Bears Downed By Eagles In Season Opener, 67-65

Nov. 18, 2005

YPSILANTI, Mich. (AP) - John Bowler scored 19 points and had 12 rebounds Friday to lead Eastern Michigan past California 67-65 in the season opener for each team.

Gino Smith added 16 as Charles Ramsey won his debut as the Eagles' coach.

The loss spoiled the homecoming of Cal coach Ben Braun, who led Eastern Michigan to three NCAA tournament berths during his 11-year tenure. Ramsey was an assistant under Braun in the early 1990s.

Ayinde Ubaka had 17 points to lead the Bears, including a 3-pointer with 38.6 seconds to play that got them to within a point. The Eagles' Craig Cashen made a free throw with 16.7 seconds to play, and Ubaka missed a running jump shot from the top of the key as time expired.

Theo Robertson had 12 and Jordan Wilkes added 11 for Cal.

Eastern Michigan led 34-33 at halftime and built a 10-point lead six minutes into the second half, but Cal outscored its hosts 14-2 in the next six minutes to get back into the game.

Bears center Rod Benson (heel), last season's leading scorer and rebounder, and forward Leon Powe (foot) did not play Friday. Both were projected starters.

Braun, the Eagles' winningest coach, left the program in 1996 to take the job at Cal. He was inducted into Eastern Michigan's Athletic Hall of Fame before the game.

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