San Francisco Chronicle

Bears continue conference streak

- By Steve Kroner

Swingman Jaylon Tyson enhanced his Pac-12 Player of the Year candidacy by scoring a game-high 27 points, grabbing seven rebounds and committing zero turnovers in Cal’s 69-64 win over Oregon at Haas Pavilion on Saturday.

Then in the postgame news conference, the transfer from Texas Tech went into full-disclosure mode, criticizin­g himself for many of the Bears’ early-season struggles.

“We went through a lot of adversity at the beginning of the season,” Tyson said. “We had a divided locker room. That’s the truth. We had a divided locker room, but I feel like we’re starting to come together and understand winning is the most important thing.

“If we win, we all eat — and I feel like we’re starting to buy into that.”

Tyson and head coach Mark Madsen pointed to a team meeting the Bears held soon after they had blown a 16-point lead in a 7169 loss to Arizona State on New Year’s Eve. The Bears were 4-9, 0-2 at that point.

Cal (13-15, 9-8 Pac-12) has its first three-game winning streak since a five-gamer from December 2021 to January 2022 and its first three-game conference winning streak since the end of the 2018-19 regular season.

On Thursday, Tyson had his lone single-digit-scoring game of the season in an 81-73 win over Oregon State. He went 3-for-15 from the field and had seven points.

“I believe in myself and my teammates believe in me,” Tyson said. “They had my back last game, so I told ’em I had their back this game. I have a lot of confidence in myself, a lot of confidence.”

A scary moment happened Saturday with about a minute left in the first half. Tyson drove from the left baseline. Two Oregon players converged on him, and Jermaine Couisnard (team-high 19 points) was credited with a blocked shot as Tyson fell to the ground in pain. It appeared his left shoulder was injured.

Tyson stayed on the floor for a while before heading to the locker room. He entered Saturday second in the Pac-12 in scoring at 19.8 per game and fifth in rebounds at 7 per.

Much to Cal fans’ relief, Tyson was able to return to begin the second half.

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