Andre Kelly, California face Pacific in NorCal clash

·2 min read

Two teams poised to be surprise elements in their leagues get one final tune-up Wednesday night when Pacific visits California in a nonconference game in Berkeley, Calif.

The clash of northern California schools will be the 13th in a rivalry that dates back to 1953. Cal (7-5) has won the last 10, with Pacific's only victory coming in 1954.

The teams haven't met since 2012, which means this will be Cal big man Andre Kelly's first -- and probably last -- meeting with his hometown team.

The former standout at Lincoln High of Stockton, the same city in which Pacific (5-8) is located, is coming off his fifth double-double of the season (14 points, 10 rebounds) in a 61-55 home win over Dartmouth on Sunday.

The victory was Cal's seventh straight at home and third in a row overall. Having split its first two Pacific-12 Conference games, the Golden Bears resume league play Jan. 2 at Stanford.

Kelly, who leads Cal in scoring (15.1) and rebounding (9.2), has "really developed his game," Cal coach Mark Fox said.

"The magic is in the work, and that young man has done the work and he continues to improve. He's a great example of if you just work hard every day how much you can continue to develop," Fox said.

The Tigers are led by Northern Arizona transfer Luke Avdalovic, who had a season-high 18 points in Pacific's 77-67 home loss to U.C. Davis on Sunday.

Alphonso Anderson and Jeremiah Bailey each average 11 points a game, but Pacific coach Leonard Perry is looking for increased consistency from his three double-figure scorers.

With the West Coast Conference opener just eight days after the Cal game, Perry said now is the time to turn things around.

After a 4-3 start, the Tigers have lost five of their past six, but an 80-71 victory over UC Santa Barbara on Dec. 14 was encouraging.

Losses to North Dakota State and UC Davis since then, however, may have dampened the team's outlook.

"Our kids will take this personally," Perry said. "We're going through a rough patch, and we're going to find our way out of it. We're going to keep watching the film and live in this gym until we figure it out."

--Field Level Media