Jabari Bird scored a career-high 24 points in the win over Oakland.

Cal Rallies Past Oakland In EA SPORTS Maui Invitational Opener

The Golden Bears defeated Oakland in an exciting come-from-behind victory.
By Cal Athletics on Fri, November 15, 2013

BERKELEY -- (AP)- California rallied to defeat Oakland in an exciting, come-from-behind, 64-60 victory in its opening game of the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational Friday evening in front of 4,975 fans at Haas Pavilion. Cal improved to 3-0 on the season and marked their 31st consecutive November home win.

Freshman Jabari Bird led the Bears with a career-high 24 points, and was 6-for-8 from the three-point range. Senior Richard Solomon recorded a career-high 17 rebounds to go along with 11 points for his sixth career double-double.

Bird scored 19 of his season-high 24 points in the second half, including a tie-breaking 3-pointer with 1:24 remaining, to lead Cal to the victory.

"We had five minutes alone, just sitting there silent, and then he came in and talked to us like it was a regular game," Bird said of his coach. "And then right before we walked out he said get the energy up and play like we know we can."

Bird, who grew up about 20 minutes from Haas Pavilion, provided the spark while showing why he was the team's top recruit.

He made back-to-back 3-pointers and scored on a fastbreak layup as part of a 10-3 run that gave Cal a 51-49 lead with 8:36 left.

Oakland regained the lead and was up 59-56 following Travis Bader's 3-pointer with 3:53 left before Solomon tied it on a three-point play, setting the stage for Bird's late heroics.

Held to five points in the first half, Bird had missed three straight shots before sinking his sixth 3-pointer of the night after taking a cross-court pass from Ricky Kreklow to tie the game at 59-all.

Bader, who led the nation in 3-point shots made in 2012, missed a 3 on Oakland's ensuing possession then later missed another shot from beyond the arc with 30 seconds remaining.

Justin Cobbs and Kreklow combined for three free throws over the final 17 seconds to seal the win for Cal.

"There was no question that Oakland played harder than we did," Cal coach Mike Montgomery said. "We were late to loose balls, we weren't attentive to details. It's not always a very focused group. They're a little more happy go lucky than they need to be sometimes."

Cobbs finished with 13 points and five assists for the Golden Bears.

Bader had 21 points for the Grizzlies but missed two 3-pointers in the final 61 seconds.

Normally an up-tempo team, Oakland had to slow it down with a short bench. It nearly led to an upset.

Bader shot 8-for-19 from the floor and made five 3s. Kahlil Felder added 13 points, one of five Grizzlies in double figures.

Oakland led by as much as nine in the first half but couldn't slow down Bird, who scored 19 points after halftime.

The Grizzles had the Bears on the ropes early.

Bader made a pair of 3-pointers and Mitch Baenziger stole the ball from Cobbs and scored on a fastbreak layup to cap a 15-6 run and give the Grizzlies a 26-17 lead with under three minutes left in the first half.

Bird helped the Bears cut the gap to 26-24 with a pair of free throws and a 3 before Oakland closed the half on a 4-0 run to take a six-point halftime lead.


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