California 79, Fresno State 71
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) _ Sean Lampley scored a career-high 28 points and California overcame a 13-point deficit in the final 15:30 to beat Fresno State 79-71 in a first-round NIT game Wednesday night.
Geno Carlisle had 19 points and Carl Boyd added 10 of his 14 points in the second half, when Cal (18-11) took control to advance to a second-round game Tuesday against DePaul, a 69-64 winner earlier Wednesday over Northwestern.
Courtney Alexander led Fresno State (21-12) with 22 points. Melvin Ely and Willie Farley had 13 points apiece and Chris Herren added 10 for the Bulldogs, ousted in the first round after reaching the NIT semifinals last year.
Up by seven at the break, the Bulldogs stretched their lead to 50-37 when Alexander pulled up for a 3-pointer with 15:30 remaining.
Cal put together an explosive run to get back in it and move in front. Lampley converted a three-point play and Thomas Kilgore hit a 3-pointer, igniting a 16-0 run. Boyd’s driving one-handed jam capped the flurry and gave Cal a 53-50 lead with 9:49 left.
The Bears boosted their lead to 72-65 after Lampley made one of two free throws and Carlisle made a 3-pointer. This time, Fresno State came back, finishing three straight fast breaks with layups, two by Alexander to pull within a point.
However, the Bulldogs didn’t score again, missing their last four shots while Cal, making its first NIT appearance in 10 years, made five of eight free throws down the stretch to secure the victory.
The Bulldogs took a 39-32 halftime lead, closing the period with a 10-4 burst.
Cal pulled to within a point on a putback by Boyd but Farley then made a 3-pointer, touching off the spurt that Abney finished by converting a three-point play.