BERKELEY, Calif. -- By the time California freshman Jaylen Brown crossed over Marcus Allen, shaked, baked and nailed a step-back jumper, the Golden Bears were well on their way to avenging a 77-71 loss three weeks ago at Maples Pavilion. After that play with just under eight minutes left, to give Cal a 25-point lead, the Bears kept it going and finished off a 76-61 win, remaining unbeaten at Haas Pavilion this season (14-0).
"They set a tone early, and we were a step slow early in the game, and we knew it would be really tough," said head coach Cuonzo Martin, whose team had five players scoring in double figures in scoring, compared to Stanford's two.
The Bears (15-8, 5-5 in Pac-12) played arguably their most consistent game, from start to finish, this season, particularly on defense, and shared the ball on offense, with point guard Sam Singer dishing out a career-high nine assists (including an alley-oop to Ivan Rabb, who finished with 10 points and eight rebounds), and Jabari Bird (13 points) and Jordan Mathews (18 points) going a combined 7-of-11 from three-point range.
"If he's locked in, Sam will have seven, eight, nine assists, so it's not a surprise," Martin said.
Singer's nine assists marked the only time since the season opener against Rice that a Cal player has dished out that many assists in a single game this season. The injured Tyrone Wallace has had nine assists just once in his career. Justin Cobbs had nine or more assists six times in his career.
Cal in fact had 16 assists on 22 field goals, going 22-of-41 from the field while the Cardinal went 21-of-55 (38.2%) and 4-of-16 from three-point range.
"I thought Ivan did a really good job guarding Rosco Allen. We felt something would have to give, and Ivan did a great job in the second half, really battled," Martin said.
Big man Kameron Rooks came off the bench to record a high in points (11) and, for the second straight game, tallied a career high in rebounds (12) for his first career double-double, adding two assists and a steal.
"I knew I could get my shots up and rebound," Rooks said. "I knew they were a lot smaller than how they usually pay the game, and I go against Kingsley every single day, and that's a big dude, so going up against him, you go against someone smaller, you're going to go in with more confidence than usual."
"I think you'd like to see guys play well, especialy coming off injuries, because I know what that feels like," Martin said. "But the work that he puts in, he puts a lot of work into his game. he changes shirts halfway through practice because he sweats, competes at such a high level. You're happy to see it, because you know how much time he puts into it."
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1640718-bttv-martin-breaks...Rooks pulled down three of his rebounds on the offensive side, with six second-chance points out of Cal's 15 on the night, and helped cal to a 41-25 advantage on the glass.
"Rooks stepped up and gave them a big lift. he's a big player in the low post, and he imposed his will down there," Stanford head coach Johnny Dawkins said. "Bird and Mathews made good contributions, shot the ball well. We have to be better defensively. I'm disappointed in how we played on that end of the floor."
Michael Humphrey, who hurt his leg against Utah, taking a knee to his thigh, played just two minutes, as the contusion in his thigh tightened up.
For the sixth game this season, Mathews had at least four three-point baskets, as Cal hit 9-of-17 from beyond the arc. Mathews scored a game-high 18, going 5-of-9 from the floor and 4-of-4 at the free throw line.
"It's game by game," Mathews said of his three-point shooting. He's gone 6-of-22 from three-point range over the last two games. "The percentages are going to play themselves out. Coach tells me to keep shooting the ball, and they went down tonight."
As the Bears made it rain from long distance, Stanford struggled mightily out of the gate, going 2-of-11 from the field to start the game.
"We let them get comfortable and hit shots early, and we weren't able to stop them, ever," Rosco Allen said. "They crashed the boards, we didn't box out, and we let their drivers drive."
Cal, the 275th-worst fouling team in the nation, was disciplined, sending the Cardinal to the line 24 times, while the Bears went 23-of-37 at the free throw line, getting into the double bonus with 5:34 left in the first half. Combined, Cal's three big men -- Rabb, Rooks and Kingsley Okoroh -- had five fouls, while Stanford lost both Josh Sharma and Grant Verhoeven, who fouled out, midway through the second half.
"We weren't aggressive when we played them last time. You see them get 38 free throws las time, we're not being aggressive. We had to fix that," Mathews said. "We were being aggressive and throwing the ball in the paint."
"We don't change the way we play offensively; that's who we are, and some nights, we go to the line, more than others," Dawkins said.
Stanford closed the lead to 21 points thanks to a breakaway dunk by Marcus Sheffield, and after a wild three miss with one second on the shot clock by Mathews hits rim, Roger Moute a Bidias pulled down a one-handed rebound. The ball was worked around to Brown, who, after a head fake from three, crossed over on the baseline to no avail, but then Rooks came in to clean it up with the put-back with 4:53 left, setting his career high for points.
After a missed three by Marcus Allen, Rooks pulled down the board, and pushed it up to Brown, who took it coast-to-coast for the lay-up and the foul, giving the Bears a 71-46 lead.
Still, Stanford battled back, trimming the lead to 19 with a Rosco Allen three, then a Malcolm Allen steal from Mathews that wound up in a lay-up and the and-one for Rosco Allen with 2:43 to go. Rosco Allen went 4-of-12 from the field.
"Our fours did a good job, we did a good job switching ball screens; we did a good job playing defense on him," Rooks said.
Then, Brown fought through a steal attempt by Marcus Allen, and found Rooks under the basket for a thundrous dunk, giving him a career-high 11 points on the afternoon, and his first career double-double with just over a minute to go. That was followed by a breakaway dunk by Bird to give the Bears a 17-point lead.
"Our defense hasn't traveled," said Dawkins, whose team has now lost four of its last five, and four of its last five on the road.
Cal turned the ball over 16 times, and Martin told his team, "This is us on the road, right here," and it was the one spot of concern for the Bears head coach coming off the game.
"I think there are so many unknowns," Martin said. "What happens on the surface, you get two talented young guys, and you just assume. As a coach, you have to be careful what you say. It's not easy. I'll leave it at that. it's a hard, hard game. Experience, understanding how hard you have to play, taking care of the basketball, valuing possesions, all that comes into play, and it takes time."