Raab sits but Cal handles South Dakota State 82-53
BERKELEY, California (AP) With preseason All-American power forward Ivan Raab nursing a lingering toe injury that kept him on the bench and in street clothes, California got a big lift from its defense during a big run in the second half.
Just how coach Cuonzo Martin prefers it.
Jabari Bird and Sam Singer scored 14 points apiece and California beat South Dakota State 82-53 on Friday night in the season opener for both teams.
''I thought we defended very well,'' Martin said. ''Our guys in the second half did of great job of forcing them to make plays, and our weakside defenders did a tremendous job of making the next rotation, forcing them to make the next play, the next dribble.''
The Golden Bears hardly seemed to miss Raab, who has yet to be cleared for contact after injuring his toe two weeks ago.
California built a 16-point lead in the first half and pulled away with a 30-3 run early in the second half to extend its home winning streak to 19 games – the second-longest streak in team history.
Grant Mullins added 13 points and seven rebounds while Roger Moute a Bidias added a career-high 12 points, six rebounds and five assists.
''I think all of it was defense,'' Mullins said. ''If (Kingsley Okoroh) gets a block or Roger gets a good rebound and we can get out and, it just adds a flow to the game.''
The Bears had little problem against the smaller and outmatched Jackrabbits, who kept things close in the first half before falling apart in the second half of coach T.J. Otzelberger's debut.
Cal, which finished 23-11 in 2015, outrebounded South Dakota State 54-26 and had 10 blocks, matching its season high of a year ago and one shy of the school record.
Reed Tellinghuisen had 14 points and five rebounds but shot just 5 of 13 for South Dakota State. Mike Daum also scored 14 for the Jackrabbits.
''We're still trying to find our rhythm offensively,'' Otzelberger said. ''We struggled at the start of the game and then that portion of the second half. We know what we have to work on. Now we just need to get to work.''
South Dakota State: The Jackrabbits showed good poise after the rocky start and kept the game somewhat close in the first half before things got out of hand after the break. Those are part of the growing pains Otzelberger's young team figures to go through early in the season. Daum, who set the school's freshman scoring record a year ago, was hindered by foul trouble much of the might and shot just 5 of 14.
California: The Bears had the Jackrabbits on the ropes early but let them off the hook with sloppy defense that allowed too many easy layups in the first half. Martin's squad also lost its cool early in the second half when Okoroh was hit with a technical foul. Both are issues that have to be cleaned up. Raab's absence was noticeable, particularly from the perimeter where the Bears were sporadic much of the night. The feeling at Cal is that Raab's injury isn't too serious and he is expected to be back in the lineup soon.
South Dakota State: The Jackrabbits will continue their swing through the West Coast when they play at UC Irvine in the first round of the Sanford Pentagon Showcase on Monday night. It will be the first-ever meeting between the two teams.
California: The Bears stay at home and will get a chance to extend their streak at Haas Pavilion to 20 games when they host UC Irvine on Wednesday. Cal has won four of the six games against the Anteaters.