Cal Men's Basketball Earns First Win Against NAIA Northwest University

Golden Bears shot 51% against the Eagles

California fans have yet another thing to be thankful for this Thanksgiving: The California Golden Bears (1-1) earned their first win of the 2020-2021 men’s basketball season, 86-61, against the Northwest University Eagles (0-1).

The Eagles compete in the NAIA’s Cascade Collegiate Conference and went 18-12 last season.

Thursday’s match-up was the first-ever between these two teams.

Northwest University, a private Christian liberal arts university in Kirkland, Wash., traveled to Corvallis, Ore., seeking an upset against an NCAA Division I school in a “multi-team” exhibition event organized by Oregon State.

But as expected, the Eagles found themselves outmatched.

California shot 51% in a match where no starter played more than 25 minutes. Head Coach Mark Fox’s starters included Matt Bradley, graduate-transfer guard Ryan Betley, Makale Foreman, and sophomore forwards Kuany Kuany and D.J. Thorpe.

In a real treat for California fans, Coach Fox played 14 players, and all but two of these Golden Bears contributed at least one point to the final score sheet. Five scored in the double-digits Thursday afternoon: Betley scored a game-high 14 points, Bradley and Andre Kelly both added 11 each, and Joel Brown and Foreman put up 10 points each.

California began the game by making the first basket, a layup from sophomore Thorpe a little more than one minute into the game.

The Eagles’ only lead of the game came 25 seconds later with a shot from downtown from Northwest senior Cesar Sandoval, which resulted in an early 3-2 advantage for his team.

California then ran away with the game. The Division I “Power Five” team’s highest lead was 37 points.

Despite the large final advantage, California could use some improvement in play, especially if it wants to avoid a bottom finish in league play.

The Golden Bears made only 58% of attempts at the charity stripe and gave up seven three-pointers to an NAIA offense.

Yesterday, the Golden Bears lost, 63-71, to the Oregon State Beavers in an impromptu exhibition match where a fellow projected Pac-12 bottom-feeder out-classed them with many newcomer players.

California returns to Berkeley, Calif., and will face the Nicholls State Colonels (1-0) on Monday, Nov. 30 at 4:30 p.m. PT.