Cold-shooting Bears stumble to open season in Shanghai
Cal freshman guard James Zhao said Shanghai is like a combination of New York City and Las Vegas.
The Bears are hoping that what happened in Shanghai stays in Shanghai.
Cal led for only 26 seconds and trailed by as many as 21 points in a 76-59 season-opening loss to Yale in front of a sellout crowd at the Baoshan Sports Centre and an ESPNU telecast Friday night (Saturday afternoon in China).
Boise State-transfer guard Paris Austin and freshman guard Matt Bradley combined to go 9-for-17 for 31 points, and the rest of the Bears went 9-for-34 (26.5 percent) for 28 points.
The “rest of ” group includes Cal’s top returners Justice Sueing (nine points on 3-for-14 shooting) and Darius McNeill (two points on 0-for-8 shooting). The Bears committed 16 turnovers and had just six assists in becoming the first Pac-12 team to lose in the Pac-12 China Game.
The conference made sure that won’t happen next year. The Pac-12 announced Friday that Arizona State and Colorado will meet in the fifth annual game in China next season, but the game will not count as a Pac-12 game.
Yale, which is projected to finish third in the Ivy League, got 16 apiece from Miye Oni and Azar Swain in the flagship event of an eight-day trip to China. The itinerary that included a tour of the Alibaba campus, an educational sports summit, interaction with the Yao Foundation of Hope School and walking tours of China’s historic landmarks.
“The trip, besides the game, obviously, we’ve had an unbelievable time,” Cal head coach Wyking Jones said. “I hope that this trip has brought us closer together as a program and as a family. It didn’t end the way we wanted it to end, but it’s definitely an experience that we’ll all take with us for the rest of our lives.”
Cal missed its first five shots from the floor and had four turnovers before Bradley stepped into a passing lane and streaked the length of the court for a dunk that was the Bears’ first field goal.
They were shooting 3-for-18 with seven turnovers when they finally recorded their first assist — a dish from Austin for a Bradley wing three-pointer that trimmed Yale’s lead to 28-14 with 4:28 left in the first half.
The Bulldogs went on a 13-0 run, despite having Oni, an All-Ivy League guard, on the bench with foul trouble, as they dictated the pace of the game and played stingy defense. Austin and Bradley combined to go 4-for-9 for 16 points in the first half, and the rest of the Bears went 1-for-16 for five points as they sunk into a 33-21 hole.