Cal basketball in the win column with blowout of Northwest WA, 86-61

The Cal Bears Ryan Betley (00) led all scorers on Thanksgiving night at Northwest University at Gill Coliseum with 14 points in the Bears first win of the 2020-21 season (KLC Photos)

By Morris Phillips

It’s not the distinction the Cal athletic department was looking for but hey, it’s 2020 and just about anything goes.

The Cal men’s basketball team has a win at least a day before the Cal football team gets its initial win. Call it calendar confusion or a COVID cancelations conundrum, the Bears hoopers have their first win, 86-61 over Northwest (WA) a day before the Cal football team (0-2) faces Stanford in the Big Game.

Normally, the overlap between college football and college basketball is brief, but nothing is normal this season. In fact, it wasn’t until midway through this week that the Bears found out they would be playing on Thanksgiving day.

But once the novelty of it all played out the Bears got down to business, decimating the NAIA Eagles with a 27-4 run early in the first half on their way to a 20-point halftime lead and a 25-point win.

Five Golden Bears scored in double figures led by Ryan Betley with 14 points, nine rebounds. Andre Kelly an Matt Bradley each scored 11 points, Makale Foreman and Joel Brown each had 10.

Mark Fox jumbled his lineup, inserting Foreman, Kuany Kuany and D.J. Thorpe as starters after the team started sluggishly on Wednesday versus OSU. Fox took advantage of the big lead by getting playing time for his entire roster with Logan Alters, Blake Welle and Jalen Celestine making their season debuts.

The two schools were originally scheduled for Friday afternoon but the late scratch of the Colorado State Rams due to COVID issues forced the teams to move up 24 hours to accommodate a newly scheduled Northwest (WA)-Oregon State matchup on Friday.

The Bears return to the Bay Area early in anticipation of their home opener against Nicholls of the Southland Conference on Monday night.