By Michael Wagman | Associated Press
BERKELEY — Jordan Howard scored 26 points, including five 3-pointers, and had six assists, and Central Arkansas bounced back from two close losses to beat California 96-69 on Wednesday night.
Mathieu Kamba added a season-high 23 points and had seven rebounds while DeAndre Jones had 13 points and six assists for the Bears (5-5).
Central Arkansas had dropped back-to-back games to Arkansas-Little Rock and San Francisco by a combined eight points before rolling over California (3-6) in the first-ever game between the two schools.
Howard, the school’s career-leader for 3s, got off to a slow start but made four shots beyond the arc after halftime when he scored 17 points.
By then Central Arkansas was comfortably ahead. The Bears were never threatened after a big run in the first half and led by as many as 35 points midway through the second half.
Don Coleman scored 20 points for California. Marcus Lee added 11 points, five rebounds and four blocks.
The game was sloppy on both sides early before Central Arkansas went on a 24-6 run to take control. Kamba scored seven consecutive points to start the run and Jones made a 3-pointer to cap it, putting Central Arkansas up 29-18.
Jones later made another 3-pointer as part of a 10-0 run then converted a midcourt steal into an easy layup that extended the lead to 45-25.
California couldn’t keep up.
The Golden Bears made only two buckets over the final 11 minutes of the first half and committed a season-high 22 turnovers in the game — one more than they had made baskets (21).
Central Arkansas: The Bears finally got a win over a Pac-12 school after taking UCLA to overtime earlier this season. They were a little sloppy early but never looked back after taking the lead and won going away despite a slow night from Howard, their leading scorer. Tanner Schmit missed the final six minutes of the first half with a bloody nose. He returned to start the second half and made three consecutive shots coming out of the break.
California: Wyking Jones and his staff have a lot of work to do with this young team. As has been the case much of the season, the Golden Bears were their own worst enemy. The offense was stagnant most of the game and the defense gave up far too many open looks. With four non-conference games left time is running out to get the problems corrected.
Central Arkansas: Returns home to host Arkansas-Little Rock on Saturday.
California: Travels to play San Diego State on Saturday.
Central Arkansas pummels Cal 96-69