse was the Bears’ paltry point total. They’ve now matched their season-low in points (52) not once, but twice, also in losses to Santa Clara and Duke.

Cal hosts their Pac-12 home opener on Thursday against Washington State with Washington visiting Berkeley on Saturday.




Winter Break Tutorial: Harvard schools Cal on the finer defensive points at Haas, wins 71-63

By Morris Phillips

BERKELEY, CA–Harvard visited Haas Pavilion on Sunday. It wasn’t supposed to be the educational experience for the Bears it turned out to be.

Chris Lewis scored 19 points, Christian Juzang had 14 as the Crimson compensated for the absence of leading scorer Bryce Aiken with a strong defensive effort in beating the Cal Bears, 71-63.

Harvard held Cal to 37 percent shooting in the first half, 35 percent for the game and never trailed. The visitors from the Ivy League led by 15 at one point in the second half and were never really threatened. Cal’s one statistical advantage–a 13-3 edge on the offensive glass–was merely a mirage. Often Cal missed shots, rebounded and missed again.

Tommy Amaker, the former Duke star and Harvard’s head coach, loved what he saw from his team defensively.

“Our defense is our calling card for our program,” Amaker said. “We’ve built our program around our defense. Our guys give great effort. We play a lot of players so we should be pretty fresh out there. I would love for us to be able to do that on one end and be a little more efficient on the other end. That’s the goal. But certainly was pleased with the team defensive effort that we gave.”

If losing as a Power 5 to an Ivy League opponent wasn’t disconcerting enough, the Crimson did it in a very un-Ivy League manner. They blocked shots. Harvard turned back 11 Cal shots, seven by their starting posts, 6’8″ Mason Forbes and the 6’9″ Lewis.

Aiken, averaging a team-leading 16.7 ppg, was in a walking boot before the game. Amaker didn’t divulge many details regarding his injury, but he was a surprise scratch. Cal was unaware of Aiken’s unavailability until the opening tap.

The Bears have lost seven of nine after a 4-0 start, and now look to their Pac-12 opener at Stanford on Thursday with the conference’s only losing record (6-7) at this juncture. Eight of the 12 members have lost either twice or three times, including Stanford (11-2). Cal is trying to avoid a third, consecutive season in the Pac-12’s basement.

Defense has been a major issue with the Bears, and it was again Sunday. Harvard shot 57 percent before halftime to jump to 34-24 lead at the break. The offense was absence as mentioned, especially from leading scorer Matt Bradley, who missed 10 of his 14 shots, including all six of 3-point attempts.

“We don’t have a ton of guys who are consistent scorers and so the focus of the defense is going to be geared towards certainly Matt. And he’s going to have to really work to move without the ball, and learn to be more efficient,” head coach Mark Fox explained.

“He’s learning how to play the role of a lead role player, and he’s having to do that on the fly. And there’s a lot that comes with that.”

Bradley led Cal with 15 points. Kareem South added 13, and Grant Anticevich had 12.

Harvard cut Cal off at the point of attack as well. Starting point guard Paris Austin and his backup Joel Brown were a combined 2 of 12 shooting, and compiled just five assists.

Cal opens Pac-12 play with three of their first five on the road with a trip to Los Angeles following a homestand against the Washington schools. Given the Bears’ desire to jump out of the conference basement, their conference home opener against the WSU Cougars is an opportunity not to be missed.

Why? When you’re struggling, you don’t run across too many, beatable opponents. That’s Cal’s reality at the moment.


What’s New? Gaels are good, Bears are work in progress in St. Mary’s 89-77 win

By Morris Phillips

BERKELEY, Calif. — Aggressiveness, experience and nerve–the Saint Mary’s Gaels brought so much of those elements through the Caldecott Tunnel on Saturday night, they probably needed two team buses to transport it all.

The Cal Bears were left to experience all three, to their detriment in a 89-77 loss. In a December filled with hard lessons, the Bears fell to 6-5 with all five losses by double digits, this one the first of the five at Haas Pavilion.

