BY JEFF EVANS Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
BERKELEY -- California illustrated what it was like to feed off a frenzy of excitement at Haas Pavilion Sunday night.
Fueled by a boisterous crowd of 8,715 in their season opener, the Bears jumped out to a 30-9 lead at the 10-minute mark of the first half and coasted to a 78-65 win over Cal State Bakersfield.
Cal sank 12 of its first 16 shots to build the 21-point lead. CSUB coach Rod Barnes tried to slow the Bears down with two timeout calls, but the Bears weren't going to be denied this night.
But for Barnes, it was using this game to build toward the future.
"I'd much rather play a team like this and see where you are when you play a really good team than play someone else," said Barnes after his team fell to 0-2. "We wanted to upgrade the caliber of teams we're playing so we can get better. This game helps us get better."
The hot start was too big to overcome, Barnes said.
'To say we had a chance to win? We dug too big a hole. But we never stopped playing. Give them credit. They never stopped playing. ...
"This was their first game. They were all pumped up and had good guard play. We knew that going in. Almost every shot they took was pretty much going down."
Leading the way was 6-foot-6 junior guard Allen Crabbe, an All-Pac-12 first-team pick last season who had 20 of his game-high 27 points in the first half. The Pac-12 leader in 3-pointers last season, he was 4-for-4 on 3s in the first half.
CSUB senior guard Stephon Carter had the job of trying to defend Crabbe for most of the game. Carter had a solid game himself in leading the team with 15 points, eight rebounds and five steals.
"He's an NBA prospect so of course he's good," Carter said. "I thought I did a good job on him. Our team did a good job on him. He hit a lot of open shots."
Cal point guard Justin Cobbs was also effective, hitting 8-of-11 shots en route to 22 points.
"It wasn't just Crabbe," Carter said. "Cobbs also. That's a 1-2 punch who brought them together and rallied them up. If we would have stopped them in the first half, it would have been a whole different game."
Brandon Barnes, Rod Barnes' son, had 12 points and five rebounds for CSUB, joining Carter as the Roadrunners' only double-figure scorers.
"It is really exciting when you come into a building like this and come into this atmosphere," Barnes said. "If you can come in and knock off a program like this is great for our program."
CSUB ha 19 offensive rebounds and Cal had 18 turnovers, two facts that did not please Cal coach Mike Montgomery.
"We've got to shore that up," Montgomery said of the offensive boards. "Eighteen turnovers is obviously too many."
In describing CSUB, Montgomery said, "They have a lot of seniors. They had a winning program last season. I thought they'd come out and be physical.
"The first half we were efficient. We were moving the ball."
Bakersfield High graduate Tyrone Wallace, a freshman at Cal, had six points, five rebounds and three assists in 23 minutes. He hit 2-of-5 shots with one 3-pointer.
"He was probably a little nervous, but as time went on I thought he did a good job," Montgomery said. "He's a little tentative I think, not really sure what to do all the time and how things are going to work. But 23 minutes is a pretty good stretch for him."
Wallace added, "I was kind of nervous at the beginning. "But I felt comfortable and we won. I was excited. I knew all the guys on their team personally. I played with all of them back home. It was good to play against people I knew and have my family here for my first game."