The opening round of the 2K Empire Classic kicked off in Haas Pavilion tonight for Cal, pitting the California Golden Bears against the California Baptist Lancers. The Bears played with some serious confidence and aggression to start the half, with Grant Anticevich picking up 11 points, an assist, and a rebound in the first five minutes. The first half also featured an explosive breakaway dunk courtesy of Juhwan Harris-Dyson. After an early Cal 7-0 run and an amassed 12-point lead, Cal Baptist began to gain some traction throughout the rest of the half, capitalizing on turnovers, fouls, and defensive blunders. CBU sustained their own 6-0 run to overcome their deficit and bring the score to a 40-40 tie at halftime.
The Bears took some time to get going again in the second half, after Cal Baptist managed their first but fleeting lead of the game. Two thrilling moments include Lars Thiemann’s humongous block to stop a dunk attempt by Cal Baptist’s De’jon Davis on a breakaway, and another flush by Harris-Dyson. Cal’s defense began to show signs of life, facilitating a 17-0 run amounting in a 22 point lead while Cal Baptist was restricted to 1 good field goal in 15 tries. The Bears held their position firm as time wound down, even DJ Thorpe got in some excitement late; Kareem South and Matt Bradley both scored in double figures, and Anticevich led in scoring with 23, rebounds with 9, and assists with 4.