Cal rallies late in 73-53 win over Pacific
The Bears improve to 8-5 on the season.
Entering Wednesday afternoon’s game against Pacific, Mark Fox knew that his squad had but one opportunity to set the tone for the next week and a half. The Bears are not slated to play again until they face Stanford on January 2. Cal men’s hoops needed to take care of business against a 5-8 Tigers team that ranked 240th in Division I according to Ken Pomeroy. Despite getting off to a strong start, California trailed at the half and needed a late offensive barrage to overpower the visitors during a 73-53 victory at Haas Pavilion.
Cal held a 13-5 edge just over 6 minutes into the contest thanks in part to five early points from Jalen Celestine, who got the start with Kuany Kuany out of action. He ended with a tidy 12 points and seven boards. Joel Brown gave the Bears a 20-16 advantage with a beautiful reverse lay-in, but the Tigers evened the score at 23 on a basket by Sam Freeman. Brown racked up seven points, seven rebounds, eight assists and two steals for the game. Jordan Shepherd scored 11 total points but missed a few open looks, shooting 4-for-12 from the floor overall. The Bears ended up falling behind by five and got lucky that Jeremiah Bailey missed a 3-pointer just before halftime. Even so, of all the Tigers only Jaden Byers was able to reach double digit points.
As the second half began, the Bears caught a break out of the gate when Pierre Crockrell II released a 3-pointer just a bit too late for it to count. Later, a pair of Freeman layups tied the game at 41 with 13:54 left in the second half. Andre Kelly really struggled with his shot, going 5-for-15 from the field. Nevertheless, he finished with 11 points (and added two blocks) thanks to a well-timed pair of buckets that gave Cal a little breathing room. The home team held a 57-51 lead with 6:37 remaining.
One of the other reasons that the Bears finally pulled away was a shift in defensive tactics. Fox decided to employ a zone defense that had been left on the shelf since last season. He asked the returning players whether they remembered how to run it, and Pacific ended up without a made field goal in more than seven minutes to close out the game. The result was a 21-2 run by the Bears that put an exclamation point on a game that had been extremely close for more than 30 minutes.
Grant Anticevich was a key component of the offense all game long, setting career highs with 25 points and seven triples. It was also his fourth double-double of the season as he added 11 rebounds in a terrific overall effort. Without Matt Bradley on the roster, the Australian has already delivered in many key situations during his final season in blue and gold. The Bears shot 46 percent from downtown compared to just 25 percent for Pacific. Cal hit 48 percent from the field, while the Tigers sat at 39 percent. Cal also committed a respectable nine turnovers compared to 13 for Pacific.
Anticevich summarized the game as follows: “Pacific played with a lot of purpose in the first half. My teammates did a great job of getting me open shots. They made the game easy for me.” As for the key to gathering wins in conference play: “For us, consistency is the main thing. As long as our defense is there, it gives us a chance to win.”
Makale Foreman, who re-injured his foot on Sunday against Dartmouth, managed to score two points in 11 minutes of action. Jarred Hyder played a quiet 14 minutes while Sam Ajaliki sank a 3-pointer in six minutes. Lars Thiemann played only five minutes. Obinna Anyanwu checked in for three minutes in the first half and Marsalis Roberson entered during garbage time.
The Cal Athletic Department advertised that Fox was providing 1,000 free tickets to the game, so a good number of fans were able to apply that money toward a BART ride or concessions. Thankfully, the Golden Bear offense took over in the nick of time to make sure that Pacific didn’t break its streak of 20 straight losses to Pac-12 opponents. Nevertheless, sluggish starts will be much more difficult to overcome against the likes of Arizona and UCLA. Even a solid defense is unlikely to be enough in those matchups if the offense sputters at the outset.
Spent some time on the very bottom part of this post, describing a Cal yell I created a few years ago for basketball games but it didn't really go because the Cal yell leaders didn't do a good job of holding up big signs I made at the right parts, though some in the student section at basketball caught on.
