Bears fall to 5-7 after loss to Seattle

The Cal men’s basketball team made the type of history it’s trying to avoid Saturday night at Haas Pavilion.

The Bears lost 82-73 to Seattle, assuring a losing nonconference record in back-to-back seasons for the first time since the program did it three straight times from 1963-65.

Cal (5-7) opens Pac-12 play Thursday at USC after leading Seattle for all of 91 seconds and trailing by as many as 18 points in a generally ugly nonconference finale. The Bears went 14-18 in nonconference play in 1963-65, when they played in Athletic Association of Western Universities.

The Redhawks (12-3), who lost games earlier this year to Stanford and Washington, are off to their best start since opening the 1963-64 season 13-2 and fended off Cal’s only real challenge midway through the fourth quarter by holding the Bears without a field goal for a span of eight minutes, 14 seconds.

Cal had won three of its past four games, a stretch sparked by moving Matt Bradley to the bench and starting a bigger first five. But the Bears got crushed inside by Seattle, which outscored Cal 19-7 in second-chance points.

The Redhawks were led by a career-best 26 points from Myles Carter. The 6-foot-9 forward also had 13 rebounds, part of Seattle’s 38-30 edge on the boards.

Seattle also got double-digit scoring from Morgan Means (24 points on 16-of-16 free-throw shooting), Delante Jones (16) and Terrell Brown (10) in shooting 45.5 percent from the floor.

Paris Austin and Darius McNeill combined for 39 points for Cal, but the Bears had only one other player in double figures (Justice Sueing 15 points). After his first career double-double, Andre Kelly had just seven points, but he wasn’t alone in his struggles.

Cal looked like a team that had an eight-day break between games, missing seven of its first nine shots and falling in a 21-4 hole. The Bears didn’t make a three-pointer until they were down by 18 at the 7:15 mark of the first half, but that wasn’t even their biggest problem.

With 7-3 freshman Connor Vanover still in the concussion protocol and 6-8 sophomore Grant Anticevich in foul trouble, Cal got dominated inside. Seattle outrebounded the Bears 19-7 in the first half, leading to huge advantages in paint points (20-10) and second-chance points (10-0).

After a brief hint that Cal would attempt a comeback in the first half’s final minutes, the Bears finally started to put together in the second. They annoyed Seattle with full-court, trapping pressure and started allowing only one-shot possessions.

Austin’s layup with 12:44 remaining capped an 11-2 run and gave Cal a 48-47 lead, its first since it was 2-0. But, as soon as the Bears had seemingly made it a game, they went right back to bad habits.

Carter grabbed an offensive rebound and converted the ensuing three-point play to put the Redhawks back on top with 12:20 remaining, and Cal connected on just one field goal during the next 11 minutes as Seattle pulled away.

Rusty Simmons is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: Twitter: @Rusty_SFChron

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