Martin wins in Cal debut, 91-57 over Alcorn State
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) Tyrone Wallace scored 17 of his career-high 22 points in the first half, Cuonzo Martin won his debut as California’s coach and the Golden Bears beat Alcorn State 91-57 in an opening round game of the 2K Classic on Friday night.
Jordan Mathews scored 18 points, David Kravish added 13 points and eight rebounds and Jabari Bird had 12 points and nine assists to help Cal win its ninth consecutive season-opener.
Playing before a half-filled Haas Pavilion crowd, the Bears opened the game with a 15-0 run and took advantage of the slow start by Alcorn State while dominating in the paint and on the perimeter.
The Braves missed their first six shots, and were hit with an early technical foul for not having a player registered in the official scorer’s book.
Cal finished 21-14 last season but lost leading scorer Justin Cobbs and top rebounder Richard Solomon to graduation. Coach Mike Montgomery also stepped down after six seasons with the Bears.
Martin, the former Tennessee coach who took the Vols to the Sweet 16 in 2013, took over in the offseason and installed a new offense that plays to the strengths of his three returning starters – Wallace, Kravish and Bird. The trio combined for 34 points to help Cal build a 50-32 halftime lead.
Alcorn State couldn’t keep up.
The Braves, 12-19 a year ago and coming off their best record since 2003, shot 31.6 percent from the floor, committed 10 turnovers and were outrebounded 44-34.
LeAntwan Luckett, the Southwestern Athletic Conference preseason player of the year who averaged 15.8 points a game in 2013, had 18 points.
Alcorn State: Coach Luther Riley’s club plays eight of its first nine games on the road and has two games in El Paso, Texas, as part of the Sun Bowl Tournament.
California: Kravish has 182 career blocks and needs 26 blocks to break Cal’s career record. The 6-foot-10 senior set the school’s single-season mark in 2013 with 73. … Dwight Tarwater, a fifth-year senior transfer from Cornell, came off the bench to make back-to-back 3-pointers late in the first half. … Montgomery served as color analyst
Alcorn State visits Texas on Sunday.
California hosts Kennesaw State on Sunday.