UC San Diego beats Cal 80-67 for first win over Pac-12 team

Nov 9, 2021, 2:38 AM | Updated: 4:40 pm

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — Toni Rocak scored a career-high 27 points, Bryce Pope scored 14 of his 18 in the second half and UC San Diego beat California 80-67 on Tuesday for the Tritons’ first win over a Pac-12 Conference opponent.

UCSD (1-0), which began its transition to Division I in 2020, lost its first 12 games against Pac-12 teams.

Pope hit two 3-pointers in a 9-2 spurt and the Tritons had their first lead (since 2-0) when Francis Nwaokorie hit two free throws to make it 45-43 with 15 minutes to play. Cal recaptured the lead when Jordan Shepherd hit a 3 about two minutes later, but Rocak scored six points in an 11-0 run that gave UC San Diego a 58-48 lead midway through the second half. The Golden Bears trailed by at least eight points the rest of the way.

Shepherd, a graduate transfer from UNC Charlotte, tied his career high with 27 points for Cal (0-1). Andre Kelly had 17 points and 12 rebounds.

UCSD trailed by four at halftime but caught fire in the second half, making 12 of 18 from the field, 7 of 10 from 3-point range and 16 of 20 from the free-throw line.

Cal, which lost its leading scorer from last season when Matt Bradley transferred to San Diego State in April, struggled to score, shooting just 40% (24 of 60) overall, 5 of 18 from behind the arc and 58.3% (14 of 24) from the foul line.

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