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Jaylen Brown, Tyrone Wallace, defense lead to Cal basketball comeback over Frankston 84-76

Go Bears!

Cal basketball in Australia!
Cal basketball in Australia!
Brandon Chauca

Cal saw a huge upgrade in competition from their first to their second opponent in their Australian exhibition tour. After facing what amounted to an All-Star team of what seems to be mostly U18ers in Victoria Select, Cal upgraded to the Frankston Blues, a semiprofessional team in the South East Australian Basketball League (consider it the Triple A of Australian hoops). They're not the greatest squad (they're way in last place), but these are seasoned vets (average age in the late 20s). Cal needed to muster a lot more to beat Frankston, and it took a big second half comeback to get them there.

Jaylen Brown and Tyrone Wallace anchored a furious 23-7 run in the second half that erased a 10 point third quarter deficit. Brown had a personal 6-0 run to cut a seven point deficit to one, and Wallace scored eight of ten points in a two and a half minute stretch in the fourth quarter to put Cal ahead for good.

Sam Singer added two consecutive buckets to keep Cal ahead by multiple possessions, and Ivan Rabb would score the final three buckets. The Cal defense held Frankston to a late three pointer in the final 3:50, and allowed Cal to hold a comfortable enough lead down the stretch.

Brown finished with 19 points (8-17 FG), five rebounds, four steals and four turnovers. Wallace put in 18 points (7-12 FG), five rebounds and four assists. Rabb added 14 points on 7-9 shooting to go along with seven rebounds, and Bird put in 13 points and six rebounds.

Despite the offensive heroics, the Cal defense was the star of the second half. Cal held Frankston to 27 points in the second half (15 in the 3rd, 12 in the 4th), and were particularly good at closing out quarters (Frankston only scored 3 points in the final 4:30 of the 3rd as well).

Cal shot 46% from the field and over 55% from two, but turned the ball over 14 times and had only 11 assists. Lots of things to work on, as Cuonzo Martin wasn't particularly pleased afterwards.

Full box score here. Some quick notes from the stats.

  • After everyone got a shot in their first game. Cal shortened their rotation for this closer game, with only ten players logging significant minutes.  Roman Davis (1 minute) and Roger Moute a Bidias (DNP) appear to be the players who were the first cuts. Brandon Chauca kept his place with ten minutes of action (2 points, 0-3 shooting).
  • Cal again started with the rotation of Kingsley Okoroh at center, Rabb at power forward, Brown at small forward, Mathews at shooting guard and Wallace at point guard. This lineup didn’t perform particularly well after the first quarter, as Frankston built their lead to double digits while they were on the floor.
  • The Bears would again mostly mass substitute for the game. Brandon Chauca and Sam Singer played a lot of minutes together. Cal played a lot of 1-4 with Rabb out of the game, with Bird, Domingo and Brown alternating as the wings.
  • Jordan Mathews had an offensive game to forget, shooting 2-10 with six points.
  • Domingo wasn't much better (2-7), but he was on the floor for most of Cal's comeback and appears to bring some defensive skill to the position, so I imagine he has one of the higher plus-minuses.
  • Martin's comments on Domingo:

    "Stephen Domingo did an exceptional job really setting the tone defensively. That’s where it started for us. We started to get stops and we played well from that point.""

  • Cal made their most significant roster subs in the second half; Down 10, Brown and Rabb were subbed out of the way to make way for a wing-heavy lineup of Wallace-Mathews-Bird-Domingo-Okoroh. That lineup traded baskets for a few minutes before Singer and Rooks came in for Mathews and Okoroh. Cal briefly went small with Rabb at center before going back to Rooks.
  • Despite Rabb’s finishing role, he was on the bench for the most to comeback. It was Jaylen Brown playing "power forward" that really got Cal rolling, with the bench mob of Chauca, Singer, Domingo and Rooks providing support in the third quarter. Brown would stay at the 4 for most of the comeback.
  • Wallace's run took place early in the fourth quarter. Cal put three wings on the floor in Domingo, Bird and Brown along with Okoroh during that set.
  • After a solid first game, Kameron Rooks struggled with foul trouble, picking up five in nine minutes. Okoroh took up the majority of the minutes at center, playing 27 in all to lead the team. Both combined for 11 rebounds and 1 point.
  • For those wondering about minutes distributions: Okoroh (27), Wallace (26), Mathews (25), Bird (23), Brown (22), Rabb (20.5), Domingo (20), Singer (14.5), Chauca (10), Rooks (9)
  • Cal experimented with the non-center lineup in the 4th quarter that I think will close out a lot of our close games this year. Rabb played at center with Wallace at point and Brown, Mathews and Bird at the wings. It only played three minutes, but those three minutes happened to coincide with a 6-0 Cal run that essentially clinched the game. Cal played with a center the rest of the game.
  • Cal did a better job shooting from the free throw line, making 10 of their 15 attempts. Wallace hit 4 of 5, Chauca went 2 for 2, Mathews 2 for 2. Brown struggled here again (1 for 3).
  • The big concern is how poorly Cal has been shooting threes, going only 20 percent on 4 of 20 shooting. Brown was 2 for 4, the rest of the team 2 for 16 (Bird and Domingo each were 1-5). Cal did not hit a single three pointer in the second half (0-8).

Finally, the video highlights! Thanks to Fallon Smith for gathering all of these

Here's Wallace with the drive in traffic.

Brown with the block party.

@calmensbball lead 32-27 v @frankstonblues as Ivan Rabb sends this back express #houseofblues

A video posted by Frankston Blues (@frankstonblues) on

Here's Bird with the deep three.

Domingo with the good defense.

Rabb slammed this bucket home off the assist from Mathews to clinch the W.

@calmensbball Ivan Rabb throwing it down

A video posted by Frankston Blues (@frankstonblues) on

More highlights are available here:

Cal basketball is off to Sydney tomorrow for three days, where they will play their final two exhibition games on the schedule. They will then play on back-to-back nights against select players from the Australia Centre of Excellence (another SEABL squad) before wrapping up their exhibition schedule against the Illawara Hawks the next day. The game against Illawarra should be streamed, so CGB will hopefully have an open thread for all of that.