BERKELEY — As the final seconds on the shot clock expired to force a Davidson turnover late in the first half, California coach Cuonzo Martin pumped his fist and let out a yell.
On a night his team was stellar shooting from the perimeter, Martin was just as impressed with his team’s defense. And with the Pac-12 opener just a few days away, he’s hoping it’s something that it can build upon.
Jordan Mathews made five 3-pointers and scored 19 of his season-high 22 points in the first half to help California beat Davidson 86-60 Monday night in the final non-conference game for both teams.
“In the last three games we’ve showed signs of defending at the highest level, just maintaining and being consistent with it the whole game,” Martin said. “It’s not an easy thing to do when you’re not programmed to do it like that consistently but we’re getting there. You have to see it first and I think our guys are seeing it and understanding it.”
Cal (10-3) made a season-high 12 3-pointers — its most since setting a school record with 16 against Arizona on March 5, 2009 — and balanced that by holding the nation’s third-leading scorer, Jack Gibbs, well below his 26.6 average.
Gibbs, who has four games with 35 points or more this season and two with 40 or more, was limited to a season-low seven points against Cal’s man-to-man defense. The 6-foot guard was held scoreless for the first 14 minutes and finished 3 of 10 from the field.
The Bears forced three shot-clock violations overall.
“Cal’s defense was extraordinary,” Davidson coach Bob McKillop said. “At five positions they defended, and they defended well. They got us to make poor decisions and rush shots.”
Freshman Ivan Raab had 12 points and 11 rebounds — his fifth double-double — while Jaylen Brown added 17 points and seven assists for the Bears, who remained unbeaten in nine home games this season.
Peyton Aldridge scored 15 points with seven rebounds for Davidson (8-3). The Wildcats have lost two of three heading into their Atlantic 10 opener.
California began the season ranked No. 14 before tumbling out of the Top 25 following back-to-back losses in late November and was coming off a tough 63-62 overtime loss to No. 5 Virginia last week.
The Bears took out a lot of their frustrations on Davidson with one of their best shooting nights of the season.
Raab and Brown scored on back-to-back dunks midway through the first half to put Cal up by 17. Mathews later followed with consecutive 3s, helping the Bears take a 47-23 lead into halftime.
Cal hosts Colorado on Friday.
Davidson guard Jordan Barham left the game with a possible right knee injury with 6 ½ minutes left in the first half. The team’s fourth-leading scorer going into the night, Barham had eight points on 4-of-6 shooting in nine minutes. He spent the entire second half on the bench with his leg wrapped.
Davidson has made at least one 3-pointer in 680 consecutive games. The Wildcats are 1-3 on the road.