The tallest international matchup in Haas Pavilion history was a fun sideshow Tuesday night, but Cal wasn't fooling around in the main event.
The Bears rocketed to victory in the 17th Golden Bear Classic, shooting 60 percent in the first half on the way to an 87-66 triumph over UC Santa Barbara.
Cal (8-4) appears loose and ready for the start of Pac-10 play Saturday at home against rival Stanford.
Senior Patrick Christopher scored a season-high 25 points and was named MVP as Cal won its own tournament for the 12th time in 17 tries.
Fans were treated to a vertically impressive — albeit less than artistic — duel between Cal's 7-foot-21/4 Max Zhang of China and UCSB's 7-3 Greg Somogyi, a native of Hungary who prepped at Woodside Priory across the Bay.
The two ultra-big men came off the bench to shoot air balls, but Somogyi, who had made just one basket all season, wound up scoring a season-best 12 points.
The rest of the night was far less compelling ... and, for the most part, not terribly competitive.
The Bears led by as many as 24 points in the first half and were up 49-32 at the break. Nothing changed to start the second half, as Theo Robertson lobbed an alley-oop pass to Christopher for a dunk.
Senior Jerome Randle contributed 23 points, including 6-for-8 from 3-point range, and moved into ninth place on Cal's career scoring list. He now has 1,415 points to rank ahead of Rickey Hawthorne (1,413 points) and Keith Smith (1,398).
Robertson added 10 points and joined Randle on the all-tournament team. All three seniors were on the bench with nine minutes left and the Bears leading 73-52.
The Bears got an encouraging performance from junior center Markhuri Sanders-Frison, who returned to the starting lineup this week. He had career-high totals of seven points and 10 rebounds along with three assists, and managed to avoid the foul trouble that has plagued him much of the season.
"We need rebounding from our center position," coach Mike Montgomery said. "I thought Markhuri was pretty good on the glass."
Jorge Gutierrez chipped in six points, five rebounds and five assists.
Cal went 9-for-17 from 3-point range and dominated the boards, 45-25.
Montgomery spent nearly 30 minutes afterward talking with his players.
"We were really good early," he said. "We sometimes lose our focus when we play well and get up. That's one of the things we talked about, trying to sustain a certain level of excellence that we can rely on."
The Gauchos, winless in eight tries against Cal, climbed within 14 points barely four minutes into the second half. The comeback didn't last long.
Jamal Boykin answered with a short jumper and Randle hit a 3-pointer off the break, pushing the Bears' lead back to 60-41 with 15:04 left.
Orlando Johnson led the Gauchos (5-5) with 17 points. Sophomore guard Will Brew of St. Mary's High in Berkeley had nine points and four assists, and freshman brother Chris Brew scored seven.
The Bears moved the ball quickly from the start, attacking the basket and revving up their transition game. The Gauchos never had a chance.
Cal twice converted four-point plays, with Randle and Gutierrez making 3-pointers and the ensuing free throw after being fouled. When Christopher hit a 3-pointer with 7:25 left in the first half, the Bears' lead was 36-15.