BERKELEY — With his team leading by 20 points early in the second half, Central Arkansas guard Jordan Howard huddled with his teammates during a timeout and challenged them to push the tempo even more.

Coming off a pair of close losses on the road, Howard felt it was important for the Bears to keep the tempo going.

They did that and then some.

Howard scored 26 points, including five 3-pointers, and had six assists, and Central Arkansas beat Cal 96-69 on Wednesday night.

“We’ve been through a lot throughout these four years rebuilding the program,” Howard said. “We know how close we are to being a great team. We’re just paying attention to the details and the little things that matter.”

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 dropped back-to-back games to Arkansas-Little Rock and San Francisco by a combined eight points before rolling over Cal (3-6) in the first game between the two schools.

The Bears led 57-37 when Howard issued his challenge. By the next timeout, Central Arkansas had pushed its lead to 77-42.

Don Coleman scored 20 points for Cal. 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.

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 made field goals.

“Major, major setback,” Cal coach Wyking Jones said. “We have to go back and figure it out. We’re young but we can’t keep using that as an excuse. We’re better than we showed tonight.”