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Bears roll over hapless Stars

By Jared Green Daily Planet Staff
Friday November 03, 2000


The Washington Generals would have been proud. 

Much like the hapless eternal whipping boys of the Harlem Globetrotters, the Los Angeles Stars put up minimal resistance in the opener of the Cal men’s basketball season. The Bears won the exhibition game Thursday night 88-61, shooting 50 percent from the field while holding their semi-pro opponents to less than 26 percent in a game marred by a total of 66 personal fouls, more than one and a half per minute of action. 

“The refs are going to call things tighter this year, that’s for sure,” said Cal head coach Ben Braun after the game. “Our players will have to make some adjustments.” 

“We had some idea what to expect from the officials,” said forward Sean Lampley, who scored 15 points to lead the Bears along with Joe Shipp and Brian Wethers. “These exhibition games will help us see how the refs will call things.” 

The Bears came out full of energy, and the Stars didn’t appear to know what hit them. The visitors missed their first 11 shots from the field, and didn’t score a point until Cal had already put 29 points on the scoreboard. 

The humiliation didn’t stop there for he Stars. Forward Sidney Faison managed to foul out in the first half, collecting his fifth foul with more than two minutes left in the half. With just a four-man bench to begin the game, Stars coach Dave Benezra was down to just eight eligible players, opposed to the 12-man squad at Braun’s fingertips. Braun was missing only forward Ryan Forehan-Kelly, held out because of a thigh bruise. 

The game was so out of hand by halftime, with the score standing at 50-19 in favor of the Bears, that the two coaches agreed to increase the number of fouls allowed per player from the standard five to an oversized seven. Although Faison never returned to the game, the extension allowed both Cal freshman Saulius Kuzminskas and L.A.’s Saipele Tuialii to play despite reaching the five-foul limit. 

Braun chose not to play Lampley or sophomore point guard Shantay Legans, who had three steals and three assists in limited action, for much of the second half, resting his starters and letting several freshmen get some experience. Newcomer Gabriel Hughes collected nine rebounds (along with four fouls) in just 10 minutes of play, and Kuzminskas finished the game with seven points, including a breakaway dunk.  

“We wanted to make sure some guys got their feet wet tonight, and we did that,” Braun said. 

The 6-11 Lithuanian import also had several moments where he played out of control, however, leading to three turnovers. The Bears committed 19 turnovers in the second half and managed to foul the Stars 21 times, and were actually outscored in the half 42-38. 

“That’s how you end up losing games. We have a system we need to follow, no matter who is in the game,” Braun said. “I’m glad we don’t have another game for a while, and I’m glad we have practice tomorrow.”