December 7, 1998
OAKLAND - California overcame a horrendous shooting night but made up for it in defense as the Bears held on for a 58-56 victory over Coppin State Monday at the Arena in Oakland.
Cal, which upped its record to 5-1, trailed by as many as 12 points midway through the second half. At that point, with his team down, 41-29, head coach Ben Braun switched to a smaller and quicker lineup with three guards complement 6-7 Sean Lampley in the middle.
The move paid immediate dividends as the Bears went on a 13-2 run. Lampley led the charge with six points during that stretch and Thomas Kilgore contributed four. Cal finally tied the score at 45-45 on a layup and free throw by Mike Gill with 5:45 to go.
After Coppin moved back ahead by four, Dennis Gates' free throw tied it up again at 49-all. The Bears took the lead for good on a layup by Lampley and Geno Carlisle's three-pointer gave Cal a 54-49 lead with 2:27 on the clock.
Coppin closed to 54-52 when Kilgore made his only shot from the field - a leaning three-pointer from the corner as the shot clock was winding down.
The game ended with Coppin on the free throw line. Down 58-54 with 1.8 seconds left, the Eagles Jorge Cajigas had three free throw attempts. He made the first two, then deliberately missed the third. However, the rebound was tipped out of bounds as the clock expired.
"I'm pleased that at times we were able to play with intensity," Braun said. "For stretches, our defense played with intensity, but it's a shame that it took us getting down by 12 points to play hard. Thanks to Solomon Hughes, Raymond King and Dennis Gates and their enthusiasm and hustle, we were able to come out on top."
Hughes had eight points and four boards in 17 minutes, while King saw his most extensive time of the year with 14 minutes. Gates scored four points and added three steals.
Lampley led Cal with 12 points, while Gill and Carlisle had 10 each. Lampley also pulled down 11 rebounds.
Fred Warrick was the only Coppin player in double figures with 27 points.