BERKELEY, Calif. — Marcus Lee scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half and finished with 11 rebounds, Darius McNeill also had 17 and California beat Wofford 79-65 on Thursday night.
It was Lee’s second straight double-double, although Golden Bears coach Wyking Jones thought his talented senior forward could have done more.
“Marcus should have had 25 tonight,” Jones said. “(He) missed a bunch of shots that I expect him to make, that he expects to make. He just has such natural gifts that maybe my expectations are too high but I think he has more in his tank than what he’s giving us right now.”
Kingsley Okoroh added 10 points and eight rebounds for the Bears (2-1) in the first-ever meeting between the two teams.
A transfer from Kentucky who sat out all of last season, Lee was shut down in the first half after scoring Cal’s first two points.
The 6-foot-11 senior had little problem after the break and scored six points as part of a 12-3 run coming out of halftime to help the Bears pull away. Lee also had five assists.
“I’m extremely comfortable with this offense,” Lee said. “Going through it every day in offense, we see just about every different thing that comes out of each play so it’s kind of sitting like a quarterback.”
Don Coleman scored 16 points with three assists for Cal. The Bears have won two straight since a season-opening loss to UC Riverside.
Fletcher Magee hit seven 3-pointers and finished with 32 points and Matthew Pegram scored 13 for Wofford (1-2). Terriers coach Mike Young lost in his first attempt at win No. 250.
Magee scored 17 points apiece in Wofford’s first two games but easily topped that mark in the first half against Cal. One of three starters back from last year’s team that finished 16-17, Magee had 24 points with five 3-pointers to help the Terriers to a 37-36 halftime lead.
McNeill had 15 points — seven more than he had in the first two games combined — to keep the Bears close in the first half.
“The best thing about how he played tonight is he played in the context of our offense,” Jones said. “I’ve always told him ‘If you score, it’s a bonus. Run the team.’ He did a really good job of playing under control, playing with a lot of confidence.”
Wofford: The Terriers wore down in the second half but they still look like a team that will make some noise in the Southern Conference. They shot well from the perimeter but couldn’t get much going down low despite an off night by Cal’s big men. Wofford was had four players mired in foul trouble much of the night.
California: An uneven first half wasn’t a good omen but the Bears came out of halftime with a big run that gave them some breathing room. There are still plenty of rough edges that need to be smoothed out but for a young team and coaching staff; any win is a step in the right direction.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Cal reserve Nick Hamilton didn’t get many looks on offense but came up with the Bears’ biggest highlight midway through the second half when drove the lane and flipped the ball up and in as he was falling to the floor. Hamilton was fouled on the play and made the ensuing free throw.
30-FOR-30: Coleman came up short in his bid to become the second player in Cal history to score 30 or more in three consecutive games. Coleman had 31 against Riverside and 30 against Cal Poly but played a secondary role in the offense against Wofford, shooting 5 of 9 with only one made 3-pointer. Ed Gray (1997) is the lone Cal player to reach the 30-point mark three straight games.
Wofford: Returns home to host Bob Jones on Saturday.
California: The Bears head to Hawaii for three more games in the Maui Invitational, beginning with Wichita State on Monday.