Bears Win Opener at New Mexico, 76-68

Nov 24, 2002

AP Sports Writer

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Amit Tamir got the first double-double of hiscareer with 20 points and 10 rebounds and California twice rallied from13-point deficits to beat New Mexico 76-68 Saturday.

Cal (1-0) used a 19-1 run to erase a 50-37 New Mexico lead with 5 1/2 minutesgone in the second half. Brian Wethers scored 6 points and Erik Bond 5 in theBears' spurt.

New Mexico (0-1) regained the lead at 60-56 with 9 straight points. That runincluded back-to-back 3-pointers by Javin Tindall and Mark Walters and freethrows by Jamaal Williams and Ruben Douglas.

New Mexico's offense, effective in the first half when the Lobos hit six3-pointers, stalled in the final minutes and the poised Bears regained the leadfor good with 9 straight points that included a pair of free throws and a3-pointer by the 6-foot-11 Tamir.

New Mexico got within a point twice after that, the last time at 67-66 with1:05 left on a pair of free throws by Douglas, who led New Mexico with 26points. The Bears put the game away on a basket and free throw by Joe Shipp andanother pair of free throws from Tamir, who went 8-for-8 at the foul line.

With Douglas hitting four of his first six shots, New Mexico took a 30-17lead with 7:05 left in the first half. Cal cut the deficit to 34-28 athalftime, but when Douglas banked in a 10-foot jumper with 14:35 left, theLobos had a 13-point lead.

Cal got double-figure scoring from four players. Wethers scored 17, Shipp 14and Conor Famulener a career-high 11.

Cal used its height advantage inside to consistently score lay-ups, whileNew Mexico had to rely on its 3-point shooting. The Lobos hit five of theirfirst seven 3s and six of 15 in the first half, but cooled off to hit justthree of 17 in the second half.

'I thought the keys today were keeping our composure down the stretch, hitting our free throws and taking care of the ball,' said Cal head coach Ben Braun. 'We got contributions from a lot of people. It was a great team effort in the second half.'

Cal returns to action at Cleveland State at 7 p.m. Eastern Time Nov. 30 before holding its home opener Dec. 3 vs. Howard.

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