BERKELEY -- The bigger team won Tuesday night at Haas Pavilion. It was pretty much as simple as that.
Cal exploited its size advantage, getting 15 points from forward David Kravish and a career-high 16 rebounds from forward Richard Solomon in a 77-50 rout of Denver before an announced crowd of 4,930.
The Bears got a brief scare with 8:27 left in the game when senior point guard Justin Cobbs went down, stayed on the floor for a couple minutes, then limped off with help. He later emerged from the locker room with ice wrapped around his left knee.
"He came down awkwardly and it hurt so he put ice on it," said coach Mike Montgomery, adding that he expects Cobbs to play Friday when the Bears (2-0) return to action against Oakland (Mich.) University. Oakland fell to 0-2 after a 91-60 loss to No. 24 UCLA.
Cal went after the smaller Pioneers (0-1) from the start, funneling the ball to the 6-foot-9 Kravish, who had nine points in the first 6:05 of the game.
"Denver's not as big and we talked about getting the ball inside," Kravish said. "They were just giving me the ball."
Solomon added nine points and led the way as the Bears muscled up for a 40-20 advantage on the boards against a team without a starter taller than 6-foot-7.
"When me and David get after it, we can be pretty good," Solomon said. "We're long and athletic and we like to rebound, that's the thing."
"Richard was a beast on the boards," Montgomery praised.
Sophomore guard Tyrone Wallace followed his career-high 20 points in the opener last week with a team-leading 16, plus three steals. Wallace was 6 for 6 from the free throw line.
Freshman Jabari Bird, the former McDonald's All-American from Salesian High in Richmond, got his first career start. He was scoreless in the first half and finished with eight points.
"He was probably was nervous," Montgomery said. "He wants to be really good. He'll be fine. For all these young players, they need to get game experience and figure out how to be most effective."
Freshman point guard Sam Singer came off the bench to contribute eight points and two steals. Fellow freshman Jordan Mathews had six points and five rebounds.
Denver, which won 18 of its final 21 games a year ago, shot just 35 percent and rarely beat Cal's defense with its constant backdoor cuts out of the Princeton-style offense.
"I was pleased," Montgomery said of the defense. "We worried about the back cuts. The main thing you have to do against Denver is maintain your concentration. We generally did a good job."
The Bears forged a 35-18 halftime lead while holding Denver to 21-percent shooting, including 2 for 13 from the 3-point line. Cal led by as many as 22 points in the half.
The Bears also await word from 6-10 Idrissa Diallo, a native of Senegal who attends high school in Los Angeles. They've been expected to sign four-star point guard Ahmaad Rorie of Monteverde (Fla.) Academy, who gave them a verbal commitment 18 months ago.
"We're probably not going to have any news for you," Montgomery said. "Lots of interesting goings-on out there."