Stanford Folds Early
You know it! You tell the story! You tell the whole world Maples is Bear territory! For some reason Wyking Jones has found a comfortable home in Maples Pavilion. Two of his five Pac 12 wins took place in Palo Alto, but tonight no Cal fan can complain. Cal’s winning steak elevates to three as the Bears top the Cardinal 64-59.
How about that young man Conor Vanover? The 7-3 freshman has grown up before our eyes but tonight’s performance was like none other. Vanover notched 16 of the Bears’ first 22 points and the Cal Bears put the hurt on the Cardinal early leading 24-5 at the ten-minute mark. Stanford was without key sophomore Daejon Davis tonight and struggled mightily from deep shooting 4-28 from three point range.
Meanwhile, the Bears made key plays at critical times. Despite leading scorers Justice Sueing and Darius McNeil combing for 9 points, a cast of newcomers tallied the scoreboard to a signature victory over archival Stanford. It took some time, but Paris Austin’s adjustment to Pac 12 level rim protection has become a key to Cal’s offensive success. Tonight, Austin finished an efficient seven of fourteen from the field with 15 points and four assists. Matt Bradley fouled out but was a key factor on both ends finishing with 14 points and seven rebounds. And that young man Conor Vanover put forward the best performance by a Cal Bear in Maples Pavilion since Ayinde Umbaka in 2007 with his 24 points and six blocks. When it is all said and done, I think this fine young man Conor Vanover will be a bold name in the history books of Cal athletics.
It has been another forgettable season in Berkeley, following a decade of solid success, but this winning steak has me excited because of the undeniable passion these young men play with. It is another group of high character Cal Bears who give their all regardless the circumstances. If you cannot appreciate that, check your pulse. These guys deserve our support and they are poised to keep this streak going in Las Vegas next week. Until then, Go Bears!