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Cal men's basketball starts conference play with a 79-65 win over Colorado

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The defense is looking elite. The offense is firing on all cylinders. Cal goes up big on Colorado. Does not look back. The Bears are now 1-0 in conference play and 10-0 at Haas Pavilion.

MOTM
MOTM
Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

Well. That was fun.

2 Point Summary:

  • Cal gets out to a 13 point lead by halftime.
  • Cal wins 79-65.
Those two points pretty much sums up the entire game but let's take a deeper look into the statistics before going over my impressions.

The key statistic that stands out to me is that Colorado shot 27.3% from 3 for the game. All 3 made shots came in the second half. They were actually 0-3 in the first half. The Buffs were #17 in the country in 3PT%, making 40.7% of their attempts entering this game. The Bears did a great job running shooters off the line and funneling them into the paint towards the bigs.

Colorado tried to create space for their perimeter shooters by running their offense through Josh Scott in the post but our bigs did a great job of denying him open looks, which resulted in him shooting 4-16 from the field ending the game with 16 points and 7 rebounds.  Kameron Rooks, Kingsley Okoroh and Ivan Rabb did a fantastic job winning their 1-on-1 battle against Scott. This allowed the rest of the team to focus on the perimeter and deter from the gameplay by forcing double teams into the post. Coach Martin attested to this by saying, "If you need to double down in the post with their guys that can shoot 40% from outside, it's going to be a long night." Kameron and Kingsley did an amazing job, combining for 5-7 from the field, 9 rebounds and 6 blocks. If they can continue this sort of efficiency when needed against big teams, it will make game planning and decision making mid-game a lot easier for the coaching staff.

On the other side, the Bears were very good, once again, with any shot they took within the 3 Point line. Cal shot 44.4% from the field in the first half and raised their FG% to 60% in the second. Beyond the 3 Point Line was a tale of two halves. Cal went from 10% to 62.5% between halftime, with the majority of that second half boost coming from Jordan Mathews who made all 5 of his 3s in the second half.

Beyond the team statistics:

  • Tyrone Wallace got back to what we expect of him every game as a triple-double threat. Ty ended the game with 16 points, 8 assists and 7 rebounds, pacing the team and creating a basket whenever the Bears needed a lift.
  • Jaylen Brown had his best overall game as a Golden Bear, getting 17 points, 11 rebounds and a block.
  • Jabari Bird did not have a great game shooting from the floor ending with 4 points on 1-6 shooting and 0-5 from 3. Jabari has been the spark plug off the bench as of late, but the fact the Bears were able to get a win without their 6th man playing well bodes well for the rest of the season. Its good to know that the team can pull out wins despite not having good performances from their key players.
  • Ivan Rabb got into early foul trouble and it did not let up. Ivan fouled out of the game, ending with 6 points on 3-6 shooting with 3 rebounds.  Grabbing a win while only having Ivan on the floor for 15 minutes, against a great big like Josh Scott is a big confidence booster to the rotation, especially on the defensive end.
The Bears seemed to have learned....actually, they HAVE learned from their loss at UVA. They now realize offensive possession down the stretch is out of their control, but defending as a team and forcing opposition to slowly lose breathing room is something they can. And control they did. The Bears only allowed 6 assists for the game! Defensive intensity, concentration, awareness, and help, were all heightened as the game went on, and ultimately did not allow the Buffs to claw their way back into the game. Our offense scored, but our team defense kick started the game and ended the game. It made sure Colorado had the lead for 00:00 and us for 38:48. It made sure Josh Scott only make 4-16 from the field. It made sure the Buffs only shot 24.1% percent from the field in the first half and 37.8% in the second half. The Colorado was a great test akin to Mad Minute to start conference play, and we passed. Utah, on Sunday, will be the first chapter test in our young season.

California Love. California Rising.