Cal squanders double-digit leads, falls to Boston College

Photo of Steve Kroner

Head coach Mark Fox inherited a Cal program that won a mere eight games in each of the previous two seasons.

In his first season, Fox has guided the Bears to six victories in 12 games.

Not bad, but after Cal owned a double-digit lead over Boston College in the first half and another double-digit lead in the second half but still fell 64-60 in the Al Attles Classic at Chase Center on Saturday afternoon, Fox was in no mood to take solace in a close loss.

In fact, he said the loss doesn’t bode well for holiday festivities with his wife, Cindy, and their children, Parker and Olivia.

“I’ll be honest with you: My family’s Christmas is probably ruined unless I leave the house,” Fox said. “I know (the Bears) are going to have to go through the fire and I know we have some limitations and I know we have a lot to learn. …

“But that doesn’t mean I have to be happy about what happened — because I’m not.”

For much of the game, it appeared Fox and his family would have a very merry Christmas. The Bears ran off 15 straight points early in the first half and enjoyed their biggest lead at 25-12 after Paris Austin hit two foul shots with 7:15 left before intermission.

They didn’t hit another field goal for the rest of the half, which ended with the Bears in front only 29-26.

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Cal head coach Mark Fox talks about his team’s loss to Boston College. Next to him is guard Matt Bradley. Video: San Francisco Chronicle

Fox said an “offensive burp” cost the Bears in the opening half and then a “defensive burp” hurt them in the second half. They led 50-39 before Boston College went on a 17-2 run to go up 56-52.

Matt Bradley’s drive with just less than two minutes remaining tied it 58-58.

Jairus Hamilton, who had a team-high 18 points, nailed a 3 on the ensuing possession, and the Eagles (8-5) were in front to stay.

It was 63-60 in the final 20 seconds. Kareem South had a good look at what would have been a tying 3, but it was off the mark. Jay Heath hit a foul shot with four seconds to go to ice things.

Bradley poured in a game-high 21 points and pulled down a game-high-tying nine rebounds, but he still thought he let down his teammates.

“There are a lot of errors I made,” Bradley said. “I feel like I could have done a way better job. I scored a lot of points, but it wasn’t enough.”

Fox said Bradley was “frustrated because he didn’t play as well as he wanted to play, but that frustration will allow him to continue to grow and lead our team.”

“I’m proud of Matt.”

You get the sense Fox is proud of most of his players, even though they’ve lost six of their past eight games.

“They’ve made some progress, and I think they’re on track,” Fox said, “but that doesn’t (mean) I have to accept where we’re at on that path right now.

“I want it to always be better.”

Steve Kroner is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer.