BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — Dwayne Benjamin sensed early on that No. 11 Oregon was in for a long night, almost from the moment California's Jabari Bird made his first 3-pointer less than 90 seconds into the game Ducks coach Dana Altman felt it, too, all the way through his team's worst loss of the season.
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — Dwayne Benjamin sensed early on that No. 11 Oregon was in for a long night, almost from the moment California's Jabari Bird made his first 3-pointer less than 90 seconds into the game
Ducks coach Dana Altman felt it, too, all the way through his team's worst loss of the season.
Bird scored 16 of his season-high 24 points in the first half and punctuated his big night with a reverse dunk in the final seconds, leading California to an 83-63 victory over No. 11 Oregon on Thursday night.
"We came out with no energy, no effort on defense," Benjamin said. "(We) just let them get a lot of confidence. Once a good team gets confidence it's hard to stop them."
The Ducks (20-5, 9-3) went into the game riding a six-game winning streak that helped them match their best start since 2006-07. They had also beaten the Bears this season at home.
None of that mattered this time.
Bird got the Bears going early, Jaylen Brown kept them rolling through a mid-game slump and Tyrone Wallace helped close things out in his first game in nearly a month.
"We got kicked, I don't know how else to put it," Altman said. "I didn't have them ready to go, and that's just as much my fault as it is anybody's. We didn't push out early and once they started getting the 3s to go, we just couldn't keep up."
The Golden Bears (16-8, 6-5 Pac-12) never trailed and led by as much as 25 while remaining unbeaten at Haas Pavilion this season.
It's Cal's third win over a ranked team this season and second in less than three weeks.
Brown scored 16 points, Ivan Rabb had 13 points and seven rebounds, while Wallace finished with 10 points in his return to the Bears lineup.
"Definitely a great win against a great team," said Bird, who shot 9 of 14. "I was just being aggressive, looking for spots and gaps in the offense to get an open look. I got good looks and my job was just to make shots. I did that."
Dillon Brooks scored 17 points, and Chris Boucher added 11 points and six rebounds for Oregon.
Cal lost to Oregon 68-65 when the two teams met in Eugene. This time, the Bears left no doubt.
Bird got Cal off to a fast start with three quick 3-pointers early and repeatedly burned the Ducks from the perimeter. He finished with five 3s and the Bears had nine overall.
Oregon made one final push late and pulled within 72-57 with 4:51 remaining before Kameron Rooks scored on a tip-in to half the Ducks' surge. Brown followed with three consecutive baskets for Cal before Bird scored on a reverse dunk to cap the Bears' scoring and bring the sellout crowd of 10,628 to its feet.
It's another big step forward for coach Cuonzo Martin's team. Cal previously beat No. 21 Utah, No. 12 Arizona and lost by one in overtime to then-No. 5 Virginia on Dec. 22.
Cal made its first five 3-point attempts and led 21-9 just six minutes into the first half. Bird, who was limited to just two points in the Bears' loss at Oregon in January, led the Bears with nine points — all from behind the arc.
Sam Singer made two free throws to extend the lead to 29-9 with 10 minutes left.
Oregon never recovered from the slow start and trailed 42-24 at halftime.
"We could just never get the big run we needed to put pressure on them," said Benjamin, who scored nine points.
Oregon: Brooks has scored in double figures in all but three of the Ducks' 25 games this season. . Oregon, which went into the game shooting nearly 50 percent from the field in conference games, missed eight consecutive shots during one stretch in the first half.
California: The Bears have won 16 straight home games dating to March 1, 2015. ... Sam Singer had five assists in the first 5 minutes. ... Brown left the game briefly in the second half after appearing to lose a contact lens. ... Wallace shot just 4 of 11 in his return to Cal's lineup after sitting out five games with a broken bone in his right wrist.
TIMED OUT: Despite his team's big deficit early, Altman declined to call a timeout to stop Cal's run. In fact, Altman didn't use any of his timeouts in the first half. "That was a mistake," Altman said. "I should have used all of them. We got to the first TV timeout and it was 18-6. That showed I should have taken one before then."
Oregon: At Stanford on Saturday.
California: Hosts Oregon State on Saturday.