Cal Basketball Coach Cuonzo Martin Talks Seattle Win, Kameron Rooks, Tyrone Wallace and Jaylen Brown's Maturation

BERKELEY -- Cuonzo Martin talks narrow win over Seattle, turnover issues, Jaylen Brown's maturity and more ...

Select California Head Coach Cuonzo Martin Quotes:

“Good hard-fought win. Just one of those games we just try to say get the residue off you after two tough losses, two draining and physical losses. To be at home and find a way to win against a team that ran a 2-3 zone and had big size around the rim so you had to shoot your pull up or three balls. I thought Tyrone [Wallace] stepped up and led us late in the game making plays and getting to the free-throw line and facilitating the offense. I thought Kam (Kameron Rooks) did an exceptional job really being big and playing defense without fouling, keeping his hands high, keeping balls alive, rebounding the basketball. I thought he and Ivan (Rabb) did a really good job playing together. So it was good to see.”

On starting Kameron Rooks: “I feel like going into the season before we started—leaving Australia—I thought Kingsley [Okoroh] would be the guy at that position, but he was down for three and a half weeks and it slowed him up. Now he’s just starting to get in form. I thought going into the season it would be Kam from practice. But what happens when you play a lot of smaller teams is it’s so tough to get those guys into a flow, and we just got to a point we had to play them. If you have 500 pounds sitting on the bench, you have to play those guys. It’s just one of those deals that they’ve got to be able to play together and be aggressive, because they’re big.”

Is the bigger lineup permanent? “I don’t know if it’s permanent, but I like the way Kam is playing for the last month and a half. He’s earned it. So it’s not a case where it was just ‘let’s try something different’ or what happened in Las Vegas. That’s not the case. I’ve never been a guy to change his lineup like that. So this was an easy decision for me. It was hard taking Jabari (Bird) out of the lineup, but easy as far as putting Kam in.”

On if change to lineup (Rooks for Jabari Bird) was for defense: “Yes, defense and just a toughness around the rim. Sometimes I think it takes a physical toll on Ivan (Rabb) to bang and do all those things. And so now Ivan doesn’t have to be that guy the whole time, and it’ll keep him out of foul trouble as well. So he can guard a guy similar to him from a physical standpoint. He’ll still have to guard bigger guys, that’s just part of it, but I think it just helps us as a team having the presence around the rim.”

Notes Cal is now 5-0 at Haas Pavilion this season. The Bears are now 6-2 all-time against the Redhawks. Tuesday's game was the first between the two teams since a 79-43 Cal win in 1984.

At the 9:30 mark, Seattle led, 44-41. Cal went on a 12-0 run that lasted over five minutes before the Redhawks snapped their scoring drought on a goaltending call. The Bears extended the run to 17-4, taking control of the contest.

Wallace increased his streak of hitting double figures to 21 straight games, after finishing the game with 17 points, pacing all players tonight. Wallace moved up to No. 18 on the Cal all-time career scoring list, now with 1,325 points, surpassing Golden State Warriors staffer Theo Robertson’s (2006-10) 1,315 points. Wallace also notched 11 rebounds, a season best and four shy of his career high. He also dished out eight assists, including six in the first half.

Trailing, 21-18, with 4:37 left in the first half, Bird -- who started 0-for-3 from beyond the arc -- swished three treys in the final four minutes, along with a bucket at the buzzer to help propel the Bears to a 32-23 halftime lead. He entered the game having made just five three-pointers in the previous six games this season.

Jordan Mathews started 1-for-6 on the game, but extended his streak of making at least one three-pointer to 14 games in a row, including the final seven games of last season. He’s also made at least one basket from behind the arc in 28 of his past 29 games.

Cal boasted a season-best 10 blocks with Rooks and Wallace contributing three each, and two from Bird. The three blocks were a career best for Rooks and a season-best for Wallace.

The 23 points Cal allowed in the first half were the fewest points the Bears have allowed in a half this season. Cal held Seattle to just two points through the first four minutes. Later in the half, the Bears held the Redhawks to a scoring drought of over four minutes.

Rooks made his first career start, marking the first time this season that Cal changed its starting lineup. Rooks also totaled a career-high six rebounds, and scored four points. Top Stories