UCR leads wire to wire, upsets Cal
BERKELEY — Alex Larsson scored a career-high 15 points and had 13 rebounds, Brandon Rosser added 13 points as UC Riverside built an early double-digit lead and beat California 74-66 on Friday night in the season-opener for both teams.
The Highlanders returned four starters from last year’s team that won only seven games and were picked to finish eighth in the Big West preseason poll this season but had no problem against the Golden Bears in California coach Wyking Jones’ debut.
“We’ve got a good team and we’ve got some good pieces,” UCR coach Dennis Cutts said. “They’re a confident group and they work hard. It was good to see them get rewarded.”
UCR opened the game with a 10-0 run and led by as many as 23 points in the first half while repeatedly breaking Cal’s trapping defense.
The Bears pulled within 62-53 with 4 1/2 minutes remaining before Dikymbe Martin made a short jumper and Dominick Pickett added a 3-pointer to help UCR pull away.
Martin finished with 12 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists.
“No one really counted us to have any part in this game,” Martin said. “Before this game I was watching Utah Valley against Kentucky and you’re like, ‘Anything’s possible.’ And it is.”
Donald Coleman had a career-high 32 points for California while Kingsley Okoroh – the Bears’ lone returning starter – had five points, 18 rebounds and a career-high seven blocks.
“That’s a tough one,” Jones said. “From the jump we have to do a better job of coming out and taking care of business and not sizing up our opponent.”
UCR: It was the perfect start to the season and a nice litmus test for Cutts’ team, which won despite having four players foul out. The Highlanders outhustled the Bears most of the night and controlled the paint, which allowed […]