McNeill scores 22 points to lead Cal past San Jose St 88-80
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — Darius McNeill scored 17 of his 22 points after the break and Cal used a big second half to beat San Jose State 88-80 on Friday night.
McNeill, a sophomore guard, drained four 3-pointers in the second half as the Bears (5-6) rebounded from a 22-point loss at Fresno State three nights earlier. Andre Kelly added 21 points and 10 rebounds for Cal and point guard Paris Austin dished a season-high 11 assists, nine in the 58-point second half.
Oumar Barry scored a career-high 18 points to lead San Jose State (3-8) and Noah Baumann also had 18.
The Spartans trailed by double digits down the stretch but cut the deficit to 84-80 with a minute remaining before Austin made four free throws to help ice the game.
Cal turned it around after a cold-shooting first half. Trailing 32-30 coming out of the break, the Bears rattled off a 9-0 run to take command. McNeill then hit back-to-back 3-pointers to help propel Cal to its third victory in the past four games.
Barry had 12 points in the first half as the Spartans took a 32-30 lead into the break. San Jose State was 4 for 9 from beyond the arc in the first 20 minutes.
Cal’s defensive pressure bothered the Spartans early, and the Bears used some opportunistic transition offense to jump ahead 17-9 midway through the first half. But the Bears shot just 36 percent in the first half, including 28 percent (5 for 18) on 3-pointers.
San Jose State: After losing by five to Stanford on Tuesday, the Spartans hung tough against another Pac-12 opponent but couldn’t come away with a victory.
Cal: The Bears are at their best forcing turnovers and scoring in transition, but McNeill’s hot shooting from the outside in the second half was much needed as well.
San Jose State is off until Dec. 29, when it concludes a three-game run against Bay Area schools by visiting Saint Mary’s.
Cal wraps up its non-conference schedule Dec. 29 with a home game against Seattle.
More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25