Darius McNeill buried consecutive 3-pointers in a 12-point, first-half flurry Tuesday night that propelled California to an 80-66 non-conference men’s basketball victory over Hampton in Berkeley, Calif.
All five starters for the Golden Bears (1-1) scored in double figures as Cal rebounded from an opening loss to Yale in China with a decisive win.
Jermaine Marrow poured in a game-high 26 points for Hampton (1-2), which was coming off a 69-57 loss to Virginia Commonwealth.
Cal led just 19-17 before Paris Austin hit a jumper and assisted on two hoops, the second being a McNeill 3-pointer, to get the Bears’ run in motion.
McNeill’s second 3-pointer and two free throws by Andre Kelly completed the 12-0 burst that opened a 31-17 lead.
Hampton went 4:13 without a point until Lysander Bracey connected on a 3-pointer.
Cal went on to lead 48-31 at halftime and stretched the advantage to 19 early in the second half before the Pirates rallied.
Marrow had back-to-back three-point plays to trigger a stretch in which he scored 10 straight Hampton points, and he then assisted a 3-pointer by Trevond Barnes that got the Pirates within 54-47 with 14:28 to play.
A layup by Akim Mitchell a little more than a minute later got Hampton as close as five, before Connor Vanover bombed in a 3-pointer for Cal to get the hosts back on track.
The Pirates got no closer than six the rest of the way.
Austin had a team-high 20 points and game-high six assists for Cal, which hadn’t played Hampton since a 69-46 win in December of 2004.
Justice Sueing (17 points), Kelly (15), McNeill (11) and Matt Bradley (11) also scored in double figures for the Bears, who shot 8-for-14 from 3-point range.
Mitchell and Kalin Fisher complemented Marrow’s game-high total with 12 points apiece, but the trio combined to shoot 0-for-9 on 3-pointers.
The Hampton five made just 3-of-21 from beyond the arc in the game.
—Field Level Media