Never should a road game be taken for granted. Anything can happen and nothing should be a surprise. It’s frustrating, but there’s always a chance for a team like the Cal Bears to hang around and pull of an upset.
Cal started the game with a hot shooting hand, just as they did when they visited Boulder. But instead of Makale Foreman lighting up CU, it was Jalen Celestine breaking out for 11 points in the first half. His previous career high was 4 points, in an entire game, so it was annoying seeing him hit contested threes. And of course Matt Bradley was there to put in 15 points in the half, because he is nearly impossible to guard with his size, quickness and shooting ability.
Colorado never really found a rhythm, but they did enough to keep pace. Every Buff who saw the floor scored — all nine of them — and they were led by Jeriah Horne’s sweet shooting. It would have been a better scoring half if McKinley Wright wasn’t limited by foul trouble, as he played just 12 minutes before the break.
Colorado’s defense stepped up in the second half, particularly Eli Parquet guarding Bradley. But Cal still found points because they were aggressive on the drive. The Buffs couldn’t really deal with the physicality and resorted to a number of fouls. So even though Cal went six minutes without making a field goal, they still got to the line to generate some points.
Meanwhile, the Colorado offense was frustrating at best. No one stepped up to hit a shot until late in the game, and the two leading shot-takers, Wright and D’Shawn Schwartz, made a combined 6 of 22 from the field. (Wright wasn’t helped by the refs, who missed the most egregious goaltend I have ever seen. The ball was literally on the rim when Andre Kelly touched it.)
Colorado cut the deficit to just 62-60 with a minute left to play, but Bradley hit the dagger and the Buffs couldn’t answer.
When it was all said and done, the Buffs were a mess offensively, Cal played a great defensive game, and yeah, the refs were worse than their reputation. It’s a frustrating game however you look at it, particularly as the Buffs had such a strong week before this and were riding some momentum.
Buffs start slow — or, Cal starts hot — Celestine????
Bradley vs Parquet
Wright gets going early
Cal 5 o-boards
24-24 with 4 minutes left — Buffs shooting just okay, Cal making dumbs shots and crashing the boards
Kin goes to bench with 2 1st half fouls, but score just fine
Cal goes up 48-42 after hitting a few threes
getting pounded on the glass
Cal being aggressive — Buffs really struggling against their size and switching, Cal scoring from FT
Cal goes 6 minutes without a basket, but CU can’t take the lead