Bears Best Chico State In Exhibition Contest
BERKELEY – The California men's basketball team battled past Chico State for a 62-55 victory in its lone exhibition tune-up of the 2022-23 season on Wednesday night at Haas Pavilion.
Lars Thiemann posted a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double while newcomers Devin Askew and ND Okafor scored a game-high 11 points apiece as the Golden Bears staved off Chico State in a close-fought second half.
Cal led by as many as 13 points in the first half when Grant Newell's dunk extended its advantage to 28-15 with 2:45 remaining, but an 8-0 Chico State run to close the period brought the game back to a five-point difference. The Wildcats gained a short-lived 33-32 lead with 16:56 left in the game before Cal reeled off an 11-0 run – fueled by a steal and dunk by Marsalis Roberson, who finished with 10 points and eight rebounds – to jump ahead by 10. Despite only shooting 58.1 percent (18-31) from the charity stripe throughout the game, Cal made eight of its final nine attempts to put it away, including a perfect 6-6 by Roberson.
"It was good to play a good basketball team and have to battle," Cal head coach Mark Fox said. "I thought that our defense, for the most part, forced a lot of misses. I'm disappointed in our defensive rebounding; we didn't do a very good job on the glass, which we'll have to work on. Offensively, we were running so many guys in and out that we never found a rhythm. That'll come in time."
All four Cal newcomers played key roles throughout the exhibition. Askew added three rebounds to go along with his 11 points in a team-high 31 minutes played while Okafor hauled in five rebounds, including four on the offensive glass. Newell finished with four points and six boards while DeJuan Clayton, playing on a minutes restriction, started and made one second-half shot.
"The influx of that group will really help our team," Fox said.
Chico State was paced by Brenna Wheeler's nine points. Cal held the Wildcats to 29-percent shooting (18-62).
Cal opens the 2022-23 regular season at home on Monday, Nov. 7 against UC Davis. The contest will start at 8 p.m. PT and will be televised on the Pac-12 Network. The Cal Bears Sports Network will also carry the game on 810 AM and The Varsity app.
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