BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — 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.
Riverside 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 Riverside pull away.
Martin finished with 12 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists.
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.
Riverside: It was the perfect start to the season and a nice litmus test for Dennis 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 them to get off to the fast start and not look back.
California: The Bears looked very much like a team whose program is starting over. The offense never found a consistent rhythm and committed 11 turnovers that led to 18 points. Marcus Lee, a transfer from Kentucky, scored eight points in his debut.
Riverside: Returns to Southern California to play at Loyola Marymount on Wednesday. The Highlanders play eight of their 14 non-conference games on the road.
California: Hosts Cal Poly at Haas Pavilion on Sunday afternoon before playing in the Maui Invitational beginning Nov. 16.