Jorge Gutierrez and the Cal defense made sure a large contingent of fans sitting in the southwest corner of Haas Pavilion had a miserable time Friday night.
The Golden Bears breezed to a 77-57 victory over Weber State as Gutierrez put the clamps on Oakland native Damian Lillard, the nation's leading scorer.
With dozens of hometown fans in the building, Lillard scored a season-low 14 points and shot 1 for 10 in the first half. He finished 4 for 17.
Gutierrez, who also scored a game-high 24 points, said it was just another day at the office.
"We love as a team to play against the best. Of course, it was a challenge," he said. "I'm not more excited than any other game."
Lillard entered the game averaging 26.9 points, having scored 41 in a win over San Jose State and 36 in a loss at Saint Mary's.
"Jorge did a good job, as you would expect him to do," Cal coach Mike Montgomery said. "Jorge takes it personally, takes a lot of pride in defense.
"Lillard's a real good player. But he needs a little space to get off his shot, and Jorge is not going to give you any space."
The Golden Bears (9-2) also got 16 points and six rebounds from Allen Crabbe and 11 points apiece from forwards Harper Kamp and Richard Solomon, who returned to the starting lineup after serving a two-game suspension and coming off the bench in Cal's most recent game.
Cal shot just 39 percent in the first half, then made 66.7 percent the rest of
The Bears' defense never took a moment off. Weber made just two of its first 22 shots and finished the first half at 17.1 percent. With 3 minutes left, the Wildcats (6-3) had made just 5 of 30 shots from inside the 3-point arc.
Cal asked Gutierrez to stay in front of Lillard, a 6-foot-2 junior from Oakland High, and hedged its big men toward him when he came off high screens.
Kamp said Gutierrez understands the key to slowing down a good scorer is simply to make him a bit uncomfortable. "Jorge always steps up to the plate. He really gives us a boost defensively," Kamp said.
Guard Scott Bamford led the Wildcats with 19 points.
Cal led 32-18 after a first half in which Weber made just 2 of 14 shots from 3-point range. The Wildcats then hit six 3-pointers in the opening 6 minutes of the second half to pull within 44-36.
They got no closer, mostly because when their 3-pointers stopped dropping they had no answer. Weber finished 12 for 31 from beyond the arc.
The Bears gradually rebuilt the lead, and Gutierrez was in the middle of most of it. He scored 16 second-half points, no doubt catching the eye of NBA scouts who came to see Lillard.
In a span of five minutes, Gutierrez scored 12 points, including two 3-pointers and a deft dribble-drive through the heart of Weber's zone defense. The latter gave Cal a 66-42 lead with 5:01 left.