Cal Tops Princeton 70-58 in Opener

The 2001-2002 California men's basketball season opened in fine fashon for the Golden Bears with a 70-58 defeat of the Princeton Tigers in the second game of the Black Coaches' Association (BCA) Classic. The game was not nearly as close as the final score indicated. Cal used a stifiling, and well-discplined defense to turn in an excellent season opening performance. The defense forced numerous turnovers and limited the Tigers to only 36 shots.

The offense ran smoothly as the Bears shot 45% from downtown and over 50% from the floor. Four Bears scored in double figures and they were led by Joe Shipp's 15 points closely followed by Dennis Gates' 11 points, Ryan Forehan-Kelly's 11 points and freshman sensation Jamal Sampson's 10 points.

The key to this victory for the Bears was excellent preparation for Princeton's back door-cuts and screens which allowed the Bears to force Princeton into many highly contested shots as well as turnovers. The patience of the half-court offense was also a huge key to the Bears success. The Bears did not fall into a fatal mistake of forcing their prefered style to set the tempo which has been the common denominator for talented teams losing to often less talented Princeton teams.

Up next for the Bears (1-0) is Eastern Washington, who snuck by #10 St. Joseph's 68-67 in a huge upset in the BCA Classic opener. The Bears will be an overwhelming favorite in this championship match-up but they should be leery of a letdown due to the contrasting styles of Eastern Washington and Princeton.


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