Cal Basketball: Bears Try to Reach 4-0 Before Challenging Duke at MSG

Jeff Faraudo

CAL (3-0) vs. PRAIRIE VIEW A&M (1-3)

WHERE: Haas Pavilion, Berkeley

WHEN: Monday, 7 p.m.

TV/RADIO: Pac-12 Networks/810-AM

CAL-PRAIRIE VIEW HISTORY: Cal leads 2-0. The Bears beat the Panthers 85-53 in their most recent meeting, Dec. 22, 2012.

CAL STORYLINES: The Bears try to improve to 4-0 for the first time since the 2015-16 season in their fourth straight home game of the early season. . . . Win or lose in this second 2K Empire Classic game, the Bears will play in the event’s semifinal game Thursday at New York City’s Madison Square Garden against Duke (4-0), which is expected to be No. 1 in the AP Top-25 this week. They would then face either Georgetown or Texas on Friday. . .Cal is 15-0 all-time against opponents from the SWAC. . . . Cal has won its first three games despite have not held a halftime lead. . . . The Bears are shooting 55.1 percent as a team to rank No. 5 in the nation entering play Sunday. A year ago, they made just 42.6 percent and were 271st in Division I, last in the Pac-12. The improved shooting has translated to an 82.7 scoring average, up from 68.4 points a year ago. . . . Sophomore Matt Bradley is scoring 21.3 points per game and has made 53 percent of his 3-point tries. . . Junior Grant Anticevich is coming off the best game of his career, with 23 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists — all career-highs. He shot 5-for-5 from the 3-point arc to tie a Cal record for most 3’s made without a miss.

PRAIRIE VIEW A&M STORYLINES: While Cal was picked to finish last this season in the Pac-12, the Panthers are preseason favorites as defending champs in the SWAC. They were 22-13 a year ago, including 17-1 regular-season champs in the SWAC and earned just their second-ever bid to the NCAA tournament. . . . Coach Byron Smith, who orchestrated the program’s first 20-victory season, lost four key players from last year’s team, including top scorer and rebounder Gary Blackston. The Panthers are currently without junior forward Devonte Patterson, who averaged 13.5 points last year and hiked that to 21.6 over the final five games. Patterson, who entered the NBA draft last spring before removing his name, is suspended for this season’s first eight games. . . . Prairie View, which is 0-18 all-time vs. current members of the Pac-12, opened its season with a win over Jarvis Christian but has yet to beat a Division I opponent. The Panthers are coming off a 70-56 loss at Texas. Their top scorer is guard Chancellor Ellis, who is scoring 14.8 points per game and had 29 points in a loss to Central Florida.

CAL GAME NOTES: Click here