Golden Bears Opens Season with Dominant Win Over Rice


The California Golden Bears entered the 2015-2016 season with high hopes, and on Friday night, they took care of business to start the season. Opening the year at home in Haas Pavilion, the 14th-ranked Bears dispatched the Rice Owls with rather ease, running away with a 97-65 victory to get out on the right foot.

Though a lot of the Bears’ national attention is due to the two extremely talented freshman, Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb, two returning players wasted no time in reminding everyone that they are still around. On the very first possession of the game, senior point guard Tyrone Wallace assisted on junior guard Jabari Bird‘s three-point shot.

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The Bears started a little slow, as they held a 14-11 lead over the Owls with 14:19 left to play in the first half. They turned it on high afterwards, as the Bears went on a 13-unanswered point run over the next five-plus minutes to open the lead, and entered the locker room with a 47-31 lead at the half. They kept the overwhelming attack up in the final half, outscoring the Owls 50-34.

Overall, the Bears shot 50.7 percent on the night, hitting 36 of their 71 attempts, and 43.5 percent from long-range, making 10 of 23 three-pointers. Cal was plus-18 on the glass, including plus-seven on the offensive boards.

In his college debut, Rabb bulled the Owls, as they didn’t have the size or physicality to stop the 18-year-old, 6’10” forward. The Oakland, California product nearly tallied a double-double in the first half, as he scored eight points and pulled down eight rebounds, including five off the offensive glass, before the break. Rabb completed his double-double in the second half, as his six points and five rebounds gave him 14 and 13 on the night, respectively. Just for good measure, he also had a pair of blocks, and a beautiful assist off the block to Wallace for a dunk.

Rabb’s fellow freshman Brown didn’t enjoy the same quick start that Rabb did. In the first half, the freshman forward had six points, but shot just 25 percent, making two of his eight attempts. He heated up a bit before the game ended, as he shot 3-of-7 in the final half to give him 14 points on the night.

Wallace proved he is still the star of the team with a great opening effort on Friday night. He scored 20 points, breaking the 20-point threshold for the 17th time in his college career. His eight assists matched a personal best, tying the eight he posted on January 24th, 2013 against the Utah Utes. He also pulled down six rebounds and notched a steal to fill out his stat sheet.

Bird totaled 11 points, but didn’t make any of his four three-point attempts after hitting the game-opening shot. Junior guard Jordan Mathews tallied 13 points, including hitting two of his five shots from downtown.

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Redshirt junior guard Stephen Domingo, who sat out the 2014-2015 season after transferring from Georgetown University, made his Cal debut on Friday, and showed his defensive prowess through the night. He scored five points, grabbed seven rebounds, three offensively, and notched one steal and one assist.

The season marches on for Cal on Monday, when they plays hosts the UC-Santa Barbara Gauchos at Haas pavilion.