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California's Harper Kamp reacts after making a basket against Austin Peay during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the CBE Classic, Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011 in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/George Nikitin)

Presumably, Cal will be greeted by stiffer challenges next week when the CBE Classic moves to the semifinal round in Kansas City, Mo.

The 23rd-ranked Bears concluded the preliminary-round portion of the tournament Tuesday night with a 72-55 win over Austin Peay after building a 40-13 halftime lead at Haas Pavilion.

Cal (3-0) plays Monday at the Sprint Center against Georgia in the semifinals. The Bears then will face either Notre Dame or Missouri the next night.

"We get to play some top teams, and we look forward to kind of showing the nation what we've got," point guard Brandon Smith said.

The Bears, who led by 25 points with less than three minutes left, just missed opening the season with three victories by at least 20 points for the first time since the 1952-53 season, when their opponents included the Cal alumni.

This one was over early, thanks to another strong defensive performance. None of the Bears' first three foes have shot 40 percent from the field.

The Governors (0-2) from the Ohio Valley Conference had four turnovers and just one basket in the first six minutes, and Cal jumped out to a 17-2 lead.

"We're getting better every game," senior forward Harper Kamp said of the club's defense. "We're kind of getting the idea that we have to play defense as a team and help each other out."


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Austin Peay, which won 20 games a season ago, shot 17.2 percent (5 for 29) in the first half.

"We've come out with some energy and been pretty good defensively," coach Mike Montgomery said. "In fairness, I think we've been a little bit better than our opponents, and our energy has allowed us to take them out."

Senior guard Jorge Gutierrez led the Bears with 14 points and six rebounds, and Kamp contributed 12 points and nine rebounds. Smith scored a season-high 11 points.

Cal had no trouble despite a quiet offensive night from sophomore wing Allen Crabbe, who had five points on 2-for-12 shooting after averaging 22.5 the first two games.

The Bears got another encouraging performance from freshman forward David Kravish, who had a career-high 12 points by making his first six shots from the field.

Gutierrez did his best early work at the defensive end, smothering the Governors' top scorer, senior guard TyShwan Edmondson. The OVC's second-leading scorer a year ago, Edmondson was scoreless in the first half and finished with four points on 2-for-10 shooting.

"Jorge was in him," Smith said. "I love when we're preparing for a game and see the other team's best player is a shooting guard. I know Jorge is going to be guarding that guy and he probably won't score."

The Bears led 56-29 at the midway point of the second half before they lost a bit of urgency and the Governors ran off nine straight points.

"It's human nature when you're up 27," Montgomery conceded. "We've got to get to where we can still get the same level of intensity coming off the bench."