Cal Tops Grambling, 84-65, in EA Sports Golden Bear Classic

Dec. 20, 2002

BERKELEY - Using its height advantage to pull away in the second half, Cal defeated Grambling, 84-65, in the first round of the EA Sports Golden Bear Classic Friday night in Haas Pavilion.

The Bears advance to Saturday's 8 p.m. championship game, where they will face Louisiana-Lafayette, a 68-62 winner over Detroit. Grambling and Detroit will meet in the consolation game at 5:30 p.m.

Cal will be attempting to win its seventh title - and third in a row - in the history of the tournament.

Against Grambling, Cal led by just a 39-34 margin at halftime when it shot 3-for-17 from three-point range. But after the break, the Bears forced the ball inside with good results. A layup by Joe Shipp pushed Cal's advantage to 52-42, and the difference reached 20 at 64-44 on a layup by Brian Wethers with 10:38 left.

The lead reached 76-47 with 5:17 to go when head coach Ben Braun emptied the bench, playing 17 players in all.

For the game, Cal outscored Grambling, 36-6, in the paint.

Shipp paced the Bears with 17 points and seven rebounds, while Amit Tamir added 13 points, Wethers 14 and Richard Midgley 10. Wethers and Midgley both had five assists, helping Cal to a tournament-record 26.

Brion Rush paced Grambling with 16 points.

Cal head coach Ben Braun postgame quotes:
'I was disappointed in terms of our inability to take advantage of our size advantage in the first game. We became impatient. It seemed like we wanted to attempt a school-record number of threes.'

'In the second half, I thought our ball movement and shot selection helped turn the game around. We weren't just content to shoot the three.'

'Gabriel Hughes' turnaround from the first half to the second was great. He brings a lot of energy. When he does that, we're a different team.'

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