BERKELEY — After scoring an inefficient 31 points in Cal’s season-opening loss, Don Coleman had a heart-to-heart talk with coach Wyking Jones.
The difference two days later was dramatic.
Coleman scored 30 points on just 13 shots from the field and Kentucky transfer Marcus Lee added a career-high 21 as the Bears gave Jones his first victory with an 85-82 win over Cal Poly on Sunday.
Cal (1-1) lost to UC Riverside in its opener as Coleman shot 9 for 28.
The junior guard, who was 8 for 13 from the field and made 11 of 14 free throws, said he got lots of negative feedback after the opener. “I took a lot of heat on social media,” he said. “That was motivating,”
So was a talk with his coach. “He played with a better pace tonight, wasn’t out of control and still ended up with his 30,” Jones said. “I told him, ‘In the half-court set you need to be a little more selective.’ I’m happy he had this kind of a game because it’s a lesson.”
Kingsley Okoroh added a career-high 15 points and freshman Justice Sueing scored 12 in his first start. Lee, who played his first three seasons at Kentucky before returning home to the Bay Area, also had 11 rebounds.
Marcellus Garrick led Cal Poly with 21 points, including four 3-pointers in a span of 4 minutes midway through the second half when the visitors cut their deficit from 19 points to single digits. The final margin was as close as the Mustangs got.
Cal Poly (0-2), picked to finish last in the Big West Conference, made 16 of 28 shots from the 3-point arc.
“I was pleased with the way we moved the basketball,” coach Joe Callero said. “We didn’t want to go for press break, we wanted to go for press attack.”
Donovan Fields added 18 points and Victor Joseph scored 15 points for the Mustangs.
Cal Poly: The Mustangs, who lost 78-62 to Stanford in their opener on Friday, are now 6-31 all-time vs. current members of the Pac-12.
Cal: The Bears avoided their first 0-2 start beginning the 1997-98 season with four straight defeats. Cal has dropped its first two games to open a season just five times in the past 100 years.
FOUR YEARS LATER: Lee eclipsed his previous scoring high of 17 points that actually came in his freshman debut at Kentucky four years and four days earlier. That was against UNC-Asheville, but Lee admitted he had “no idea” about any of the details.
30 BACK-TO-BACK: Coleman became the first Cal player to score at least 30 points in consecutive games since 2008 when Ryan Anderson, currently of the Houston Rockets, did it.
STAT OF THE NIGHT: Two days after converting just 20 percent from the field in the first half of their loss to UC Riverside, the Bears shot 71 percent (178 of 24) in the opening 20 minutes against Cal Poly. “We got the ball inside,” Coleman said. “We’ve got to play inside-out instead of outside-in. That was the difference.”