I lined up the words of my yell to the words in the refrain to The Middle by Jimmie Eat world, but when the text was posted the location of the words I added were moved to the far left so thy didn't match up to just above where I wanted them to be yelled within the lyrics to the song, so they were no longer above the location they were supposed to be yelled. So I've had to describe where C A L Cal, alright,alriight need to be yelled in The Middle refrain. Hope you'll be able to follow this.
As an afterthought, someone from the athletic department or whoever supervises the spirit squads should look up Bob Tuck, Cal head leader from fall 1970 to spring 1971 and probably Cal's best head yell leader (certainly the most creative and ballsy). He's the wild and crazy guy who later led the Cal spellout for years after he graduate from the top of the southeast pole on the field at Memorial while holding onto it with one arm and one leg. He also was the crazy guy leading the California spellout running around on the basketball court and leading something (maybe the Cal spellout)..
He would be perfect to lead the full California spellout I summarized above at basketball games (wouldn't even need a mike). Bob is totally fearless and super confident. Bob leading it would accomplish two things -- 1) get more spirit into Cal basketball games, and 2) show how a real, confident, gutsy yell leader gets the Cal students to immediately and fully respond to him to Cal can get someone like him in th future to lead yells at football games (if Cal could cut back on commercials during games, which undoubtedly they use).
I was told not to release how to find Bob Tuck, but I think he might be known around the Cal athletic department or may the Cal Alumni center, and he was the student level camp director at (Cal) Camp Blue many years ago. (played "the Rooster"). If not, let me know and I'll call him, to ask him how he can be reached.
On another totally different subject, I would also like to talk to someone at Cal (spirit group and the Cal Strawhat Band) about my bringing back a yell I invented but was not well led by the yell squad a few years ago. It accompanies the song "The Middle" by Jimmie Eat World, which the Cal straw hat band played for several years and would have to learn again. I think the song is a classic.
Here's The Middle, which I think is a classic.
Standard video --
Racy version (had never seen before writing this) --
Below iw the refrain to The Middle song with the Cal lyrics I added to it in caps just above the song lyrics -- fits perfectly. (Needs to be taught to the fans by the yell squad hold up big cardboard signs at the right times as to what to yell, but only needs to be done once or twice for the crowd to get it). Same method was used to teach the alumni many years earlier the cross stadium yell by holding up a big sign (Cal students -- GO; Alumni -- BEARS
BTW, I thought of the doing the yell I invented because for years the Cal Strawhat Band played that song. I was interested in having the Cal students having their own yell, wo I came up with the idea of adding lyrics to the refrain of The Middle. I was inspired by the famous then existing "Stanford Jump" to a certain part of the song "All Right Now," which I was very jealous about and felt Cal needed it's equivalent, or at least an attempt to match it.
The Middle refrain where the Cal fans add a yell. Listen to The Middle video (or videos) above to see for yourself how will it fits.
"C" (Cal fans yell when the song sings "takes")
"It just takes some time
"A" (Can fans yell when the song sings "Of")
Little girl, you're in the middle of the ride
"L" (Cal fans yell when the song sings "Be")
Everything, everything'll be just fine
"CAL ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT" (Cal fans yell when the song sings "be alright, alright)
Everything, everything'll be alright, alright
Sorry for the length of this post.
Would love to get some feedback on this. I'll be happy to answer any questions. If I can get the Cal Straw Hat Band to play this (do they still perform at basketball games?) Most likely not, attendance is so poor, but perhaps down the road. One can wish attendance will eventually come back. Maybe a few ke wins agains good Pac 12 will begin the transition to much better attendance.
So I couldn’t stay away though I was only able to catch the first half. Some observations: it was great having a live band in action. With classes done and students on winter break it was a expectedly thin crowd. (For Oregon State there was a decent student turnout). There was a Mike man that gave it a go. He did not have a very responsive crowd in the early going but I bet when the team started rolling in the 2nd half the noise level rose a bit.
You can see coach is trying to balance developing the next generation with not letting games slip away. UoP played some nice D in the first half. A sign of good coaching is when adjustments made at halftime have desired results.
We have a real shot at finishing middle of the pack if the impact from injuries/Covid are minimal.