NEW YORK — The California Golden Bears used the long ball in defeating No. 23 Syracuse, 71-57, in the semifinals of the 2K Classic on Thursday at Madison Square Garden.
Cal (3-0) sank eight of its 19 (42 percent) treys and was led by guard Jordan Matthews’ 22 points. Fellow backcourt mate Jabari Bird added 16 points. Bird was 4-of-5 from beyond the arc.
Cal forward David Kravish chipped in with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
The Golden Bears had 20 assists on 26 shots.
Forward Chris McCullough scored 12 points for the Orange and guard Kaleb Joseph and forward Michael Gbinije tossed in 11 points each.
Cal (3-0) plays No. 10 Texas (3-0) in the championship game Friday after Iowa (2-1) and Syracuse meet in the consolation game. The Orange lost to Cal in the 2K consolation game in 2009.
Cal maintained a double-digit lead throughout the entire second half. The closest the Orange came was 37-26 with 16:56 still to play, but was thwarted with a 10-2 run over the next 1:49. Matthews scored eight points in the burst.
Syracuse turned the ball over four times in the run.
Cal was effective in busting the vaunted Syracuse 2-3 zone in the first half by sinking 3-pointers. It led 34-22 at the half.
After Cal missed its first six 3-pointers, Bird sank all three of his shots from beyond the arc as Cal went on a 12-0 run to end the quarter.
NOTES: Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim trails only Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski in active games for Division I coaches. … Syracuse has won 53 consecutive nonconference home games, the second best streak in the nation. Duke has won 110. … C Rakeem Christmas has started 112 of 114 games at Syracuse. … Cal’s up-tempo offense produced back-to-back point totals of greater than 90 points for the first time since 2002.
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