Playing without two starters Monday night in the Pete Newell Classic, the Cal basketball team gave a performance the old coach would have loved. The Golden Bears did almost everything right to dismantle UC Santa Barbara 70-50 at Haas Pavilion.
Senior guard Jorge Gutierrez (food poisoning) and sophomore forward Richard Solomon (stress fracture) both missed the game, but Cal (10-2) hardly skipped a beat.
"It shows we have other weapons on the team," said sophomore Allen Crabbe, who scored 19 points. "Once we realized Jorge wasn't going to be here everyone got it in their heads we were all going to have to step up. And that's what we did."
Sophomore guard Justin Cobbs scored a career-high 25 points and the Bears led by as many as 24 points against the Gauchos (5-4). Cal closes it non-conference schedule Friday at No. 21 Nevada-Las Vegas -- a team that went to double overtime before beating Santa Barbara on Nov. 30.
Gutierrez, starting forward Harper Kamp and backup center Robert Thurman all were sick Sunday night. Kamp played anyway, contributing eight points and five rebounds in 33 minutes.
"This is just evidence of what a team can do if they're all on the same page," coach Mike Montgomery said. "Nobody was trying to force anything, nobody was trying to be a hero and we played really good defense."
Solomon will miss the UNLV game because of his left foot injury, but the Bears hope he can return in time for their Pac-12 opener
Cobbs, in addition to shooting 10 for 12 from the floor, helped shut down UCSB Orlando Johnson, who entered the game as the nation's No. 4 scorer. Johnson shot 4 for 12 and scored just nine points, well off his 22.4 average.
Cobbs said he tried to borrow a page from Gutierrez, the team's top defender.
"I wanted to just take away his space and make him take tough shots," Cobbs said.
"Justin took a challenge and it was good to see," Montgomery said.
Brandon Smith moved into the starting lineup for Gutierrez and contributed eight points and seven assists in what Montgomery called his best game. Freshman forward David Kravish, replacing Solomon, had seven points, nine rebounds, three steals and two blocks, one of them on a shot by 7-foot-3 Greg Somogyi.
The Bears held leads of 14-2, 19-5, 29-13 and 37-19 in the first half. They made their first six 3-point shots and were 11 for 20 for the night.