Cal ended its seven-game losing streak with an impressive 71-62 upset of Colorado Saturday night in Berkeley.
Matt Bradley scored 29 points for the Bears (8-15, 3-13), who moved out of last place with the win. Bradley hit a big three-pointer with 40 seconds left to make it a five-point game, and added two free throws with 25.6 seconds to go. Bradley had a career high with his 29 points, with two postgame scoring corrections lifting him from 27 to 28 then to his final total of 29.
Colorado beat the Bears by 29 points earlier this season. The Buffaloes slipped to 16-6 overall and 10-5 in the conference. McKinley Wright IV had 13 points for the Buffaloes but was 3-for-11 from the field.
Cal freshman Jalen Celestine had 13 points and did a nice defensive job on Wright.
This loss may have doomed Colorado’s chances of challenging for the regular-season Pac-12 title. The Buffaloes dropped three games behind first-place USC in the loss column.
Pregame: Following Saturday’s game against Colorado, Cal has just four games left before the Pac-12 tournament. The Bears travel to the state of Washington this coming week to face Washington State in Pullman on Thursday and Washington in Seattle on Saturday.
Cal entered Saturday’s action in last place in the Pac-12, holding a 7-15 overall record and a 2-13 mark in the conference. The Bears were riding a seven-game losing streak heading into the game against Colorado. That included the one-point loss to Utah on Thursday.
Colorado (16-5, 10-4 in the Pac-12 before Saturday) entered the game against Cal on a three-game winning streak, including an 18-point win over Stanford on Thursday.
When Colorado and Cal met earlier this season, on Jan. 14 in Boulder, Colorado, the Buffaloes came away with a convincing 89-60 win over Cal. Matt Bradley did not play in that game because of an ankle injury, and Andre Kelly was the Bears’ leading scorer with 16 points. Freshman Jabari Walker led the Buffaloes with 23 points and 11 rebounds.
Walker did not play against Cal on Saturday, however. He sat out with a boot on his left foot.
Saturday’s Starting lineups:
Cal — F Andre Kelly, F Grant Anticevich, G Matt Bradley, G Joel Brown, F Jalen Celestine
Colorado — G McKinley Wright IV, G Eli Parquet, F Evan Battey, F D’Shawn Schwartz, F Jeriah Horne.
13:31 left first half: Cal freshman Jalen Celestine, making his second straight start, hits two three-pointers in the first four minutes to help the Bears take an early 10-4 lead. Colorado rallies to take a 13-12 lead on Eli Parquet’s three-pointer, but Cal retakes the lead on a Kuany Kuany bucket. Cal is 6-for-8 from the field, including 2-for-2 on threes. Cal 14, Colorado 13.
10:38 first half: Celestine is now 3-for-3 from long range and has nine points. Each team has just two turnovers. Cal 18, Colorado 15.
7:04 first half: Cal started the game 7-for-9 from the field but then missed its next 10 shots in a row before Matt Bradley scored on a follow shot to put Cal ahead 20-19 with 8:41 left. The Buffaloes are 8-for-16 from the floor. No Colorado player has more than five points. Cal 22, Colorado 21.
3:58 first half: Cal’s Makale Foreman heads to the foul line after this timeout. No player for either team has reached double figures in scoring yet. Celestine had nine points for Cal, and Bradley has six. Cal 24, Colorado 24.
2:21 first half: A three-pointer by Jeriah Horne and two free throws by Evan Battey push Colorado ahead. Colorado 31, Cal 27.
1:29 first half: A Matt Bradley three-pointer puts Cal back on top. Cal 32, Colorado 31.
Halftime: Matt Bradley scores Cal’s final seven points of the half to help the Bears take the lead at the break. Cal 36, Colorado 33.
Bradley leads the Bears in scoring at halftime with 15 points, and Jalen Celestine added 11. Celestine took just four shots in the first half, all three-pointers, and made three of them.
Bradley has 1,185 career points after the first half, moving him into 29th place on Cal’s alltime scoring ladder.
Nine Colorado players scored in the first half, with Jeriah Horne leading the Buffaloes with eight points.
Cal committed just three turnovers in the first half and shot 46.7 percent from the field. Colorado turned the ball over five times and shot 48 percent from the floor.
The Bears are playing pretty good defense and taking care of the ball. But it was Bradley’s seven points in the final 1:31 of the first half that allowed the Bears to take a three-point halftime lead.
14:09 second half: Makale Foreman hits a long three-pointer to give Cal its largest lead of the second half — six points. Colorado point guard McKinley Wright IV has just four points, three assists and no rebounds to go along with three turnovers. Cal 48, Colorado 42.
12:16 second half: Bradley hits a pair of free throws to give him 17 points and maintain the six-point Cal lead. Cal 50, Colorado 44.
11:03 second half: Andre Kelly took a shot to the face, but appears to be OK. He leaves the game, though. Cal 50, Colorado 46.
7:56 second half: A three-point play by McKinley Wright IV gets the Buffaloes within a point at the 10:45 mark, but Cal does not give up the lead. Bradley has 18 points for the Bears. Colorado still does not have a player in double figures in scoring. Cal 52, Colorado 49.
3:34 second half: Cal scores five straight points, the last two by Grant Anticevich, to push the Cal lead to seven points. Cal 60, Colorado 53.
1:02 second half. Cal clings to the lead. Bradley has 22 points. Cal 62, Colorado 58
40 seconds second half: Bradley hits a three-pointer to make the lead five. Cal 65. Colorado 60
Cover photo of Colorado coach Tad Boyle by Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA TODAY Sports
Follow Jake Curtis of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jakecurtis53
Find Cal Sports Report on Facebook by searching: @si.calsportsreport