A shake-up in the lineup produced California’s most balanced offensive effort of the season and its highest scoring output in more than two years.
It also helped coach Mike Montgomery reach a personal milestone while tying a mark set previously by one of the greatest names in the history of the game.
Maybe now the Golden Bears can get back on track.
David Kravish had 16 points and eight rebounds, one of six Cal players in double figures, and the Bears beat Nevada, 92-84, on Tuesday night.
“That’s the depth of this team,” said Cal point guard Justin Cobbs, who added 15 points and eight assists. “We have lot of guys that can put the ball in the hole. That makes us so much more dangerous.”
Four days after shooting a season-low 36 percent in a seven-point loss to UC Santa Barbara, the Bears bounced back with their highest point total since scoring 105 against Arizona on Feb. 5, 2011.
Cal’s offense has gone up and down in the two years since, before breaking out against Nevada.
Freshman Jordan Mathews added 13 points in his first start of the season for the Bears while helping Montgomery tie legendary coach John Wooden for career victories (664).
“The number of wins doesn’t mean much to anybody but when they say that’s John Wooden, all of a sudden everybody perks up,” Montgomery said. “I have a little work to do. I’m 10 national championships short (of Wooden). There’s nothing to compare other than the fact that I’ve got the same number of wins. That’s the only comparison there is.”
Cobbs also had eight assists for the Bears (7-3) and Jabari Bird added 16 points. It was the first meeting between the two schools since 2008.
Deonte Burton had 26 points, seven rebounds and five assists for Nevada (4-6), who defeated UC Davis, 87-81, in overtime on Saturday at The Pavilion.
“Both teams shot the ball very well (Tuesday),” said Wolfpack coach David Carter. “But they got more stops than we did. I thought we competed well but not on the defensive end.”
Montgomery juggled his lineup after the 72-65 loss to Santa Barbara, saying he wanted to shake things up.
Mathews had 11 points in the first half to help Cal overcome a sluggish start while usual starters Bird and Tyrone Wallace combined for 30 points off the bench.
“We want to keep guys motivated,” Montgomery said. “We don’t want guys to get stale (or) take things for granted. There was no real rhyme or reason to it.”
The Bears needed it to hold off a pesky Wolfpack team sparked by another stellar effort from Burton. The Nevada senior, who has never missed a start in three-plus years at the school, was 9-for-18 from the floor and finished five points shy of his career high.
Wallace and Richard Solomon scored 14 points apiece for the Bears.
No. 19 Florida 67, No. 13 Kansas 61: at Gainesville, Fla., Scottie Wilbekin scored a career-high 18 points, Dorian Finney-Smith added 15 and Florida held on to beat Kansas.
The Gators bounced back from a buzzer-beater loss at No. 9 Connecticut last week and extended their home-winning streak to 21 games. The latest victory came in the Big 12-SEC Challenge and surely will be meaningful when the NCAA tournament seeds are settled in March.
Wilbekin, who injured his right ankle against the Huskies eight days ago, made 7-of-12 shots and added six assists.
Freshman Andrew Wiggins led the Jayhawks (6-3) with 26 points and 11 rebounds — his first double-double and both career highs. Kansas has lost two straight.
The Gators (7-2) went on a 21-0 run and led by as many as 18 points in the first half, but Kansas made it 60-55 on Wiggins’ 3-pointer with 55.8 seconds remaining. It was his second trey in the final 1:20.
Florida closed it out from the free-throw line — barely.
The Jayhawks fouled center Patric Young down the stretch, and the big man missed all of his free throws. It got even more dicey for the Gators when Casey Prather, one of Florida’s top free-throw shooters, missed two with 22 seconds remaining.
Jamari Traylor hit two on the other end, cutting Florida’s lead to 65-61 with 10.9 seconds left. Florida freshman Kasey Hill ended any chance of a comeback by draining two free throws.
Aside from Wiggins, who made 7-of-15 shots, Kansas had no one else score in double figures.
The biggest issue for the Jayhawks was 24 turnovers, 16 in the first half.
Many of those came in the decisive early run.
Florida used the 21-0 run to turn a seven-point deficit into a double-digit lead. The Gators, who missed six of their first seven shots in the game, got hot from the field. Hill, returning to the rotation after missing the last four games with a high-ankle sprain, got the spurt going with a driving layup.
Wilbekin, who also played despite spraining an ankle in last week’s loss at Connecticut, had a 3-pointer, a floater in the lane and a driving bank shot in the huge run.
Finney-Smith and Young came up big, too.
Finney-Smith, the former Virginia Tech starter who is finding his niche in Gainesville, hit two 3-pointers. And Young was a beast in the paint and on the boards.
Young’s three-point play gave Florida a 32-14 lead with 4:14 remaining in the first half.
