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Bears Drop Tip-Off Opener To No. 23 Florida

Nov 22, 2021
Jalen Celestine scored seven points off the bench in Cal's loss to No. 23 Florida on Monday.

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) - Jordan Shepherd scored a team-high 15 points but California was unable to take down No. 23 Florida, falling 80-60 in an opening game of the Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off on Monday night at Suncoast Credit Union Arena.

The Golden Bears (2-3) saw their two-game win streak snapped with the loss. Andre Kelly contributed nine points and four rebounds while Lars Thiemann (8) and Jalen Celestine (7) combined for 15 points off of the bench.

A jumper by Celestine with 10:36 remaining in the first half gave Cal an early 15-13 advantage. From there, the Gators (5-0) went on a 17-6 run that put them on top for good, 30-21 at the 4:12 mark. A dozen points came from the foul line during the run and Florida made 14 of 15 from the line in the first 20 minutes.

After that, Florida's next three baskets were three-pointers for a 39-25 lead and the Bears trailed by double figures the rest of the way. Florida led 46-27 at the half. The Bears hung with Florida in the second half, shooting 46 percent from the field for 33 points to Florida's 34. Cal was just 2-of-10 from behind the arc and shot 44 percent overall.

Four Gators scored in double figures, led by Colin Castleton (16) and Tyree Appleby (15).

Cal and Florida played two previous times, both in early-season tournaments. The Golden Bears won in the 1986 Rainbow Classic in Honolulu and the 1988 Great Alaska Shootout.

Cal will face No. 21 Seton Hall in the third-place game at 3 p.m. PT Wednesday, Nov. 24. The Pirates fell to Ohio State, 79-76, on Monday. Wednesday's contest will be televised on FS1 from Suncoast Credit Union Arena.
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