Skip to main content

Cal Basketball: Bears Open Pac-12 Play With Encouraging 73-61 Win over Oregon State

Next up: A trip to play at Utah on Sunday before return to non-conference play.

Cal opened Pac-12 play with a decisive 73-61 win over an Oregon State team that reached the Elite Eight round of the NCAA tournament a year ago.

Sure, a lot has changed with the Beavers.

The Bears looked like a different team a year later, too.

A decent portion of the Haas Pavilion crowd announced at 4,505 stood and cheered briefly when it was over.

"It was great to have people back. It felt like a home-court advantage," coach Mark Fox said. "This is a great building when people are in it, and we're still going to need all the help we can get from our fans."

Cal (4-4, 1-0) won its Pac-12 opener for the first time in four seasons, sending the Beavers (1-7, 0-1) to their seventh straight defeat. The Bears were 3-17 in conference play last year, and 15-59 in the Pac-12 over four seasons.

"We were really ready to play," Fox said in the video at the top, before referencing burps in each half. "At the end of the night we won the game. We have a lot of teachable moments we can look back on and learn from.

"But certainly feel good about the victory."

OSU had beaten the Bears four straight times, including in all three meetings last season.

The Bears needed bursts in both halves to get this done. They opened a 13-point lead in the first half only to watch it drain away for a 34-33 halftime edge. 

But they opened the second half with a 12-1 surge, powered by four baskets in the paint from senior forward Andre Kelly.

Jordan Shepherd in the video above talks about what the Bears showed by regaining control in the second half. 

When Shepherd scored on a scooping, Steph-like layup, Cal led 56-40 with 8:36 left. The Bears defended, too, allowing the visitors to make just 3 of their first 17 shots to start the second half.

Shepherd, the graduate transfer, led the way with 25 points to go with eight rebounds. Kelly had 20 points on 8-for-11 shooting and grabbed 13 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season.

Kelly talks in the video about how much he enjoys playing with Shepherd.

Read More

Grant Anticevich contributed 12 points and the Bears shot 50 percent to compensate for 13 turnovers that the Beavers transformed into 20 points.

The Beavers tried the replicate their first-half rally, using a 13-4 run to get within 60-53 with just under 4 minutes left. But they got no closer.

Forward Warith Alatishe, who came alive during OSU’s last season run through the Pac-12 tournament and into the regional finals of the NCAAs, scored 21 points and had eight rebounds.

The Bears complete their early-December detour into Pac-12 play when they visit Utah on Sunday. The Utes (5-2, 0-1) won their first five games before losing to BYU and USC, the latter by a 93-73 margin on the road.

"We're an improved team," Fox, beginning his third season at Cal, said in the video above. "My opinion is this is the best team I've had since I've come here. I think we've improved in a lot of ways.

"But I think there's so much room for growth. Some of our own individual demons we have to address. We had some plays tonight that showed some immaturity that we still have, some poor decision-making that we still show. But I'm excited that our team is playing better."

The first half was divided into two distinct sections for the Bears.

They played about as well as they have all season for 14-plus minutes, defending hard, moving the ball and getting good shots. They made 13 of their first 21 attempts (62%) and led 34-21 with 5:27 left after a jumper by Anticevich, who had 10 points in the half.

Then it all went dry.

Cal did not score again in the half, missing its final seven shots (four of them 3-point tries) and turning the ball over three times. All that flow and rhythm from minutes earlier was suddenly gone.

Oregon State, which appeared disorganized to start, became more aggressive offensively and used its defense to get some easy ones. The Beavers scored five points in a span of 20 seconds off two Cal turnovers, with Gianni Hunt hitting an open, transition 3-pointer after the first and Maurice Calloo turning a steal into a fast break dunk.

Dashawn Davis scored on a drive to the basket with 2 seconds left in the half, pulling OSU within 34-33 at the break.

Cover photo of Jordan Shepherd by Rob Edwards, KLC fotos

Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo