Gator men's basketball edged out by Cal Bears in 89-80 loss

Cal Bears
UC Berkeley guard Justin Cobbs (1) shoots a layup against SF State Gators' forward James Albright (44) at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, Calif., on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. SF State lost 89-80. Photo by Sam Attal / Special to Xpress

SF State put up a tough fight against the Division I UC Berkeley Golden Bears Tuesday night, but in the end the Gators came up short in an 89-80 loss at Haas Pavilion.

With the Gators dropping their last preseason exhibition against the USF Dons, their matchup against the UC Berkeley Golden Bears proved to be nothing short of difficult, playing against a PAC-12 opponent.

“This was a great experience coming down here to Cal, I can’t be more grateful,” head coach Paul Trevor, said. “We’re just trying to get better every day now and prepare for Dominican (University).”

The matchup was a tale of two halves and two teams. In the first half, the Gators were thwarted by the Bears’ solid defense, only mustering 34 points and being held to 36 percent from the field.

The Gators kept the pace for the better part of the first half, but the Bears did what good teams do to lesser opponents. They let them linger but eventually put them away.

“We just tried to make sure we had our defensive rotations down,” senior forward Decensae White, said. “We’re trying out a new defense for all of us, and hopefully it gets better game to game.”

Berkeley showed strong ball movement and sharp shooting from the field and the line. Free throws were key for the Gators, who got to the line 22 times but only converted at a rate of 68 percent, while the Bears converted 91 percent of their shots.

“It was a good opportunity to play against a PAC-12 team,” White said. “We came up short, but it was a good effort by us.”

Senior guard Nefi Perdomo was one of the key players who came out firing in the first half, motivated to make the Bears work for their win.

Perdomo, who was held to only three points in the first half, scored a huge 20 points to lead the Gators with 23 for the night, including a few that capped major scoring comebacks for the Gators.

“Nefi is a great player. His situation was that he needed to find where he was going to score from,” Trevor said. “Once he gets hot, he is great.”

The Gators move forward from their two exhibition games, educated on what they need to work on at practice for their game against Dominican University in the Ron Logsdon Basketball Classic Nov. 16.