BERKELEY -- Allen Crabbe and Justin Cobbs carried the offensive load in Cal's 78-65 season-opening basketball victory over Cal State Bakersfield in front of 8,715 fans at Haas Pavilion on Sunday night.
"I'm pretty sure me and Justin don't have a problem taking on that role," Crabbe said after scoring 27 points to go with 22 from backcourt mate Cobbs.
"I love playing with this man," Cobbs said. "We just feed off each other, try to get each other involved."
Coach Mike Montgomery trusts his two juniors, identified by UCLA coach Ben Howland as the best backcourt duo in the Pac-12.
But Montgomery is waiting to see how others fit into roles on a team that lost two valuable seniors in Jorge Gutierrez and Harper Kamp from a year ago.
"We're trying to play guys, find out if we have depth, find out who can do what," Montgomery said. "It's not all working right now."
The Bears return to action Tuesday at home against Pepperdine. Montgomery said he hopes to get a "cameo" appearance from sophomore guard Ricky Kreklow, who underwent foot surgery in early October and has been practicing.
Crabbe, a returning first-team All-Pac-12 selection, hit all four of his 3-point tries and scored 20 first-half points as the Bears raced to a 45-28 halftime lead over the Roadrunners (0-2).
He came down awkwardly on his left ankle with 1:27 left in the half, but played 15 minutes in the second half. "I guess I got tangled up with
Cobbs shot 8 for 11 from the floor and made all six of his free throws in what Montgomery called "an economical" performance.
"They're two proven players," he said of Crabbe and Cobbs. "If (opponents) take those two guys out, we've obviously got to find ways to get other people involved."
Forward Richard Solomon had eight points and nine rebounds and forward David Kravish also grabbed nine rebounds. But Solomon, who's 6-foot-10, didn't finish on several point-blank shots, and Kravish got just two shot attempts in 27 minutes.
Senior guard Brandon Smith, who bruised his left shoulder five nights earlier in an exhibition win over San Francisco State, started and contributed five points and five assists. Montgomery said the shoulder began to tighten up late, so Smith sat much of the second half.
Freshman guard Tyrone Wallace, facing his hometown school, had six points, five rebounds and three assists in 23 minutes off the bench.
Montgomery said Wallace was a little nervous and tentative at times. "As time went on, he did a good job," Montgomery said. "Tyrone's a smart player. I'm really encouraged with Ty."
The Bears played with better defensive intensity than they did in the exhibition but still have issues. They allowed 19 offensive rebounds, turned the ball over 18 times and missed eight free throws.
Cal did convert nearly 53 percent from the field, led by as many as 23 points and never let the visitors back in the game after a 21-3 run midway through the first half.
"It's always nice to win the first game because you're never sure you're going to win one," Montgomery said. "You laugh, but I've always felt that way."
The Bears improved to 5-0 in season openers under Montgomery.