Even without the Pac-12’s leading rebounder, the Cal Golden Bears were too much for the Utah Valley Wolverines to handle in the opening round of the National Invitation Tournament at Haas Pavilion Wednesday night.
Richard Solomon was out with a concussion, but the Golden Bears (20-13) played successfully with a four-guard lineup. After leading by nine at halftime, Cal pulled away to lead by as much as 18 points in the second half.
Utah Valley (20-12) was making just its second postseason appearance after winning the Western Athletic Conference regular-season title. The Wolverines played in the CIT in 2012.
The Bears advance to face No. 3 seed Arkansas Monday night in the second round, also at Haas Pavilion. The time has yet to be determined, but the Golden Bears beat the Razorbacks in the Maui Invitational 85-77 on Nov. 25. Arkansas advanced by beating Indiana State 91-71 on Tuesday.
David Kravish had 14 points, nine rebounds and five blocked shots for the Golden Bears. Justin Cobbs added 13 points and seven assists, Jordan Mathews also scored 13 points, Jabari Bird tossed in 11 and Jeff Powers had 10.
Utah Valley was 25-for-61 (41 percent) overall, 6-for-18 (33.3 percent) from deep and 8-for-13 (61.5 percent) from the foul line. Cal was 32-for-61 (52.5 percent), 7-for-17 (41.2 percent) and 6-for-10 (60 percent).
The Golden Bears had a 37-32 rebounding advantage and the teams combined for just 13 turnovers, seven by Cal.