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Bears run away in 2nd half to advance in NCAA Tournament

Cal beats UNC 92-72, as 1 seed Baylor looms

Where you nervous when UNC raced out to a 15-4 lead about halfway through the 1st quarter?

Nervousness would have been a reasonable reaction. But the Bears kept their heads, scoring 88 points over the next 34 minutes of basketball, blitzing an overwhelmed North Carolina defense and turning what looked to be a tight contest into a comfortable win.

The game particularly turned in the 3rd quarter, when Cal flipped a 3 point halftime deficit into a 7 point 4th quarter lead thanks to solid defense, good shooting, and some nice high/low action involving CJ West and Kristine Anigwe.

Anigwe shook off a slow start in terms of scoring to end with a very typical line of 18 points and 22 rebounds, while CJ West contributed a huge 13 and 8 with excellent defense off the bench. Cal’s two post lineup keyed their 2nd half run, and Carolina never did find an answer for the interior duo.

Meanwhile, Cal’s guards chipped in 11 three pointers on 42% shooting, including a huge banked-in buzzer-beating shot from Jaelyn Brown to cap that 3rd quarter outburst. It made for a very balanced scoring day, which is probably not surprising - to get to 92 points you’re going to need just about everybody to hit buckets.

The win will surely pit Cal against the Baylor (ugh, lady) Bears on Monday, as the fightin’ Mulkeys are, as of this writing, up 30-3 on poor, overmatched Abilene Christian. It will require a Herculean performance to knock off perhaps the best team in the country, but that’s the opportunity every team wants to get come this time of year.

Monday’s gametime should be announced once all games are complete at the end of the day - this space will be updated once that information is released.

Still dancing!