BERKELEY, CA – McNeese State's Cowboys stayed up with No. 20 ranked California for one full half but couldn't keep up the pace after intermission and bowed 73-57 Monday night.
The game was the second for the Cowboys on a California swing and left them 1-1 on the trip and 3-3 overall. They had beaten Sacramento State on Saturday. California went to 6-1 with the victory, its fifth straight without a loss at home.
McNeese was within two of the Bears (28-26) at the end of the first half after leading several times in the opening period. The Cowboys scored the game's first four points, went up 8-2 and later in the period held leads of 22-18 and 26-22. Cal scored the final six points of the half for the 28-26 halftime lead.
In the second period, the Bears outscored McNeese 21-11 in the first eight minutes to go up 49-37 and the Cowboys never threatened thereafter.
Patrick Richard led McNeese in scoring with 18 points while Dontae Cannon scored 15, 10 of those in the first half. Cal had two players hit for 20 or more points, Jorge Gutierrez getting a game high 26 and Allen Crabbe getting 20.
The Bears knocked down 50 percent of their field goals (27 of 54), making six of 13 from three point range. McNeese hit for a 43 percentage from the floor (24 of 56) and the Cowboys also made six three pointers (15 attempts).
Cal held a 32-27 edge in the rebound column with Richard Soloman pulling a game high 10. Rudy Turner led the Cowboys with six and Cannon had five.
The host team had an eight point advantage at the free throw line, making 13 of 21 attempts while the Cowboys only had three free tries, making all three, the result of a 19-8 mismatch in fouls.
McNeese will be back in action on Thursday, tackling UL Lafayette in Lafayette.