BERKELEY — For Cal's men's basketball team, the appetizers are done.
The Golden Bears will enjoy Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, then try taking a bite out of the meat of their nonconference schedule.
Following an 82-47 rout of North Carolina A&T on Monday, the Bears are 4-0 after four home games to start the Mike Montgomery coaching era. They won their first four by 10 points or more for the first time since 1952-53, when one of those victories came at the expense of the alumni.
It gets tougher now. The Bears face unbeaten Nevada-Las Vegas at the Thomas and Mack Center on Friday in the semifinals of the Global Sports Classic, then will play either Cincinnati or Florida State on Saturday.
"We have not really faced a team that's made us pay for our mistakes," Montgomery said, "That's going to change here pretty quickly."
Also looming over the next month are games against DePaul, Missouri, Utah and Nevada.
By the time that stretch is complete, Cal fans will have a better idea what kind of team they'll be watching once the Pac-10 Conference begins.
"This is a new challenge for us," said junior forward Theo Robertson. "Obviously, we have some quality opponents coming up. And to play (UNLV) in their home gym is going to be tough."
A&T, which was ahead of UNLV with less than 12 minutes left on Saturday, posed no such threat at Haas Pavilion. The Bears were up by 18 at that same juncture on Monday night, and
Aggies coach Jerry Eaves said his team was a shadow of the club that faced UNLV.
"The jet lag got my kids," he said. "They couldn't compete. It was hard for them to stand up (to Cal)."
Eaves declined to compare the Bears to UNLV, adding, "Cal has a very good team, but today was just a bad day to judge it."
Point guard Jerome Randle scored 20 points for the Bears, while Robertson contributed seven points, six rebounds and five assists and helped to shut out A&T's top scorer, Ed Jones, until barely 81/2 minutes were left.
Redshirt freshman Omondi Amoke scored a career-best 11 points and Patrick Christopher had 10 points.
A&T (2-3), the alma mater of the Rev. Jesse Jackson and former Warriors guard and coach Al Attles, shot just 33 percent and turned the ball over 19 times. Jones, who entered the contest averaging 15.3 points, had just two on 1-for-8 shooting.
The Aggies tried to rattle the Bears with a full-court press, but Cal wasn't fazed. The Bears had just nine turnovers and 7-foot center Jordan Wilkes responded when A&T got the ball out of Randle's hands, once dribbling 50 feet for a layup.
Contact Jeff Faraudo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
-- Jeff Faraudo