BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) -- Forward Ryan Anderson scored 23 points and California overcame a slow start to beat San Diego State 77-69 Saturday at an empty Haas Pavilion.
Cal asserted themselves with 10:08 in the game with a Jerome Randle three-pointer from the corner to give the Bears their first lead of the game, 60-58. After that, they never trailed.The game turned In Cal's favor with two Patrick Christopher buckets: the first an electrifying alley-oop followed by a runner in the lane.After the lackluster start the Bears finally caught up to the Aztecs' lung-burning style of play to run their record to 3-0, while San Diego State dropped to 5-1.The game stalled for several minutes at 66 all, before Cal countered the Aztec's speed with a slowed-down half-court offense.Center DeVon Hardin broke the tie with his first basket of the game with 2:58 left. The Bears figured the 6-foot, 11-inch senior would control the game. Instead, Hardin missed his first five shots and was 3-for-8 from the free-throw line.Hardin did manage to grab 14 boards, including a few crucial rebounds in the closing seconds.The Bears certainly weren't inspired by the sparse crowd, and Cal wasn't at full strength.The Golden Bears are slowly getting healthy after getting hit by a barrage of bizarre injuries. Forward Omondi Amoke had a vascular abnormality removed from his calf on Sept. 14. Backup center Taylor Harrison's sore knee shelved him for the first two games. Forward Theo Robinson's hip surgery in April will keep him out until the start of PAC-10 play. Forward Eric Vienneisel sprained his ankle but played against San Diego State.Fortunately for Cal they got Randle back from the strangest injury of all against the constantly pressing Aztecs. Randle underwent a kidney biopsy last month and was out for three weeks. Randle will be able to control his kidney ailment with medication.The cat-quick Randle didn't start but got in fast and scored a career high 21 points in his first game of the season. With Randle, the Bears could get the ball up the floor, but they had trouble from there.In fact, if not for 6-foot, 10-inch Anderson, who had 17 of Cal's 33 first-half points, they would have been blown out by intermission.The game did reunite former Newark Memorial High teammates Hardin and Kyle Spain.