For Mark Fox’s debut at Haas Pavilion, his Bears took the court with a dynamic first half against the Saint Martin’s Saints. With a number of new faces on the Bears’ roster, Cal fans got a first look at performances by Kareem South and Lars Thiemann who both made starts this evening. Despite some less-than-ideal three-point and free-throw shooting, physical play on defense facilitated Cal’s ownership of the lead for the majority of the half by as much as 15 points. With three minutes left, the Saints (who have been shooting more accurately across the board) lessened the Bears’ lead to 3 where it would settle as time expired on the half. South and returner Matt Bradley lead the Bears in scoring for the half with 11 points apiece, and the Bears lead 44-41.
To open the half, the Bears went on a scoring run to restore a double digit lead which remained for the remainder of the game, though consistently hampered by penalties. Jacobi Gordon, Andre Kelly, and Theimann contributed to a defensive performance throughout with several blocked shots and rebounds between them. Grant Anticevich and D.J. Thorpe shone upon reentering the game later in the half with promotion of good ball movement, though much of the team showed scoring and assisting capabilities. The Bears managed to achieve a 23-point lead and were bailed out of serious foul consequences from some lackluster free-throw shooting from the Saints. Though the Bears’ defense seemed to wane in the final minutes, a breakaway steal by Jules Erving and the follow-up by Joel Brown kept things interesting. South finished with 23 points, and the Bears pulled of the exhibition win 98-75.