But for everything the Gators did on the offensive end of the court, they were even better on defense.
Coach Billy Donovan had his team playing a 1-3-1 zone for much of the game, with big men on the wings and the team’s best defender (Wilbekin) on top. It forced poor shots and more turnovers in 20 minutes than the Jayhawks had made in any game this season.
Kansas opened the second half with its 17th turnover — hardly what coach Bill Self wanted coming out of the locker room.
But the Jayhawks finally settled down and got back in the game.
No. 11 Kentucky 70, Boise State 55: at Lexington, Ky., James Young scored 17 of his 21 points in the first half and Kentucky used solid defense to hand Boise State its first loss.
Outrebounded by 15 in losing to No. 14 Baylor last Friday, the Wildcats (8-2) bounced back by dominating the Broncos (8-1) 43-27 on the glass. Kentucky held the nation’s No. 2 offense 37 points below its average, limiting Boise State to 8-of-35 shooting in the second half and 22-of-69 overall (32 percent).
Kentucky 7-footer Willie Cauley-Stein had a lot to do with that, matching his career high with nine blocks.
Julius Randle had 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Wildcats, while guards Aaron and Andrew Harrison each scored 13 points and combined for seven rebounds.
Kentucky’s 27-of-51 shooting (53 percent) helped deny Boise State its first 9-0 start.
Anthony Drmic scored 18 points and Derrick Marks had 14 as the Broncos made just five 3-pointers after averaging 8.2 per game coming in.
Miffed at being beaten on the glass for the first time this season and wilting in the final 13 minutes against Baylor, the Wildcats got back on track by displaying more aggression and energy, just what they needed with another test looming on Saturday at No. 18 North Carolina.
Kentucky certainly needed to be locked in better mentally against the Broncos and particularly without freshman forward Marcus Lee, who was sidelined by a stomach illness. Cauley-Stein was up to the challenge from the start, blocking five shots in the first half while debuting a new blonde hairdo.
His inside presence was certainly needed considering all the offensive threats the Broncos of the Mountain West Conference posed. Boise State returned its entire starting lineup from last year’s NCAA tournament squad and entered with four of them averaging in double figures.
And with leading scorer Drmic back in the lineup after missing the previous game with an undisclosed illness, the Broncos did everything they could to follow up last week’s 28-point rout of Carroll College.
The Broncos’ junior guard/forward seemed like his old self by challenging Kentucky inside and out in scoring 13 first-half points. He provided the energy that helped them take a 14-13 lead and stay within reach of Kentucky.
The Wildcats answered with improved intensity that helped them control the boards and the inside of the uptempo game. Young’s 4-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc en route to 17 points in the first half provided a necessary boost offensively as Kentucky made 17-of-31 from the field (55 percent).
More critical was Kentucky’s defense highlighted by Randle’s eight rebounds and Cauley-Stein’s shot blocking as the Wildcats held the Broncos to 41 percent shooting in building a 41-31 halftime lead.
No. 20 Gonzaga 80, West Virginia 76: at Morgantown, W. Va., Przemek Karnowski scored a season-high 19 points, Kevin Pangos added 18 and Gonzaga came from 10 points down to beat West Virginia.
Gary Bell Jr. added 15 points and Sam Dower scored 11 for Gonzaga (9-1), which won its fifth straight since a Nov. 25 loss to Dayton in the Maui Invitational.
Pangos had 11 points in the final 6 minutes as Gonzaga rallied from down 53-43, its only double-digit deficit this season.
The Bulldogs held West Virginia (6-4) to one field goal over a seven-minute stretch late in the game.
Eron Harris led the Mountaineers with 23 points while Juwan Staten added 17 and Terry Henderson 15.
Playing on an opponent’s court for the first time this season, Gonzaga matched its season low for points. The Bulldogs entered the game with the nation’s best field goal percentage at 54.9 but were held to 44.3 percent (27-of-61).
Karnowski grabbed 13 rebounds as Gonzaga held a 43-36 rebound advantage.
West Virginia led 64-56 after a 3-pointer by Terry Henderson with 8:23 left, but the Mountaineers fell flat and failed to seize on an opportunity to pad their resume and get its first win over a marquee opponent.
West Virginia also lost in the past two weeks to No. 4 Wisconsin and Missouri.
Pangos hit a 3-pointer with 4:09 left to give Gonzaga the lead for good, 68-66. It was the Bulldogs’ first lead of the second half.
Pangos made two more wide-open 3-pointers over the next two minutes and Bell made two free throws with 1:52 left to give Gonzaga its largest lead, 76-68.
After Pangos was called for a charge into Harris, Staten hit a basket with 51 seconds left to pull West Virginia within 76-74. But the Mountaineers didn’t score another field goal the rest of the game.