Cal blows past off-target Syracuse in 2K Classic semis

New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Jordan Mathews scored a game-high 22 points, Jabari Bird made four 3-pointers and California took down No. 23 Syracuse 73-59 in a 2K Classic semifinal at Madison Square Garden.

With the convincing victory, Cal advanced to play Texas in Friday's event championship. The 10th-ranked Longhorns pulled away from Iowa for a 71-57 win earlier Thursday.

Bird finished with 16 points, while David Kravish totaled 12 points, 10 rebounds and five assists for the Golden Bears (3-0), who ended the first half on a 12-2 run and led by double digits the rest of the way.

Kaleb Joseph and Michael Gbinije led Syracuse (2-1) with 13 points apiece, while Chris McCullough netted 12 in the setback.

Playing in their home away from home, the Orange looked completely lost, especially in a first half summed up by Gbinije driving in for a tomahawk dunk and having the ball clang off the back of the rim.

At the time of the missed slam, which came with just over three minutes to play before the break, Syracuse only trailed 22-20 because Cal also came out cold.

That changed quickly with the Bears making four 3-pointers in a five- possession span -- two coming from Bird -- en route to a healthy 34-22 lead heading to the locker room.

Mathews made three free throws and a layup on consecutive possessions less than five minutes into the second half to extend the margin to 47-28, and the closest the Orange got from there was a dozen.

Game Notes

The Bears had scored more than 90 points in each of their first two games, albeit against lesser compeition in Alcorn State and Kennesaw State ... The Orange have played 168 times at MSG, winning 93 of them ... Syracuse had won all three previous matchups between the schools, including a 92-81 victory in last year's Maui Invitational.