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Basketball: Bears face Southern Utah before things get much tougher in Maui

8 p.m. Monday at Haas Pavilion (Pac-12 Networks)

The Golden Bears (3-0) close out their four-game, season-opening homestand against Southern Utah (1-1) a week before heading to Maui for some serious basketball.

Cal is among seven Division I teams entered in the Maui Invitational who currently boast unbeaten records. That’s a combined 20-0 record so far for Cal, Arkansas, Syracuse, Minnesota, Baylor, Dayton and Gonzaga.

Host Chaminade completes the Maui field.

The Bears will open against Arkansas (2-0) on Monday, Nov. 25 before a Tuesday second-round matchup against either Minnesota (3-0) or Syracuse (3-0), the team that ousted them from the NCAA tournament last season in San Jose.

In the meantime, Cal faces the Southern Utah for the first time. The Bears are 17-1 all-time vs. current members of the Big Sky contest, the lone blemish a 98-73 loss at Idaho State in 1976.

Cal has won 31 consecutive home games in November.

The visiting Thunderbirds are coming off a 90-57 loss to Utah State in which they shot 30 percent from the field, 2 for 15 from the 3-point arc and were outrebounded 44-22.

Southern Utah’s victory came at the expense of Arizona Christian.

The Thunderbirds feature five players averaging 8 points or more, led by 6-foot-3 freshman gyard Trey Kennedy, who is providing 11.0 points and 3.5 assists per game.

The Bears have their own pretty good freshman. Jabari Bird, the former McDonald’s All-American from Salesian HS in Richmond, is the club’s top scorer after three games at 15.3 ppg.

Bird scored a career-high 24 points, including 6 for 8 from the 3-point line in Cal’s 64-60 win over Oakland (Mich.) U last Friday. His 3-pointer with just over a minute left gave the Bears the lead for good.

Bird is Cal’s most prolific freshman after three games since Ryan Anderson, who averaged 22 points in his first three in 2006. Anderson scored at least 20 in all three games.

Senior Richard Solomon is off to a terrific start, averaging 10 points and 14.3 rebounds. Senior point guard Justin Cobbs has climbed to No. 10 on Cal’s career assist list with 344.

Jeff Faraudo

  • Ryan

    Hoops couldn’t come sooner! The Bird is the Word.

    Go Bears!

  • wehofx

    Working tonight. JF, I’m hopeful – being the Hoops Head you are – you’ll have a game thread?

    I hope cobbs doesn’t play more than 10 to 12 minutes tonight. He looked a little ouchy at end of Oak game. Let TW, Kreklow and Singer get their minutes at 1.

    Also hope Monty gets Rooks 6/7 minutes again. I’d also like to see Mboute(sp) get some minutes.

  • Jeff Faraudo

    Sorry Wehofx. Had too much to do related to football and the Big Game. But I posted a wrapup of the basketball afterward.

  • Woj

    Very good head coach = Cal basketball often wins.
    Terrible head coach = Cal football never wins.