Anderson, Christopher lead Cal past Nicholls State 74-62
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP)—Ryan Anderson’s vision is just fine now.
Anderson matched his career high with 27 points and also grabbed eight rebounds, leading California past Nicholls State 74-62 on Monday night after he missed part of the Golden Bears’ season opener because of blurred vision.
Patrick Christopher also tied his career high with 24 points and had eight rebounds as Cal (2-0) won for the 15th time in its last 15 home games against non-conference opponents.
Anderson and Christopher each scored four points as the Bears opened the second half on a 10-3 run, a stretch that also featured DeVon Hardin’s 100th block. He is in fourth place on the school’s career list and became one of only four players at Cal to reach the mark.
He leads all Pac-10 players in the category, too.
Ryan Bathie, one of five players on Nicholls State from Australia, scored 17 points and hit five 3-pointers. The Colonels are making a West Coast swing that also features stops at UC Davis on Wednesday and Saturday at Saint Mary’s in nearby Moraga, where the Gaels have four Aussies on the roster and former Nicholls State assistant coach David Patrick on staff.
Hardin, the 6-foot-11, 250-pound center who’s expected to be a first-round NBA draft pick, scored only three points—all on free throws—but equaled his career best with 14 rebounds. He had 18 points, 14 boards and four blocks against Southern Miss last week in his first game back after missing most of last season with a stress fracture in his foot.
Anderson, Cal’s leading scorer and rebounder last season as a freshman, shot 9-for-16 and made 7 of 11 free throws after missing time in the second half of the opener with the eye problem. Bathie’s 3 with 6:18 to play cut Cal’s lead to 60-51, then Anderson scored moments later.
The Colonels (1-3) tried to contain Hardin by putting a body on either side of him whenever possible in the paint—and Hardin’s touches were limited. He didn’t even attempt a field goal until a miss with 8:46 left. Hardin dished out an assist to Anderson midway through the second half.
Cal committed nine of its 14 first-half turnovers in the initial 11 minutes, but took better care of the ball in the second half. After Harper Kamp’s basket at the 11:20 mark of the first half put Cal ahead 20-10, the Bears scored their final 14 points at the free-throw line on the way to a 34-25 lead at the break.
Cal played without forward Eric Vierneisel because of a sprained right ankle, leaving the team with six scholarship players because the Bears are hoping to redshirt 7-foot-2 Chinese center Max Zhang.
With Vierneisel sidelined, second-year walk-on David Liss earned his first start after appearing in 12 games as a freshman. Liss threw a pretty pass on Christopher’s alleyoop early in the first half and finished with eight points and four assists.
Nicholls State, from Thibodaux, La., missed its first seven shots and often struggled against the shot clock to create opportunities because of Cal’s stingy defense. The Bears bolted to a 12-0 lead in the opening 5 minutes.