Mathews’ big night shooting lifts California past
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) As the final seconds on the shot clock expired to force a Davidson turnover late in the first half, California coach Cuonzo Martin pumped his fist and let out a yell.
On a night his team was stellar shooting from the perimeter, Martin was just as impressed with his team's defense. And with the Pac-12 opener just a few days away, he's hoping it's something that it can build upon.
Jordan Mathews made five 3-pointers and scored 19 of his season-high 22 points in the first half to help California beat Davidson 86-60 Monday night in the final non-conference game for both teams.
''In the last three games we've showed signs of defending at the highest level, just maintaining and being consistent with it the whole game,'' Martin said. ''It's not an easy thing to do when you're not programmed to do it like that consistently but we're getting there. You have to see it first and I think our guys are seeing it and understanding it.''
Cal (10-3) made a season-high 12 3-pointers – its most since setting a school record with 16 against Arizona on March 5, 2009 – and balanced that by holding the nation's third-leading scorer, Jack Gibbs, well below his 26.6 average.
Gibbs, who has four games with 35 points or more this season and two with 40 or more, was limited to a season-low seven points against Cal's man-to-man defense. The 6-foot guard was held scoreless for the first 14 minutes and finished 3 of 10 from the field.
The Bears forced three shot-clock violations overall.
''Cal's defense was extraordinary,'' Davidson coach Bob McKillop said. ''At five positions they defended, and they defended well. They got us to make poor decisions and rush shots.''
Freshman Ivan Raab had 12 points and 11 rebounds – his fifth double-double – while Jaylen Brown added 17 points and seven assists for the Bears, who remained unbeaten in nine home games this season.
Peyton Aldridge scored 15 points with seven rebounds for Davidson (8-3). The Wildcats have lost two of three heading into their Atlantic 10 opener.
California began the season ranked No. 14 before tumbling out of the Top 25 following back-to-back losses in late November and was coming off a tough 63-62 overtime loss to No. 5 Virginia last week.
The Bears took out a lot of their frustrations on Davidson with one of their best shooting nights of the season.
Raab and Brown scored on back-to-back dunks midway through the first half to put Cal up by 17. Mathews later followed with consecutive 3s, helping the Bears take a 47-23 lead into halftime.
Davidson: Guard Jordan Barham left the game with a possible right knee injury with 6 1/2 minutes left in the first half. The team's fourth-leading scorer going into the night, Barham had eight points on 4-of-6 shooting in nine minutes. He spent the entire second half on the bench with his leg wrapped. . The Wildcats have made at least one 3-pointer in 680 consecutive games. . Davidson is 1-3 on the road.
California: The Bears have not allowed more than 67 points at home this season. . Cal's 47 points in the first half matched its season high. . The Bears forced two shot-clock violations over the final eight minutes in the first half. . This was just the second meeting between the two teams. Cal beat Davidson 95-87 on Jan. 2, 2000.
MATHEWS BIG NIGHT: Mathews, the Pac-12's leading 3-point shooter a year ago, made five from beyond the arc against Davidson and moved into 10th on Cal's career list for made 3s with 143. The five 3s were one shy of his career-high of six coming at UCLA on Jan. 11. ''It's a big win for us,'' Mathews said. ''This time last year we lost to Bakersfield going into conference play.''
NO CURRY TO BE FOUND: One of McKillop's former players, Stephen Curry, was not in attendance even though he lives less than 30 minutes away from the Cal campus. The reigning NBA MVP had a good excuse, however. Curry and the Golden State Warriors were hosting the Sacramento Kings at nearby Oracle Arena.
Davidson: At St. Bonaventure on Saturday.
California: Hosts Colorado on Friday.
- California Golden Bears
- Davidson Wildcats
- Jack Gibbs
- Jaylen Brown
- Jordan Barham
- Jordan Mathews
- Peyton Aldridge