Teams are quickly learning how best to attack California, which has turned over the ball more than 16 times in four of its first five games. The Golden Bears can expect even more pressure defense Wednesday, when they face Chaminade in the seventh-place game of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational at the Lahaina Civic Center.
Junior guard Don Coleman continued his hot start with 21 points in Tuesday’s 83-69 loss to VCU, but the Golden Bears trailed throughout after committing six of their 18 turnovers in the first six minutes and falling behind 18-6. Coleman is averaging a team-high 26.6 points for Cal, which opened the tournament with an encouraging first half against No. 6 Wichita State before falling 92-82 and need a strong performance on Wednesday to salvage a win from the trip. “Tomorrow’s a must-win for us,” Bears first-year coach Wyking Jones told reporters. “You don’t come to a tournament like this and go home 0-3. I’m expecting our guys to come out with a fight. Hopefully, that happens. Can’t go home 0-3.” The Bears had four starters score in double figures Tuesday and will look for more of the same against Chaminade, which was outscored by an average of 32.5 points in back-to-back losses to Notre Dame and Michigan.
TV: 2:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU
ABOUT CAL (2-3): While Coleman has emerged as the team’s top scoring threat, the Bears have another solid option in freshman forward Justice Sueing, a Honolulu native who is averaging 13 points and 4.4 rebounds while shooting 54.3 percent. Freshman guard Darius McNeill also has provided an early spark by scoring in double figures in three straight games. Jones is hoping to lean on his two senior starters, forward Marcus Lee and center Kingsley Okoroh, but the former has committed a team-high 19 turnovers and the latter is averaging a quiet 7.6 points.
ABOUT CHAMINADE (2-2): After turning in a strong first-half performance in Monday’s 83-56 loss to No. 12 Notre Dame, the Silverswords were overmatched in a 102-64 setback against Michigan, which shot 64.9 percent overall and was 15-for-28 from 3-point range. Forward Erik Scheive, who scored a season-high 17 points against Notre Dame, was held to eight on 3-of-11 shooting by Michigan. Senior guard Austin Pope was named to the PacWest Preseason Team but has struggled early, shooting 32.6 percent overall and missing 10 of his first 11 3-point attempts.
1. Sueing is averaging 15.5 points in two games at the Maui Jim Maui Invitational, including a career-high 20 against Wichita State.
2. Chaminade was picked to finish sixth in the PacWest Conference Preseason Coaches Poll.
3. Cal opens a three-game homestand against Cal State Northridge on Tuesday.
PREDICTION: Cal 69, Chaminade 60