Cal Basketball: Grant Anticevich Nets 23 and Gets Introduced to Amit Tamir

Jeff Faraudo

It was the first time all night that Grant Anticevich was off his game.

Asked if he was familiar with Amit Tamir, Anticevich was befuddled.

“What’s that?” asked the junior forward from Sydney, Australia,

Not what . . . who?

Tamir is known to veteran Cal fans as the skilled big man from Israel who played for the Bears in the early years of this century. Older than his teammates as a veteran of the Israeli military, Tamir once scored 39 points in a game for the Bears.

He also had a game on March 2, 2003 where he shot 5-for-5 from the 3-point arc against Arizona State to set a Cal record for most threes made without a miss.

Eric Vierneisel later tied that record in 2008, and on Friday night against Cal Baptist, Anticevich added his name to the list.

He scored a career-high 23 points — nearly double his previous career high of 13 — on 9-for-11 shooting, including his perfect line from behind the arc. He also had career bests of nine rebounds and four assists, along with a block and a steal in the Bears’ 82-62 victory.

“My teammates were being really unselfish. They were giving me a lot of open shots and doing a lot of work for me and all I had to do was catch it and put it in the hole,” Anticevich said with a great helping of modesty. ”I was doing the simple part.”

Anticevich said he spent time in the offseason working on his 3-point game, but it didn’t show the Bears’ first two outings, when he missed his only four attempts.

But he acknowledged that he — and the entire team — is beginning to feel more comfortable in first-year coach Mark Fox’s system.

Sophomore Matt Bradley, who led the Pac-12 in 3-point accuracy a year ago, was impressed.

“Grant had a really big game . . . 5-for-5, that’s big-time,” he said. “We have a lot of threats.”

They appear to have one more than they did before Friday night. But Fox said he has seen this coming since the day he took over last spring.

“I didn’t judge any of these kids off the previous year. I haven’t looked at tape. I don’t look at the stat sheet. I gave ‘em all a fresh start,” he said.

“From Day 1, we thought Grant’s a really good 3-point shooter. So we’ve built that into what we’re doing because he’s been shooting it well since we got here. Obviously tonight, he got hot and we took full advantage of that.”

Fox said he hopes this is not a one-off performance.

“We do have a young team and they all need a boost of confidence. They all need a game where they can feel good about it and think back on it in future times and remember that they can do it,” he said.

“I hope everybody gets a game where they shoot 5-for-5 from 3, but that’s maybe not very realistic. I think this will help Grant cement some confidence because he is a good player.”