Cal head coach Cuonzo Martin breaks down the Bears' defensive dominance over No. 21 Utah

California head coach Cuonzo Martin breaks down the Golden Bears' defensively stifling game against No. 21 Utah at Haas Pavilion on Sunday night.

California Golden Bears Head Coach Cuonzo Martin

“Great game. Both teams played really hard. It was probably a tough game to officiate because it was so physical. Both teams played really hard and tried to do the best job they could without fouling.”

On Utah's Jakob Poeltl

“Poeltl was even better than I thought live. Credit goes to their staff in his development. He’s tough to defend with his size, skill level and athleticism.”

On closing out the game

“Sometimes if you have a breakdown and a guy hits a three, guys put their heads down. We stayed with it and kept our composure. Good teams make plays. They are a really good team. They aren’t going to think the game is over until the buzzer sounds.”

On Jordan Mathews getting hot in the second half 

“Just keep it moving. It’s just a matter of making shots. They did a good job on him in the first half. Credit Mathews with staying within the game and playing both ends of the floor. Three weeks ago, if his shots weren’t falling or he wasn’t in the flow, he wouldn’t give it to you on the other end of the floor. He was very engaged tonight.”

On Ivan Rabb's performance

“That should be him. He has that skill. It’s not new to see that. When he gets to the point where he demands the ball every time down, it will be tough.”

On Mathew's development as an all-around player

“I’m really happy for Jordan. He’s probably the guy I’ve rode the hardest since I’ve been here as far as playing hard on defense. He’s really grown up as a basketball player. He’s a strong player and a good athlete. He was just so consumed with shooting balls, he didn’t’ understand the importance of defense. Now he wants to be the best player he can be. He’s a student of the game.”

Notebook

With Sunday's 71-58 California win, Cal improved to 11-0 at Haas Pavilion this season and 2-0 start Pac-12 play. The Golden Bears improved to 14-11 all-time against the Utes, and today’s win snaps a three-game losing streak against Utah.

Cal enjoyed a 15-5 run to take a 23-13 lead with five minutes remaining in the first half. Freshman Jaylen Brown and senior point guard Tyrone Wallace led the way in the first half with seven points each. At the outset of the second half, Cal increased its lead on a 9-4 run boosted by an and-1 by Ivan Rabb.

Cal entered the game outscoring its opponents in home games by an average of 79.3 ppg to 60.6 ppg and won by 13 tonight. The Bears had also accumulated a +12.7 rebounding margin and outrebounded the Utes, 36-28.

The Bears held Utah to 38.5% shooting from the field. This was the fifth straight game in which Cal held opponents to under 40% shooting. It's the 11th time the Bears have turned that trick on the season.

Cal's seven turnovers were the fewest by the Bears since they turned the ball over eight times against Richmond on Nov. 27. Since then, Cal has averaged 13.9 turnovers per game, until Sunday evening.

Freshman Ivan Rabb led the Bears in scoring with a season-high 19 points and 10 rebounds, good for his seventh double-double of the season.

Mathews totaled 14 points, after having just two at halftime. Mathews has scored in double figures in nine consecutive games and 13 times total this season. He has now connected on multiple three-pointers in his last seven games and has made 12 in his last three. He connected on all three of his treys in the second half, and has now made 23 treys in his last six games.

At one point in the second half, Rabb and Mathews combined to score 16 consecutive points for the Bears.

Wallace also reached double figures with 10 points. He has scored at least 10 points in all but two games this season.

Entering the contest with 78 blocks this season, the Bears notched four against Utah, led by three byKingsley Okoroh. In his past three games, Okoroh has swatted 11 blocks.

Attendance on Sunday was 10,188, topping the 9,964 Cal hosted against Colorado on Friday.


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