Men's Hoops Downs New Mexico, 71-62

Nov 28, 2001

BERKELEY, Calif. - Senior guard Dennis Gates came off the bench for a career-high 16 points and four steals to lead Cal to a 71-62 victory over New Mexico Wednesday night at Haas Pavilion.

Center Solomon Hughes also set a personal best with 17 points and Ryan Forehan-Kelly added 11 points as the Bears improved to 4-0. New Mexico fell to 2-3 with the loss.

The Lobos scored the game's first seven points and led for all of the first half. However, UNM was never able to increase its margin to greater than seven. The Bears closed to 23-22 on a three-point play by Hughes and entered the locker room down just, 30-29.

After intermission, the Lobos pushed their advantage to 35-30 before Cal made its big push. A free throw by Shantay Legans and a three-pointer from Forehan-Kelly brought the Bears to 35-34. Cal then took the lead for good when Forehan-Kelly made two free throws, and the Bears went on to go up, 49-37, completing the 19-2 run on a Gates three-pointers.

Cal eventually stretched the lead to 16 points at 58-42 with 10:03 left when UNM began to make a comeback. The Lobos eventually whittled down the lead to 61-56 with 2:11 to go. A Hughes dunk put the Bears back ahead by seven points and Cal made 6-of-8 from the line to clinch the win.

For the game, the Bears shot a season-high 52.1 percent from the floor. On the defensive end, Cal blocked eight shots and limited UNM to just 33.3 percent from the field.

California Head Coach Ben Braun postgame quotes:

'I really thought we did it on the defensive end in the second half. I was really disappointed in our defensive rotation in the first half and so in the second we had to play position defense.'

'We thought this would be one of the best offensive rebounding teams we'd see this year. If we solve the defensive rebounding problem then we'll be a good defensive team.'

'This was one of Dennis Gates' best games of his career. Ryan (Forehan-Kelly) and Dennis are our seniors and our most solid guys.'

'I'll take our defense for now and our players will have to keep working on it and then our offense will come around.'

'I thought both Jamal Sampson and Solomon Hughes did a great job looking over the top. If we didn't score off that then we'd get the fouls.'

'Some teams might look at our tape and say Cal can't shoot and start planning some zone defenses, but I don't think our offense will stay like this. We'll keep working and improving on it.'

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