Wallace helps California hold off pesky Seattle 66
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — California coach Cuonzo Martin believes his team will find a much better scoring balance as the season goes along.
For now, the young Golden Bears are content leaning on Tyrone Wallace — the team’s lone senior starter — when things get tight.
Wallace scored 14 of his 17 points in the second half and California shook off a sloppy start to beat Seattle 66-52 on Tuesday night.
Wallace nearly had a triple double after adding 11 rebounds and eight assists for California, which shot 40 percent from the field, including 6 of 21 from beyond the arc.
“He can make plays and he’s an aggressive scorer,” Martin said. “We’re a lot better when he gets the ball off the glass and pushes the transition because he can make the right decisions. He puts pressure on your defense.”
Trailing 44-41 with nine minutes left, Wallace started a 12-0 run with a thunderous dunk following a steal by Ivan Rabb and later added a pair of fast-break layups.
Jordan Mathews’ 3-point play extended Cal’s lead to 51-44 before Wallace added two more free throws and another layup.
“The game’s close, you have to deliver,” Wallace said. “I was just trying to go out there, be aggressive and help my team win.”
Jaylen Brown added 11 points and seven rebounds while Mathews had 12 points for the Golden Bears (5-2), who bounced back after falling out of the Top 25 following back-to-back losses to San Diego State and Richmond last week.
Brendan Westendorf led the Redhawks (2-4) with 13 points and seven assists. Manroop Clair added 11 points.
Both teams got off to sluggish starts in the first half.
California settled for mid-range jumpers early against the Redhawks’ 3-2 zone and missed 14 of its first 19 shots while Seattle opened the game just 5 of 17.
Jabari Bird got the Bears going with a trio of 3-pointers and a short jumper over the final 4:21 and Brown added two free throws to help Cal close the half on a 14-2 run.
The Bears offense went cold again coming out of the break, allowing the Redhawks to stay close.
BLOCKED UP: Cal center Kameron Rooks had four points, six rebounds and three blocked shots in his first college start. Rooks was in the lineup because Martin wanted his team have a more physical presence in the paint. Overall, the Bears blocked 10 shots while holding the Redhawks to 34.8 percent shooting.
“Sometimes it takes a physical toll on Ivan to be the banger and do all those things,” Martin said. “Now you have another guy where Ivan doesn’t have to be that guy the whole time.”
Seattle: This was the first of two games against teams from the Pac-12 for the Redhawks. They also play at Washington on Dec. 22. . Seattle’s 23 points in the first half was its second-fewest this season. The Redhawks were held to 19 by Eastern Washington on Nov. 23. . This was the eighth meeting between the two teams and first since Dec. 21, 1984 when the Redhawks were in the NAIA.
California: Brown missed five of his first six shots after scoring a season-high 27 points in the loss to Richmond. . Wallace moved into 18th place on Cal scoring list with 1,325 points. . The Bears had 12 assists after dishing out 13 total in their back-to-back losses.
Seattle: Hosts Cal State-Fullerton on Friday.
California: At Wyoming on Saturday.