No. 13 Bears fall for second straight night, losing to Richmond despite coming back from 15 points down

Cal basketball drops its second straight game in Las Vegas despite a late-game comeback.

After three straight wide-open three-pointers by Richmond, five minutes into the second half, No. 13 California was down by 15.

The Bears were playing scattered and ineffective defense, and playing freelance offense as the Spiders went on a 15-3 run, echoing the beginnings of the second-half run that spelled the end for Cal against San Diego State on Thursday night, and though the Bears did make a comeback, they fell for the second straight game in Las Vegas, losing 94-90 in the third-place game of the Las Vegas Invitational.

After going down by 15 within the first five minutes of the second half, the Bears came back to take the lead, hitting 10 of their next 14 shots to take a one-point lead with five minutes left in the game, while holding the Spiders to 11 points on 4-of-13 shooting, forcing two turnovers thanks to switching to a 2-3 zone defense. Jabari Bird turned in one of those swpies, pushing the ball up to Roger Moute a Bidias, and him in turn to Jaylen Brown, who, despite being doubl-teamed, went right, split the double team and kissed the ball high off the glass and in for an 8-0 run that closed the gap to 71-67. Minutes later, Cal got a Tyrone Wallace three off a Moute a Bidias drive and kick to take the 75-74 lead for the first time since 

Up until that point, Cal had been doing very little communicating on defense, and the zone, while it helped with the foul issues, could not close the gap completely.

For the second straight game, the Bears had one player -- last night it was Ivan Rabb, and on Friday night, it was Bird -- finally seem to have their coming-out game of the season, before fizzling late. Rabb had 12 points in the first 12 mintues on Thursday before getting into foul trouble. Bird had 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting in the first half, including two three-pointers, but only contributed three rebounds to the scoresheet in the second half (finishing with six), and no points in 14 minutes, as he was one of seven Bears to finish with three fouls or more.

Both Rabb and fellow freshman Brown finished their second straight game with four fouls apiece, and while Brown finished with a and career-high 27 points on 11-of-16 shooting, including a massive left-handed breakaway jam in the first half -- he played out-of-control much of the night, and was, at times, carless with the ball, committing three turnovers. 

Cal scored 56 points in the paint -- largely thanks to Browns' driving -- and had 10 offensive rebounds, but Richmond went 9-of-18 from three-point land (while the Bears was 6-of-15), and out-rebounded Cal 35-30. Of the Bears' 16 first-half boards, four came from Rabb -- normal enough -- and four from wing Jordan Mathews, while Richmond pulled down 19 boards before the break, thanks to six from 6-foot-8 senior Terry Allen. Mathews -- as good as he is as a shooter -- isn't normally one of Cal's rebounding leaders. If it's not Rabb or Brown, it's usually Wallace, but he had just three boards on the night. It was also Wallace's second-worst shooting night of the year (behind Thursday's 38.9% night against San Diego State), and he only had one assist, as Cal had just eight total assists on 35 field goals -- hence a 'freelance' offensive performance.

The foul issues that plagued Brown and Rabb plagued the Bears as a team before the final-minute foul-fest and free throw exchange. Richmond took 20 more foul shots than Cal. Allen finished with a game-high 34 points, including 17-of-21 from the free throw line. He scored 18 points in the first half alone, hitting a left-hand hook against Brown and a hook shot over Bird playing the four.

The Bears went small for much of the night to play with the Spiders' quick tempo, but could not translate that into point-scoring opportunities on the run-out, with just eight fast break points. Richmond, despite its quick pace, wasn't really getting out in transition either -- the Spiders scored no points in transition -- but they did crash the glass, scoring 17 second-chance points, and gained extra possessions on the defensive end with four blocks and five steals.

Five Bears finished in double figures in points --  Sam Singer had 10 points off the bench, Bird had 12, Rabb had 13, Brown 27 and Wallace had 15 on 5-of-12 shooting.

Cal returns home for a Tues., Dec. 1 match-up with Seattle at 7 p.m. in Berkeley at Haas Pavilion on the Pac-12 Networks. Top Stories