BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — Grant Anticevich has new freedom in California coach Mark Fox's offense and used that to tie a school record for 3-pointers. Fox plans to keep giving Anticevich the green light to shoot, too.
Anticevich scored 16 of his career-high 23 points in the first half, and California went on a big run in the second half and beat California Baptist 82-62 on Friday night to remain unbeaten in Fox’s debut season
Matt Bradley added 16 points and Kareem South scored 10 to help the Golden Bears (3-0) to their best start since 2015-16.
“My teammates were being really unselfish,” Anticevich said. “They were getting me a lot of open shots. All I had to do was catch it and put it in the hole. I was doing the simple part.”
California blew an early 12-point lead and trailed 42-40 early in the second half but began to pull away early in the second half. Anticevich, whose previous high was 11 points, sparked a 17-0 run with a 3-pointer and 16-foot jumper.
Anticevich, who also had nine rebounds, shot 9 of 11 and made all five 3-point attempts to match the California record shared by Amit Tamir and Eric Vierneisel. Anticevich had made multiple 3-pointers in a game only once in his previous two seasons in Berkeley.
“I didn’t judge any of these kids off the previous year,” Fox said. “From day one, we thought Grant was a really good 3-point shooter so we built that into what we’re doing. He’s shot it well since the day I arrived. Tonight, he got hot and we took full advantage of that.”
Anticevich’s big night helped the Bears overcame their defensive lull in the first half. Fox blamed that on Cal’s players not having much history playing with a lead.
“This group hasn’t been ahead a lot, so they didn’t handle it very well,” Fox said. “We handled it very immaturely and it cost us. We were fortunate at halftime to self-correct and start playing some defense and leave here with a win.”
Ferron Flavors Jr. had 11 points and seven rebounds for California Baptist (2-2).
California Baptist: For the second straight game the Lancers put up a good fight early before fading in the second half. Just like against Texas three nights earlier, coach Rick Croy’s team stayed close but couldn’t sustain the momentum. Milan Acquaah, the preseason WAC player of the year, missed his first six shots and finished 3 of 16 for 10 points.
California: After two years of being a team with no apparent direction the Bears are playing with a purpose. They still need a lot of work on the defensive end, something that Fox has repeatedly pointed out, but the overall feel at Haas Pavilion is as optimistic as it’s been in some time.
PLAY OF THE NIGHT
California big man Lars Thiemann made a spectacular play early in the second half to block a breakaway dunk attempt by Dejon Davis after Davis made a steal near midcourt.
PLAY OF THE NIGHT 2.0
Juhwan Harris-Dyson hasn’t been much of a scorer for California but provided a big highlight with his one-handed dunk over 6-foot-11-inch center Zach Pirog that put the Bears ahead 70-51.
“Juhwan, he’s an energy giver,” Bradley said.
California Baptist: Hosts Central Arkansas on Nov. 22.
California: Hosts Prairie View A&M in another 2K Empire Classic game on Monday before playing No. 2 Duke at Madison Square Garden on Thursday.
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