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Cal fends off Colorado late, 80-76

Dec 8, 2022; Boulder, Colorado, USA; Colorado State Rams head coach Niko Medved calls out in the first half against the Colorado Buffaloes at the CU Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Joel Brown scored a career-high 21 points to lead host Cal to an 80-76 victory over Colorado in Pac-12 play on Saturday in Berkeley, Calif.

Brown shot 9 of 14 from the field, including 1 of 3 from 3-point range, and grabbed three rebounds. Freshman Grant Newell had his first double-double, with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Lars Thiemann added 12 points and four rebounds, with DeJuan Clayton chipping in 10 points and three assists for Cal. Kuany Kuany finished with 11 points and five rebounds.

The Bears (2-13, 1-3 Pac-12), who led by as many as 21 points in the second half, shot 58 percent from the field, including 7 of 13 from 3-point range. Cal, which has won two of its past three games after opening the season with 12 straight losses, outrebounded the Buffaloes 36-23.

Colorado (9-6, 1-3), which had its five-game winning streak end, was led by KJ Simpson’s 25 points, five assists and three rebounds. J’Vonne Hadley had 17 points and four rebounds, while Javon Ruffin added nine points. Tristan da Silva finished with eight points, four rebounds and three assists.

The Buffaloes shot 30 of 66 from the field, including 7 of 26 from beyond the arc.

Leading 51-39 with 10:41 left, the Bears put the game away by going on a 12-3 run to take a 63-42 advantage following Newell’s layup with 6:41 to go.

However, Simpson hit a layup and two 3-pointers in a span of 25 seconds to pull the Buffaloes to within 79-76 with six seconds left, but Brown split a pair of free throws after being fouled to secure the win.

Cal’s hot shooting enabled the Bears to dominate the first half and take a 39-27 halftime lead.

Thiemann scored 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting and Brown added seven by going 3 of 5 from the field in the first 20 minutes for Cal. The Bears shot a blistering 15 of 25 (60 percent) from the field before the break, including a red-hot 4 of 5 (80 percent) from beyond the arc.

–Field Level Media