Richard Solomon returned after missing two games with a corneal abrasion and collected 13 points and eight rebounds for Cal (6-2), which bounced back after losing its final two games at last week’s Maui Invitational. Jabari Bird scored 14 and Tyrone Wallace chipped in eight points and tied his career high with 11 rebounds.
Chris McNealy led UC Irvine (5-4) with 13 points and Luke Nelson added 12. The Anteaters had won their last two games against Pac-12 opponents, but struggled from the opening whistle against Cal and were held to a season-low 19 points in the first half after shooting 7-for-34 from the field.
The Bears led by 16 at intermission and maintained their double-digit margin throughout the second half. Point guard Justin Cobbs, who earned all-tournament honors in Maui after averaging 20.3 points over three games, finished with three points and nine assists.
UC Irvine’s 7-foot-6 freshman center Mamadou Ndiaye, the nation’s tallest player, fouled out after being held to four points and five rebounds in 10 minutes. The Anteaters, who entered the game averaging 85.5 points, shot 29.4 from the field and missed 11 of their 15 attempts from 3-point range.