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NCAAB: UC San Diego posts stunning win over Cal

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Toni Rocak poured in a career-high 27 points and UC San Diego, in just its second year of Division I basketball, surprised California 80-67 in the 2021-22 season opener on Tuesday afternoon in Berkeley, Calif.

Bryce Pope chipped in with 18 points and made four 3-pointers as the Tritons (1-0) recorded their first-ever victory over the Golden Bears (0-1) after four defeats in the 1980s by an average of 32.3 points.

Jordan Shepherd went for 27 points in his Cal debut, but it wasn’t enough for the hosts to avoid an embarrassing loss in what they hoped would be a bounce-back season after going 9-20 last year.

Cal led by as many as 11 in the first half and 41-36 after an Andre Kelly jumper in the third minute of the second half before the Tritons flipped the script.

UC San Diego, which went 7-10 in its Division I debut last season, took the lead for good on a Francis Nwaokorie jumper with 12:32 to play, triggering an 11-0 burst that gave the Tritons a 58-48 advantage with 9:59 to go. Jace Roquemore nailed a 3-pointer and Rocak dropped in two layups and two free throws in the run.

Cal got no closer than seven after that.

A native of Switzerland who began his college career at Regis University in Denver, Rocak’s 27 points were one more than his season-best 26 last year for the Tritons against Cal State Fullerton. He shot 8-for-13 from the field and 11-for-15 at the free throw line.

Pope shot 4-for-7 on 3-pointers, helping UC San Diego go 10-for-22 as a team. The Golden Bears countered with just 5-for-18 accuracy from beyond the arc.

Shepherd, a transfer from Charlotte, accounted for four of Cal’s five 3-pointers in seven attempts. His teammates went a combined 1-for-11.

Kelly finished with a 17-point, 12-rebound double-double, while Joel Brown added 10 points for the Golden Bears, who were outshot 52.2 percent to 40 percent.

–Field Level Media

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