BERKELEY, Calif. (AP)Matt Bradley wanted to atone for what he considered a bad week. Consider him forgiven.
Bradley scored 24 points and California did just enough in the final two minutes to beat Fresno State 69-63 on Wednesday night.
”Matt had a tough week but give him credit,” Golden Bears coach Mark Fox said. ”He had a great approach and a great response. He grew up tonight and I’m proud of him.”
Bradley recorded his fourth 20-plus game and was one shy of matching his career-high.
”We had a great week of practice and closed it out,” Bradley said. ”We can feel good about this win.”
Kareem South added 17 points for Cal (6-4) and Andre Kelly added 10. The Golden Bears won their eighth straight at home dating to last year, their longest streak since setting the school record with 27-game home win streak, which ended in December of 2016.
”It was a good feeling coming home after two losses,” Bradley said.
Fresno State’s New Williams scored in double figures in back-to-back games for the first time this season, netting 21. He scored 23 points on 5-of-29 shooting through his first five games and has since scored 47 on 16-of-32 shooting.
Mustafa Lawrence added 16 points for the Bulldogs (2-7), who lost their fifth straight. Nate Grimes added 14 rebounds and seven points.
”Grimes is an elite rebounder,” Fox said. ”He is a handful.”
Fresno State led by as many as three points early in the second half, but the Bears hit three 3-pointers in about 21/2 minutes and led 52-45 with 9:47 left to play.
Grimes and Williams made back-to-back layups to trim Fresno State’s deficit to a point with 3:38 to go but the Bears scored the next seven points over a three-plus minute stretch and it was at least a two-possession game the rest of the way.
”We didn’t make all our free throws, but we made several,” Fox said. ”I thought we managed the last part of the game like we wanted.”
RALLYING THE CROWD
Cal coach Mark Fox rallied the crowd late in the game. ”I don’t do that often, but we needed them in that situation,” he said. ”Our team is not battle-tested and they’re learning something new on both ends of the court. We’re going to need our fans to stand up and break a sweat because this team has to overachieve. We need energy in this building.”
Fresno State: The Bulldogs seemed to have a bit of a hangover after losing their past two games in overtime but slowly pulled out of it and opened the second half with a flurry, taking the lead and playing well at both ends until the waning moments.
California: The Bears are a much better shooting team at home. After shooting under 29% in a loss at Santa Clara, they welcomed a contest at Haas Pavilion, where they shoot nearly 53% this season. Cal was outrebounded and shot fewer free throws but took the lead at halftime because of their 52% shooting and ended shooting 48%.
Fresno State: The Bulldogs play at Cal Poly on Saturday.
California: The Bears host St. Mary’s on Saturday.
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