California Downs Long Beach, 88-69

Nov. 21, 2005

Box Score

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) - Omar Wilkes scored 18 points and led five California players in double figures while helping the Bears to an 88-69 win over Long Beach State that gave coach Ben Braun his 500th career victory on Monday.

California, which lost its season-opener by two points to Eastern Michigan on Friday, had a much easier time of things against the 49ers. The Bears overcame a slow start and led by double figures most of the second half.

Braun, who was serenaded with chants of '500, 500' by the crowd at Haas Pavilion, received a standing ovation following the win. As the Bears coach stood near midcourt acknowledging the crowd, two California players sneaked up from behind and dumped a cooler of water on him.

Rod Benson, playing in his first game since suffering a stress fracture in his heel over the summer, scored 14 points and grabbed six rebounds for California (1-1). DeVon Hardin added a career-high 14 points and had 10 rebounds while freshman Theo Robertson scored 14 points.

Besides leading in points scored, Wilkes had five assists during the game.

Jibril Hodges scored 15 points and Aaron Nixon added 13 points and three rebounds for Long Beach State (0-2).

The Bears won despite scoring just four points over five minutes in the second half when the 49ers, trailing by 12 at halftime, made their best run of the game. Hodges had five points in the stretch, including a 3-pointer with 11:04 remaining that trimmed the Bears lead to 59-54.

Long Beach State went cold after that and made just two baskets over the next seven minutes, allowing California to go on a 17-8 run and put the game away.

California played without its top 3-point threat, guard Richard Midgley, who was sidelined with a shoulder stinger suffered in the Bears' season-opening loss to Eastern Michigan.

The Bears trailed in the first half before going on a 22-7 run to take control. Benson had eight points during the run, including an emphatic dunk with 5:02 remaining that put the Bears ahead 34-29.

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