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California's Jorge Gutierrez grimaces while Utah's Kareem Storey guards during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012 in Berkeley, Calif. California beat Utah 81-45.(AP Photo/George Nikitin)

A matchup of the Pac-12 Conference's only unbeaten home team and its only winless road team didn't figure to be much of a game.

And it wasn't.

Cal routed Utah 81-45 on Saturday night, improving to 13-0 at Haas Pavilion to start a season for the first time since 1959-60.

The victory keeps the Bears (15-4, 5-1) in a tie for first place in the Pac-12 with Stanford heading into a Thursday showdown with Washington in Seattle.

The Huskies (10-6, 3-1) play rival Washington State on Sunday at home, where they are 9-1 this season and beat Cal by 32 points a year ago.

"They're physical, they pressure and they play fast," senior guard Jorge Gutierrez said. "We're excited for the challenge, but we know it's going to be tough."

The Bears used a 20-3 first-half run to assume a 32-15 halftime lead, then made their first five shots of the second half to extend the margin to 21 points.

Utah (4-13, 1-4) dropped to 0-6 on the road. In their first season under coach Larry Krystkowiak -- who played for Cal coach Mike Montgomery at Montana in the mid-1980s -- the Utes had lost their first four road games by an average of 30 points.

They were competitive Thursday in a 68-65 loss at Stanford but could not keep up with the Bears after the first few minutes.

Cal's defense held Utah to 34.7 percent shooting and forced 18 turnovers. The Utes never got closer than 20 points after the first 4 minutes of the second half.

Montgomery pointed to the play of point guard Justin Cobbs, who had 14 points, a career-high 11 assists and effectively defended Utah's top scorer, Josh "Jiggy" Watkins.

"Justin was very good," Montgomery said. "I thought he did a very good job defensively on Watkins. That took the wind out of their sails."

Two nights after shooting 2 for 17 in the win over Colorado, Gutierrez made 7 of 9 attempts and scored a team-high 15 points to go with six assists. "I was a little frustrated last game," he acknowledged. "I was just being patient tonight."

Senior forward Harper Kamp continued his offensive renaissance by scoring 14 points for the second straight game, and Allen Crabbe added 10.

With Brandon Smith sidelined a third straight game by a concussion, sophomore guard Emerson Murray got 14 minutes off the bench and made 4 of 5 shots to score a career-high 10 points, adding five rebounds and two assists.

Montgomery said Smith is "real, real close" to being ready to play.

Murray seemed more excited for redshirt freshman Alex Rossi, who made his long-awaited Cal debut after missing the first season-and-a-half of his career because of a lingering lower-abdominal issue. Rossi entered the game with 4:04 left, then made his first shot with 2:44 left.

"When Alex came in and hit that shot, that made everything feel good," Rossi said.

"I can't even tell you how happy I am for him," Gutierrez added.