California drops UC Irvine 73-56

MICHAEL WAGAMAN (Associated Press)

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) -- David Kravish had 19 points and 10 rebounds, Jabari Bird added 14 points and California beat UC Irvine 73-56 on Monday night.

Kravish went 9 of 15 from the floor, most of them on mid-range jumpers. That helped offset the presence of Irvine's 7-foot-6 center Mamadou Ndiaye, the nation's tallest player, who spent most of the game in foul trouble.

Richard Solomon added 13 points for the Golden Bears (6-2) in his first game since suffering an eye injury in the Maui Invitational. Solomon was paired against Ndiaye most of the night and out-rebounded his much taller counterpart 8-5.

Chris McNealy scored 13 points for Irvine while Luke Nelson had 12. The Anteaters (5-4) lost for only the second time in seven games.

Cal snapped a two-game losing streak despite a slow night from leading scorer Justin Cobbs. Cobbs had nine assists but scored just three points on 1-of-4 shooting.

Nearly a dozen NBA scouts, along with Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers, were on hand to see Ndiaye.

They didn't get to see much of him.

Ndiaye played sparingly in the first half after picking up two early fouls in an 18-second span. He started the second half and scored on a pair of dunks before fouling out with more than seven minutes left.

Kravish took advantage. He scored 10 of Cal's first 12 points in the second half and added a dunk of his own to push the Bears' lead to 57-40.

Bird, the Bears' highly touted freshman, also had an emphatic dunk when he split a pair of Irvine defenders at the top of the key then drove the lane, just moments before Kravish's.

It was a good bounce-back win for Cal after it lost to No. 7 Syracuse and Dayton in the Maui Invitational.

The victory also moved Bears coach Mike Montgomery one step closer to tying John Wooden for 27th list for career coaching wins list. Montgomery has 663.

Most of the attention was on Ndiaye, who went into the game with 29 blocked shots.

He missed his first shot then picked up two fouls in a span of 18 seconds before heading to the bench for the final 16 minutes of the first half.

Irvine could have used Ndiaye's towering presence inside. The Anteaters shot just 21 percent from the floor and had only two assists before halftime.

With Ndiaye out, Cal controlled the boards and the tempo. The Bears got seven points apiece from Jabari Bird and Richard Solomon to take a 35-19 lead into halftime.

It wasn't much different in the second half.

Ndiaye blocked a layup attempt by Bird and scored on a dunk to pull Irvine within 43-29 but went to the bench after picking up his fourth foul. He checked back in briefly before fouling out with 7:29 remaining.

The Bears led comfortably throughout the second half, allowing Montgomery to empty his bench.

What to Read Next