Bears Roll Cardinals, 77-62

Amidst a few distractions, California came through in a dominating 77-62 win over Louisville in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Jacksonville on Friday night. Jerome Randle and Theo Robertson led Cal with 21 points apiece…

California jumped out to a quick 12-0 lead just minutes into the game. The Golden Bears built the advantage to 18 points as Louisville missed 11 of its first 13 shots. The Cardinals rallied and went on a 14-2 run cutting the lead to just six, 32-26, with a chance to cut the deficit further in the waning moments before halftime.

Down 38-30, Louisville's Preston Knowles missed an open 3-point shot with seven seconds remaining in the half. After taking over possession, Cal got the ball in the hands of Jerome Randle on the inbound pass. He made a few dribbles then launched a long range three at the buzzer. The shot was good and gave the Bears the momentum and an 11-point lead at the break.

The Cardinals would rally again in the second half. They cut the margin to four points with 7:27 remaining in the game. Then Cal went on a 15-4 run to close the game making 8-of-9 free throws down the stretch.

The Bears advance to the second round for the first time since 2003. Cal is now 11-5 all-time in first-round NCAA Tournament play. The Bears are 19-15 in the NCAA Tournament, while Louisville fell to 60-38.

Cal faces No. 1 seed Duke on Sunday at Veterans Memorial Arena.

Cal and Duke have met once in NCAA Tournament play. 17 years ago, March 20, 1993 the sixth-seeded Bears upset the two-time defending national champion Blue Devils, 82-77 in a showdown between Bobby Hurley and Jason Kidd. Kidd scored 11 and handed out 14 assists while Hurley, in his final game at Duke totaled 32 points and 9 assists against only one turnover.

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