California appeared to lack a go-to scorer entering the season, but junior guard Don Coleman has settled that issue. Coleman will look to score 30-plus points for the fourth time this season when the Golden Bears face Virginia Commonwealth on Tuesday in the consolation round of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational at the Lahaina Civic Center.
Coleman scored 35 points in Monday’s 92-82 loss to sixth-ranked Wichita State and is averaging 28 per game. “Yeah, well, I felt kind of hot,” Coleman told reporters after the defeat. “I felt like I was going to have a good game. Once I hit a couple 3s in a row, I knew I had my rhythm going.” VCU dropped a 94-83 decision to Marquette in its first-round contest and still is adjusting to new coach Mike Rhoades. “We have a lot of fight, and we can score the ball,” Rhoades told reporters. “We’re leaving a lot of points here since we got together, but we’ve got to guard.”
TV: 4 p.m. ET, ESPN2
ABOUT VCU (2-2): Sophomore guard Malik Crowfield produced the best performance of his career with 17 points and five 3-pointers against Marquette after averaging just six points over his first three games. Senior forward Justin Tillman matched his season average by scoring 15 points, but sophomore forward Issac Vann (12.5 points) struggled with seven points and zero rebounds. The Rams’ “Havoc” defense did force the Golden Eagles into 17 turnovers that led to 24 points.
ABOUT CALIFORNIA (2-2): Freshman Justice Sueing scored a season-best 20 points to raise his average to 13.5 as he continues to impress first-year coach Wyking Jones. Sueing was behind due to a stress fracture in his leg, and Jones admitted it was a mystery how much the forward would be able to contribute. “He was out for so long, my staff and I kind of forgot what he really did for us or what he provided for us,” Jones told reporters after Monday’s setback. “So we’re all kind of seeing it like you all are seeing it, what he was able to bring to the table, night in and night out. He plays with a lot of poise and lot of confidence.”
1. Cal won the lone previous meeting 66-57 at the 1997 Golden Bear Classic.
2. Tillman is shooting 58.1 percent and leads the Rams in rebounding at 8.3 per game.
3. Golden Bears freshman G Darius McNeill is averaging 16.5 points over his last two games after averaging only four over the first two contests.
PREDICTION: VCU 83, Cal 81