BERKELEY — Allan Crabbe knows how good California can be this season when he and teammate Justin Cobbs are in rhythm. The junior forward also realizes that with a few more scoring options, the Golden Bears can be even better.
For now, coach Mike Montgomery's team will have to settle for the Crabbe-Cobbs tandem.
Crabbe scored 27 points, Cobbs added 22 and Cal opened its season with a 78-65 win over Cal State Bakersfield on Sunday night.
"I'm pretty sure me and Justin really don't have a problem with taking on that role," said Crabbe, who made 8 of his first 12 shots from the floor. "We definitely do have other players who are capable of scoring. It's just going to take time."
Cal lost Pac-12 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year Jorge Gutierrez to graduation, but the Bears — picked to finish third in the conference in a preseason media poll — are otherwise pretty much intact.
Crabbe and Cobbs are expected to pick up the slack and both showed why.
One of four starters back from last year's team that finished 24-10 and lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament, Crabbe went 11 of 17 from the floor and added three assists.
Cobbs, in his second season at Cal after transferring from Minnesota, also gave the Bears a lift in the backcourt. He repeatedly burned Bakersfield on the fast break and with short jumpers while helping hold off an overmatched but athletic Bakersfield team.
"They're two proven players," Montgomery said. "I don't know that we could expect Allan to have that kind of half all that often, but he's certainly capable of it. If (teams) take those two guys out, we've obviously got to find ways to get other people involved."
The Golden Bears led comfortably throughout and were never challenged by the smaller, slower Roadrunners after going on a 21-3 run midway through the first half.
Crabbe, Cal's leading scorer and rebounder in 2011, had 20 points before halftime then gave the crowd at Haas Pavilion a brief scare after injuring his left ankle with 1:27 left while positioning for a rebound. Crabbe returned for the second half and fed David Kravish for an alley-oop dunk that helped push the Bears' lead to 57-35.
Stephon Carter had 15 points and eight rebounds while Brandon Barnes scored 12 for Bakersfield.
Overall, Cal returns nine players from its 2011-12 team, and that experience was evident in the first half.
Bakersfield trailed by three early following Zach Lamb's layup off an offensive rebound before Cal went on a 15-2 run. Crabbe had three 3-pointers while Cobbs had a steal and breakaway dunk during that stretch.
The Roadrunners, 16-15 last year in coach Rod Barnes' first season, couldn't keep up. They missed open shots, two breakaway layups and trailed by as much as 25 in the first half.
It didn't help that Bakersfield, playing its final season as a Division I independent before joining the Western Athletic Conference in 2013, was without senior point guard Issiah Grayson. Grayson, who set a school Division I record last season with 179 assists, is redshirting this year after offseason knee surgery.