It was Jewish Heritage Night at Haas Pavilion, and at times the basketball game looked like something you might see at the local Jewish Community Center.
In a very sloppy game, California routed UC Davis 86-61 before an announced crowd of 8,664. Cal’s 26th consecutive home win tied the school record and improved their season record to 8-2.
The game was dominated by turnovers. The two teams combined for 38 turnovers, with Davis contributing a total of 21. Cal scored 28 points off those Davis miscues. Cal’s total of 17 turnovers was their second most of the season.
“You can’t get loose with the basketball,” said Coach Cuonzo Martin. “You have to value it, because eventually you’ll pay for that.”
When they weren’t turning it over, the Bears shot well, making 57% of their shots (30 of 53) for the game, and just under 70% in the second half. After shooting poorly from the line in Hawaii, Cal was 16 for 20 on free throws (80%).
Davis made 44% of their shots for the night, and were a poor 9 of 18 from the foul line.
Freshman Charlie Moore led the way with 22 points on 7 of 9 shooting, but was bitten by the turnover bug, with five for the game. Grant Mullins came off the bench to score 17 points with 4 of 5 from outside the arc.
The Bears won easily despite getting very little from stars Ivan Rabb and (returning to action) Jabari Bird. Rabb fouled out with just six points and four rebounds in 25 minutes. Bird also did not contribute much, with one bucket in six shot attempts and five points.
Asked about the importance of winning without a big game from their stars, Mullins said, “Obviously, those guys are so talented, that when they’re off a little bit, or they’re being doubled, when other guys can step up that’s huge for us going forward.”
This one was pretty much over by halftime. The Aggies led briefly 4-3 with 17:12 left in the first half, but Bird put Cal ahead for good with a baseline drive and reverse layup. Bird was fouled on the play, and made the free throw to give the home team the lead that would last the gane.
Davis turned it over 16 times before the intermission, and Cal happily accepted the generosity, scoring 19 points off their miscues. The Aggies had a five-minute drought, during which the Bears’ lead ballooned to 18 points.
It wasn’t that Cal was playing especially well. The Bears had eight turnovers themselves, making for an extremely sloppy first 20 minutes.
After struggling in the Seton Hall game in Hawaii, Moore had a dynamic first half. The freshman from Chicago scored 12 points on 5 of 7 shooting, and added four steals. Moore capped off his outstanding first half by banking in a 45 foot runner to make it 39 -18 Bears.
The big surprise of the night was the contribution of walk-on Cole Welle. Coming on in the first half, Welle scored a career-high 10 points in 15 minutes on the floor. “It’s really not a surprise because he works so hard,” said Martin. “He came in at 180, now he’s 230 pounds. It’s a case of a guy works extremely hard and he carries out his assignment.”
Cal will have their typically uneven 'finals week' practice schedule with a couple of off days and some unusual game times. “If we can continue to stay healthy, now we can get practices under our belt,” said Martin.
The Bears next play Cal Poly on Saturday the 17th at 5:00 PM. They will try to set a new school record for consecutive home wins in this game.
- Sam Singer had a season high six assists.
- UC Davis is now 5-5.
- Each team had 28 rebounds.
- Martin emptied the bench with 2:26 remaining in the game.