UPPSALA, SWEDEN -- The California men's basketball team remained undefeated on its European tour after the Bears pulled off a thrilling 76-74 victory over Uppsala Basket at Fyrishov Idrottsgatan 2.
Both teams played a fast-paced game and traded leads throughout, but Cal prevailed on the backs of sophomore forward Richard Solomon, who had a team-high 18 points, and 17 points each from junior guard Brandon Smith and sophomore guard Allen Crabbe. Crabbe also got it done on the boards where he collected a team-high 13 rebounds.
Junior forward Robert Thurman had another solid outing with seven rebounds.
The Bears broke away, briefly in the first quarter, when Smith hit two straight three-pointers to create a 12-8 lead. Smith led the team with nine in the first stanza, just ahead of Solomon's eight. Both Crabbe and freshman David Kravish pulled down three rebounds apiece to help Cal stay on top, 23-20, at the end of the quarter.
Uppsala picked up the pace in the second quarter to take a lead on several occasions, but the Bears maintained their game to come up with a 41-39 lead at the half. Thurman provided a lift with six points and three rebounds while freshman guard Alex Rossi tossed in a three-pointer of his own.
Cal traded barbs with Uppsala through the third quarter, and found themselves down, 56-54 with just under two minutes to go. Under duress, the Bears came back to earn a 60-all tie at the end of the third on a three-point play. After three, Crabbe led the team with 15 points with Solomon just a shade back with 13, and Smith with 12. Axel Nordstrom of Uppsala led all scorers with 22 points through three.
Cal trailed by as many as three points in the fourth quarter, but a pair of free throws by Smith helped the Bears begin to pull away. A steal and a breakaway dunk by Crabbe pushed Cal's lead to five, 75-70, with two minutes left in the game. Uppsala would not be denied, however, as it came within two points at 76-74, and had the final shot of the game. A three-point attempt came up short, as the Bears preserved a 76-74 victory.
After a night's rest, the Bears will head to Oslo, Norway, where they will take on the Norwegian National Team in a 7 p.m. (10 a.m. PT) game on Wednesday, Aug. 17, at Rykkinnhallen Leirdueveien 73.