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Bears fall to Fresno St. in NCAA tournament

The Associated Press
Saturday March 17, 2001

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Demetrius Porter scored a career-high 27 points and helped stem three second-half comebacks by California as ninth-seeded Fresno State beat the Bears 82-70 on Friday night in the first round of the South Regional. 

The victory gave coach Jerry Tarkanian a 17-1 record in the first round of the NCAA tournament and set up a second-round matchup with top-seeded Michigan State on Sunday. 

The defending national champions beat Alabama State 69-35. 

It was Tarkanian's first NCAA win at Fresno State (26-6) and the second in school history. He won four first-round games at Long Beach State and 12 at UNLV, including the championship season of 1990. 

Porter, a senior guard whose previous best was 26 points against Rice as a junior, hit a 3-pointer to start an 8-0 run when the eighth-seeded Bears (20-11) closed to 46-43 with 13:54 to play. He ended the run with a nice high-arching shot on a long drive. 

Cal, which was making its first tournament appearance since 1997, closed to 56-51 but Porter hit the last of his five 3-pointers with 7:34 left to give Fresno State a 61-51 lead. He finished 5-for-10 from 3-point range. 

The last run by the Bears had them within six at 68-62 with 3:38 to play when Porter made two free throws to start Fresno State's closing run of 14-8 with all the points coming from the free-throw line. 

Melvin Ely, the Western Athletic Conference player of the year, added 21 points and 13 rebounds for Fresno State, while Chris Jeffries had 15 points. 

Shantay Legans had 15 points to lead the Bears, while Pac-10 player of the year Sean Lampley had 13, six below his average. He had just four points in the first half on 2-for-8 shooting and was 6-for-18 for the game, well off his season mark of 51 percent. California lost four of its last five games.