St. Mary’s–on the cusp of the nation’s Top 25 with a 10-2 record, but coming off a loss to notable mid-major Dayton–shot 54 percent for the game and led by 19 at one point. The Gaels hurt the Bears from distance, hitting nine 3-pointers in the first half, and 10 of 15 for the game. Leaving shooters open has been an issue for the Bears in their streak of five losses in their previous six games, and that didn’t dissipate against the Gaels, who lead the nation in 3-point shooting percentage at better than 44 percent.

“I felt like we got off to a very good start and then we let some offensive struggles impact our defense in the last half of the first half against a very good offensive team and we obviously can’t do that,” coach Mark Fox said. “Saint Mary’s shot the ball extremely well as we knew they would and we didn’t do the job defensively to slow them down.”

The game featured a trio of outstanding, individual performances starting with St. Mary’s senior forward Malik Fitts, who scored 21 of his 28 points before halftime. With the Bears deploying Juhwan Harris-Dyson on Fitts in the second half, his scoring slowed, but Jordan Ford’s surged. The St. Mary’s guard scored 25 of his 32 points after halftime, including a three with 4:32 remaining that re-established the Gaels’ double-digit lead, 75-64.

“It’s kind of a pick-your-poison type of deal. One of us is probably going to have a good game, hopefully both of us,” Ford said of Fitts’ performance and his own.

Andre Kelly put up a career-high 26 points for Cal, 20 of those after halftime as the Bears found a way fight back offensively, if not defensively. Kelly had success against St. Mary’s bigger post players, Mathias Tass and Aaron Menzies, so much so that coach Randy Bennett elected to go with reserve Dan Fotu for a long stretch. But with the game in the latter stages, Kelly got the ball in the post and was tied up by Tass with the held ball situation giving the ball back to the Gaels. That prevented the Bears from reducing a 70-60 deficit with 6:01 remaining.

The series between the neighboring schools separated by 11 miles and the East Bay hills concluded for now after games in each of the last three seasons. St. Mary’s captured all three–by double digits–but Bennett concurred that the Bears were much improved over the last two seasons in his comments after the game.

When pressed, both coaches had interesting takes on what it would take to continue the series in the future.

“We would like to protect some of these Bay Area games, but I can’t protect them all,” Fox said, citing the Pac-12’s increasing league games from 18 to 20 starting next season, which takes two non-conference games away. “That’s mathematically going to be impossible if we still want to play other people and grow our program.”

“I think it’s a game that if they’re good and we’re good, it makes sense,” Bennett said. “If either one of us aren’t good, it probably doesn’t make sense.

The WCC agreed to reduce the number of their conference games from 18 to 16 for their 10 members, which in part is how Cal managed to see all three Bay Area members–USF, St. Mary’s and Santa Clara–in the previous, two weeks. Bennett, who has seen a soft strength of schedule prevent two of his previous teams from making NCAA tournament appearances, loves the new arrangement. In the first year of the increase in non-conference opportunities, the long time Gaels’ coach has scheduled Dayton, Utah State, Wisconsin and Arizona State, all opponents that will catch the eye of the tournament selection committee.

The Bears resume their schedule on Saturday at the Chase Center in San Francisco against ACC opponent Boston College. That game is part of a quadruple header that will feature Stanford and St. Mary’s as well.

Sloppy Bears slip past Prairie View A&M 54-50, stay unbeaten

By Morris Phillips

BERKELEY, CA–The Cal Bears committed more turnovers (22) than they scored points after halftime (19) on Monday against Prairie View A&M.

That won’t cut it on Thursday when the Bears step into Madison Square Garden and face Duke.

“I thought we were poorly coached today, I thought we played poorly, and two wrongs make a wrong,” coach Mark Fox admitted. “We were fortunate to escape with a win but we have to play better basketball than we played today.”

Definitely, a learning experience for the youthful Bears. But they didn’t get their lessons in a loss. Grant Anticevich hit a big 3-pointer with 2:40 remaining, and Matt Bradley scored half of his team-best 16 points in crunch time, and somehow the Bears held on, winning 54-50.

