BERKELEY -- California guard Grant Mullins had to take over the point with five minutes to go in the first half against Arizona on Saturday, thanks to a hip/lower back injury suffered early in the half by freshman point Charlie Moore. Moore tried to re-enter, but stiffened up, and only played 12 minutes. Moore, head coach Cuonzo Martin said on Wednesday, practiced in full, and "should be fine." Martin indicated that Moore felt he had been kneed or hit by an elbow "in his hip area" early in the half.
Mullins, who played point guard at Columbia before transferring to Cal for his final season of eligibility, felt no discomfort stepping in for Moore, but is happy that he'll be back when the Bears take on a Stanford team that took the then-No. 9 Wildcats, to the brink a week ago, losing 74-67.
"It wasn't that big of an adjustment for me," Mullins said. "My senior year, I started to play combo, so I'm comfortable at both positions [point and shooting guard]."
Still, while the Cardinal have improved by all accounts since their first meeting with Cal, they have gone 1-3. Stanford has lost five of its last six games, dating back to a 69-52 loss to then-No. 11 Oregon.
The Bears (18-7, 9-4 in Pac-12) and Stanford (12-13, 4-9) square off at Maples Pavilion on Friday at 7 p.m., and will be available on FS1.
On how Stanford has improved: "I think their guards are hitting more shots. We know that their two-guard (Dorian Pickens) has been shooting it a lot better (39.3% from three over the last four games), and then, Reid Travis has also been a really big problem inside. We've noticed they've been playing better, so we've been scouting them, and we're ready to go at them again."
What did you see them do against Arizona that maybe they hadn't done before: "I don't think anything in particular. We don't watch the whole game; we watch it in segments, but from the film, I noticed that they really got on the offensive boards, so that might be something that we have to pay particular attention to."
They played more zone: "Yeah. We've been zoned before, so I think we'll be ready for that."
Arizona had a lot of trouble with zone defense, and you played match-up zone a bit, but not as much full zone like you did against ASU. What was the game plan there: "That's a good question. Coach [Martin] doesn't share that stuff with us all the time, but we like to rely on our man as much as we can, and it seemed to be working for most of that game, so we just stuck with it."
When Moore went out, did you know it was for the rest of the game: "No, we didn't. At halftime we did, but not when he went out."
Did you see what had happened? "No. I didn't see it."
What do you have to do in the home stretch: "I think rebounding is a huge thing for us. I think keeping other teams limited to one shot is huge. Offensively, I think we're going to be OK, but it's just on the defensive end, limiting them to one shot, and not letting them get such easy looks."
Given that you're such a low-possession team (307th in the nation in adjusted tempo), how much more to turnovers hurt, especially the six in the first half against Arizona: "It does, but if you're going to be aggressive, you're going to get turnovers sometimes. I think you've got to find that fine line. But, yeah, it definitely hurts if you're on a run, and you have a turnover, it definitely kills your momentum, so we've got to try to limit those and play as smart as we can."
How about getting the ball more to Ivan Rabb? His usage rate is 24.0%, just barely more than last season (20.0%): "I thought [Arizona] did a really good job doubling him. I guess we won't see Arizona again, but these other teams will see that, and try to double him the same way. He just has to be able to, I think, score right away, or be able to kick it out, which we know he's capable of doing."
Was the biggest factor in the way they double teamed him the fact that they sent it late? "Maybe, and I think it was just Arizona's length. It was harder for him to pass over those guys. They had a few inches on the other four men."