BERKELEY, Calif. — David Kravish says it’s simply a matter of persistence when it comes to explaining California’s unbeaten start in the Pac-12 this season.
That might be simplifying things a little but it was certainly the case against Washington. The Golden Bears got off to a sluggish start but stuck to their plan and eventually overwhelmed the smaller, slower Huskies 82-56 on Wednesday night.
“We just came with the mentality that no matter what happened we were just going to keep doing our thing, we were just going to keep pushing at them,” said Kravish, who had 11 points and 11 rebounds to help Cal match its best start in conference since 2009. “It’s hard for other teams to deal with when no matter what they do, good or bad, we just keep coming at them. That’s what we did the whole game.”
It was a big night all around for Kravish. The junior had his fourth double-double of the season and added four blocked shots to move into second place on Cal’s career list.
He wasn’t the only Bear reaching a milestone.
Coach Mike Montgomery tied former Oregon State coach Slats Gill for the third-most wins in conference history following the Bears’ fifth straight win.
“Defensively we were very good,” Montgomery said. “Our big guys are causing some problems for people inside. We started out a little nervous … once we got it rolling, it was tough for Washington.”
Tyrone Wallace scored 14 points with eight rebounds to pace five California players in double figures. Justin Cobbs added 11 points and six assists.
The Bears (13-4, 4-0 Pac-12) trailed 8-2 early and had problems settling in against Washington’s packed-in zone defense before going on a 20-3 run to move in front for good.
Wallace sparked the run with a pair of long jumpers and a driving layup. Richard Solomon later dunked to make it 28-14 after the ball initially bounced off the back of teammate Christian Behrens.
It was that type of night for the Bears.
Cal led by 13 at halftime and pushed it to 47-26 following a four-point play by Jeff Powers, who was fouled after banking in a 3-pointer.
Powers and Wallace later added back-to-back 3s to help the Bears pull away.
“That was a great play by Jeff,” Solomon said. “I called bank for him if he didn’t call it.”
C.J. Wilcox scored 18 points for Washington (11-7, 3-2). The Huskies were coming off an emotional win over No. 21 Colorado on Sunday but struggled on both ends of the court and suffered their most lopsided loss of the season.
“We couldn’t really do anything right,” Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said. “We didn’t rebound, we didn’t shoot the ball well, we didn’t finish through. They chewed us up when we had the basketball.”
It didn’t start out that way.
Washington got off to a quick start behind a pair of quick buckets by Wilcox and led 8-2 with 15 minutes left in the first half before Cal’s big run.
The Huskies problems extended to both ends of the court. They went through a pair of long scoring droughts that lasted more than four minutes each and shot only 24.1 percent in the first half.
“Their size bothered us as much as anyone we have played in a long time,” Romar said. “These guys were on the offensive glass, they blocked shots (and) they really made it tough for us to score.”
Washington, which had allowed only six 3s in its first four conference games, allowed seven against Cal. Powers had three, Wallace added a pair and Jordan Mathews had one.
The game got chippy at the end when Cal reserve Sam Singer gave a hard foul on Washington’s Darin Johnson to stop a fast break. Johnson had to be restrained by teammates as Singer waved to the crowd while walking toward midcourt.
Solomon finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds while Power scored 12 for Cal.