BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — Ivan Rabb’s plan to go aggressively at Stanford didn’t exactly get off to an encouraging start when he was limited to one shot in the first 11 minutes.
California’s leading scorer finally got going after an alley-oop dunk midway through the first half, and the Golden Bears followed along.
Rabb had 25 points and 13 rebounds and California pulled away late in the second half to beat Stanford 66-55 on Sunday.
“My plan was to come out aggressive early but the ball just wasn’t coming my way at first,” Rabb said. “Guys were getting good shots so I can’t complain about that. I was just trying to play the game the right way.”
Jabari Bird added 17 points to help the Golden Bears (15-6, 6-3 Pac-12) win in front of a standing-room-only crowd following an eight-day break.
Rabb overcame a sluggish start and scored 15 points in the second half, including eight over the final six minutes to go with a key block down the stretch. Rabb shot 7 of 9 from the floor and made 9 of 14 free throws while finishing one point shy of his career high.
The win moves California into a three-way tie for third place in the Pac-12 along with No. 8 UCLA and Utah.
“I think we’re growing,” Rabb said after the Bears fifth win in the past six games. “In the first half the shots weren’t going in but they looked good, they felt good.”
Reid Travis scored 17 points and Michael Humphrey added 10 points and nine rebounds for Stanford (11-10, 3-6). The Cardinal lost to their cross-bay rivals for only the third time in the last nine games.
Stanford was within 51-45 following a pair of free throws by Humphrey with 6:11 left before Rabb’s late burst helped the Bears pull away.
Rabb scored six straight points for the Bears including four free throws. Grant Mullins followed with a 3-pointer and Kameron Rooks had a free throw before Rabb’s emphatic dunk pushed California’s lead to 63-48.
That was big on a night when the Bears made only 18 of 31 free throws.
“For us offensively we have to flow through (Rabb),” California coach Cuonzo Martin said. “He settles in, sees how the double-team is coming and he makes plays from there.”
Stanford had its own shooting problems and lost its second straight following a three-game winning streak.
“They did a nice job of adjusting and getting the ball into the paint more,” said Stanford coach Jerod Haase, who played for the Bears in 1992-93. “That opened up angles for them and gave Rabb good looks.”
Neither team shot well in the first half until Rabb helped shake the Bears out of their funk.