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Cal shock Syracuse in the Garden
By Alanah Anderson posted 11/22/14

Stanford rush courtNew York -- California Golden Bears came into Madison Square Garden with their new coach Cuonzo Martin to meet Jim Boeheim and the #23 Syracuse Orange in a 2K Classic semi final matchup.  The Bears carved up Syracuse zone defense penetrating and hitting threes for a 73-59 dominating win that brought attention.  

The Syracuse defense was paying enough attention to Cal’s sophomore guards Jordan Mathews (22 points) and Jabari Bird (16 points).  Together they shot 12-for-21 over 57-percent from the field and a scorching 6-for-10 from beyond the arc.  

"It's a big win for our program," Bird said. "We came out here, we're not ranked. We're kind of an underdog team that's going up against a great team in Syracuse. They put up a great fight and we got a great team 'W' tonight."

Syracuse had the home crowd behind them in the storied Garden when they played many years in the Big East Conference, now in the ACC.  Cal quelled the Cuse crowd when they realized a comeback could not be mounted.  Syracuse, a relatively young squad, shot only 37-percent from the field and a meager 25-percent from three.

Forward Michael Gbinije and guard Kaleb Joseph led Cuse with 13 points a piece and freshman standout Chris McCullough (12) was the only other player to score double figures for the Orange. Rakeem Christmas was held to eight points on 3-of-9 shooting, before fouling out with 6:23 left and Syracuse down by 14.  He was their leading scorer averaging 18 points and 12.5 rebounds.

California (3-0) shot over 48-percent from the field and 44-percent from downtown.  The Bears hit four straight threes late in the first half and go into the locker room 34-22.  They continued dissecting the zone defense to coast to a victory and a bigger test against #10 Texas in the final after they defeated Iowa 71-57.




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