After playing limited minutes off the bench last season, California guard Don Coleman is capitalizing on his opportunity under first-year coach Wyking Jones. The 6-foot-3 junior looks to continue his hot start Thursday against visiting Wofford, which was picked to finish fifth in the Southern Conference preseason media poll.
Coleman scored a career-high 32 points on 9-of-28 shooting in the Bears’ season-opening loss to UC Riverside before turning in a more efficient effort in Sunday’s 85-82 victory over Cal Poly, making eight of his 13 shots and finishing with 30 points, including three 3-pointers. “He played with a better pace and didn’t look out of control,” Jones told reporters. “He played an unbelievable game and was very good for us. His teammates see it and we see it. Hopefully he continues to play that way.” The Bears also received a welcome boost from 6-foot-11 senior forward Marcus Lee, a Kentucky transfer who bounced back from a quiet debut against UC Riverside by scoring a career-high 21 points and grabbing 11 rebounds against Cal Poly. The Bears will look to get Jones his second career victory on Thursday against Wofford, which opened with a 21-point loss to South Carolina before cruising to a 103-66 win over Washington and Lee.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network
ABOUT WOFFORD (1-1): The Terriers are led by the duo of guard Fletcher Magee and forward Cameron Jackson, who combined for 36 points on 13-of-20 shooting in the win over Division III member Washington and Lee. Magee, a 6-foot-4 junior from Orlando, was named to the preseason all-Southern Conference first team after averaging 18.6 points and making 112 3-pointers last season. Coach Mike Young’s solid backcourt includes freshmen guards Storm Murphy and Tray Hollowell, who combined for 20 points and five assists in Sunday’s victory.
ABOUT CAL (1-1): After scoring 14 points off the bench in the season opener, freshman forward Justice Sueing moved into the starting lineup Sunday and recorded 12 points and four assists against Cal Poly. “He has a great feel for the game and he gave a little more of a defensive presence,” Jones told reporters. “He’s a bigger body down there on the back of the zone. He gives us some rebounding and size at that position.” The Bears boast a strong frontline with Lee and Sueing playing alongside 7-foot-1 senior center Kingsley Okoroh, who scored a career-high 15 points on Sunday.
1. The Bears are 35-4 at Haas Pavilion over the past two seasons.
2. One of the youngest teams in the country, Wofford’s lone senior is reserve guard Derrick Brooks.
3. Coleman is the first Cal player to score at least 30 points in consecutive games since Ryan Anderson on Jan. 17-19, 2008.
PREDICTION: Cal 67, Wofford 58