“Nothing was going our way offensively or defensively. But we stuck it out and ended up winning,” Bradley said. “We’re 4-0 right now– I’m happy to say that.”

The Panthers qualified for the NCAA tournament in 2018-19 and are the coach’s pick to repeat as SWAC champions this season. On Monday, they took the floor without Devonte Patterson, the presumptive SWAC Player of the Year, and still gave Cal fits.

“There were times we didn’t match their intensity, which was a problem. We should’ve grabbed more rebounds, but give credit to them– they played hard.”

The biggest difference between Cal’s first three wins, and the victory over Prairie View was at the offensive end. The Bears shot a cumulative 56 percent versus Pepperdine, UNLV and Cal Baptist. On Monday, against the physical Panthers, the Bears shot 39 percent and managed just eight assists on 17 made baskets. For long stretches, the ball didn’t move and the Bears settled for jump shots.

“Hopefully some days you can win because you make jump shots but that’s not the only thing that matters in the game and I felt like we had a little bit of an immature approach offensively and our decisions with the basketball,” Fox said. “We were not very good today.”

Down 52-50 in the final moments, Prairie View had a couple of chances to tie or take the lead but couldn’t convert. Chancellor Ellis missed a 3-pointer then with eight seconds remaining, Dejuan Madden was whistled for an offensive foul.

Anticevich had 13 points, six rebounds as the only Bear other than Bradley to score in double figures. Kuany Kuany, a slender 6’9″ freshman, made his Cal debut, but overall, the Cal bench did very little, as six reserves combined to miss 15 of their 18 shots.

Ellis and Faite Williams led the Panthers with 12 points apiece.


Anticevich’s the name, 3-point buckets the game in Cal’s 82-62 win over California Baptist

By Morris Phillips

BERKELEY, Calif. — An all-time high of 354 institutions are competing in Division I basketball this season, and California Baptist from Riverside is starting a second season at the college game’s highest level.

But let’s be honest: Nobody at Haas Pavilion knew much about the Lancers, who are competing in the Western Athletic Conference against the likes of Grand Canyon and UT Rio Grande Valley, before Friday night.

For that matter, they didn’t know much about Grant Anticevich, who had made just 11 3-pointers in his first two seasons as a Golden Bear.

Well, both Anticevich and the CBU Lancers have a little bit more notoriety now.

California Baptist earned a bit of respect by being tied at the half, and leading Cal briefly in the second half. Anticevich was noticeable much earlier, scoring 16 of his career-best 23 points in the first half. New coach Mark Fox’s clean slate appears to have provided Anticevich with an opportunity, and the 6’9″ junior is taking advantage.

“I didn’t judge any of these kids off the previous year,” said Fox, who has stated on a couple of occasions that he has 17 new players on his roster. “I haven’t looked at tape. I didn’t look at the stat sheet. I gave them all a fresh start and from day one we thought, ‘Grant’s a really good three-point shooter.’ So we built that into what we are doing because he has shot it well since we arrived, and obviously tonight he got hot.”

Anticevich was 5 for 5 from distance, keying the Bears 82-62 win that moves them to 3-0 for the first time since 2015. But he wasn’t the only hot shooter for Cal, the team shot 57 percent from the field and 54 percent from three. Matt Bradley contributed 16 points, and Kareem South 10.

Anticevich and Andre Kelly keyed Cal’s 17-0 run that put them up 68-48 with 9:36 remaining.

“I feel like offensively we changed and also our intensity,” Bradley said. “We picked it up a lot in the second half. We denied 3-point shots and we just manned up and guarded our man.”

CBU was led by Ferron Flavors Jr. with 11 points, Milan Acquaah had 10. Acquaah, the pre-season pick for WAC Player of the Year, and a transfer from Washington State missed 13 of his 16 shots from the field.

The Bears continue play in the 2K Empire Classic on Moday with Prairie View A&M visiting Haas Pavilion. The Bears then travel to Madison Square Garden for Thursday’s game against Duke.