BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) Cuonzo Martin wasn’t happy with the way his team handled Princeton’s motion offense in the first half.
A couple of defensive adjustments and a big second half from Tyrone Wallace helped change the California coach’s mood.
Wallace scored 20 of his 23 points in the second half including 10 in the final two minutes, David Kravish helped key a momentum-changing run and California rallied from 11 points down to beat Princeton 67-57 on Saturday night.
Christian Behrens and Jordan Mathews scored 12 points apiece while Kravish had 11 to help the Golden Bears (9-1) extend their best start since 2001-02.
”That’s one of those styles that’s hard to duplicate in practice, the speed of it, the back cuts,” said Martin, Cal’s first-year coach. ”They had us on our heels. We did a better job in the second half of settling down, getting those guys off the line and containing the dribble.”
Cal trailed the entire first half and was behind 44-36 with 15 minutes left before going on a 15-2 run to take the lead for good. Kravish had five points, three rebounds and a blocked shot during the run then later added a short hook to put the Bears up 53-49.
After Clay Wilson’s layup made it 53-51, Wallace scored on consecutive layups and added four free throws.
”In the first half the zone caught me off guard,” Wallace said. ”Even though we shot the ball well, we were not crisp attacking the zone. In the second half we just needed to be more aggressive and turn it up.”
Hans Brase had 14 points and nine rebounds for Princeton (3-8).
The Bears have won six straight under Martin but needed to come from behind to beat the Tigers in the first meeting between the schools since 2009.
The Tigers were coming off a 60-46 loss at St. Peters in which they shot a season-low 30.8 percent but came out much crisper offensively against the Bears.
Princeton made its first eight shots from the floor and made eight 3-pointers before halftime, matching its entire game total against St. Peters.
”We gave them the looks they wanted,” Kravish said. ”We did a better job of taking that away in the second half.”
Brase scored 11 points and had five rebounds to help the Tigers control the inside game, while Spencer Weisz added six points including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer that put Princeton up 37-28 at the break.
Brase’s fourth three of the game made it 44-36 before Cal’s defense took over.
The Bears held the Tigers scoreless for the next 9 1/2 minutes and scored 13 unanswered points to move in front for good.
Princeton: The Tigers won the first game of the series in between the two teams in 1971 but have dropped the last four. … Princeton has not beat a Pac-12 school since upsetting defending national champion UCLA in the first round of the 1996 NCAA Tournament.
California: Although the two teams hadn’t played each other in five years, forward Dwight Tarwater has seen plenty of Princeton. The fifth-year senior transfer previously played six games against the Tigers while attending Cornell. Tarwater had five points and two rebounds … Guard Jabari Bird missed his fourth consecutive game with a foot injury.
Princeton: Hosts Lipscomb on Friday.
California: Hosts Eastern Washington on Friday