Your California Golden Bears took on the Panthers of Prairie View A&M today in Haas Pavilion to finish out regional play for the 2019 2K Empire Classic. During the opening minutes, the Bears’ starting five (while somehow stymying strong scoring attempts by the Panthers) seemed to be missing some offensive opportunities and not connecting well enough to start a drive of their own. Turnovers and penalties encumbered any forward momentum for the Bears’ through large stretches of the half, and the Panthers responded by stealing a few fleeting leads of their own. Though Cal shot consistently both inside and outside the arc, a lethargy in creating profitable opportunities and all the errant passes and turnovers (13 in total!) negated positive scoring trends. Despite all this, an equally-dismal 9-minute scoring drought on the other end gave the Bears a nice 12-0 scoring run to sit on top 35-26 at half.
The second half opened with Prairie View chipping away at Cal’s halftime lead, as the turnover problem not only continued, but was compounded by a tight Panther defense and 8 consecutive, unanswered Panther points. A jumper by Matt Bradley snapped the skid, but Cal’s inability to execute offensively allowed the Panthers to erase the lead. Then, it became Cal’s responsibility to erase a deficit, which they managed with something resembling offense and some free throw shooting. The teams went into the final five minutes of the game with only one point separating them, and through a stout defense and some late work by Bradley and Grant Anticevich, the Bears outlast the Panthers to stay undefeated.