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Cal Men’s Basketball Outmatched, Loses to San Francisco 60-79

Golden Bears spent nearly 36 minutes trailing at home in Haas Pavilion

NCAA Basketball: Legends Classic
The San Francisco Dons held California guard Darius McNeill to just 16 points.
Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

The California Golden Bears (2-5) fell to the San Francisco Dons (8-1) at home to a nearly empty Haas Pavilion Wednesday night. Losing 60-79, the match was the third time this season California Head Coach Wyking Jones’ side was defeated by a margin of more than 15 points.

“We got beat by a veteran team that wanted it more than us,” California Head Coach Jones said plainly in the post-game media conference.

The scoreline was no surprise to San Francisco Head Coach Kyle Smith. The Dons have averaged nearly 80 points this season and held opponents to about 58 points — closely mirroring the final result.

Although California freshman Andre Kelly scored a career-high 17 points, the Golden Bears spent 35 minutes and 59 seconds of game time trailing to the side from across the Bay Bridge.

“[San Francisco] always seem to be on the same page. We are trying to get to that level,” Kelly said after the match.

The Golden Bears started sluggishly and never found momentum — nor stable possession.

California turned the ball over nine times in the first half — the same number of successful field goals in the same period. Worst still, California guard Paris Austin threw the ball away on a no-look pass to forward Justice Sueing just ahead of the halftime break — surrendering a much-needed scoring opportunity.

Down 24-34 at halftime, California trailed the entirety of the second half.

The Dons stretched their lead with a 12-3 run in the first five minutes from the break. After Kelly scored three consecutive free throws to begin the second half, San Francisco guard Jordan Ratinho sank back-to-back threes to give the Dons a double-digit lead — a winning margin they never relinquished.

Ratinho ended the evening with 12 points — all from beyond the arc.

“When teams go on runs, I tell [the team] that this is when we all start trying to start hero ball. That’s the absolute last thing we need to do at [that] point. We need to work even harder… and make our own run,” California Head Coach Jones explained.

California’s last meeting against San Francisco was an 87-74 victory 10 years ago on Nov. 18, 2008. Despite the loss, the Golden Bears still lead the series 46-31.