BERKELEY, Calif.—George Washington coach Mike Lonergan looked at the stat sheet, tried to muster a smile then clicked off the reasons why the Colonials lost to No. 24 California on Sunday night.
A piercing 21-0 run by the Golden Bears at the end of the first half was at the top of the list.
Not even a second straight 20-point effort from Tony Taylor was enough to dig George Washington out of the early hole, and the Colonials spent the rest of the night in a futile game of catch-up.
"I've never really been involved with a run quite like that," Lonergan said after Cal's 81-54 win over George Washington. "I tried calling a couple timeouts. It was very disappointing that we just never really got our composure back the rest of that half. To end it that way and not even score any points, that was basically the game right there."
It didn't help that George Washington was playing on short rest.
The Colonials, who opened the season at home Friday night against Maryland-Eastern Shore, flew to the Bay Area on Saturday, played the game Sunday night and immediately left on a redeye flight home to get back for morning classes Monday.
Lonergan refused to blame the poor showing on fatigue.
"I don't think that had anything to do with it," Lonergan said. "We were well prepared and focused, and I thought that was obvious because we came out ready to play and it was 21-19. And then we just kind of go crazy out there."
The game got off to a sloppy, turnover-filled start before the Bears broke it open with their big, half-ending run. Gutierrez got it started with a jumper that gave Cal the lead for good at 20-19. Cobbs hit a pair of 3-pointers around another 3 from Crabbe to end the half with the Bears on top 39-19.
Cal extended the lead to 46-20 early in the second half as Crabbe hit another long-range shot before Taylor's basket ended a stretch of 15 straight misses from the field over a span of 9:13 on the clock for George Washington.
The Bears coasted from there and even one of the few highlights for the Colonials came at a price. David Pellom had a breakaway dunk but was called for a technical foul for hanging on the rim midway through the half.
Taylor made 8 of 16 shots from the floor, including 3-for-5 on 3-pointers, but only one other player reached double figures for the Colonials. Two starters, Jabari Edwards and Lasan Kromah, were held scoreless.
"With our team we have too many guys trying to go one-on-one," Lonergan said. "Some other guys are trying to force the action. We have to get guys out there that will play hard. If you're not going to score you have to play at the other end. So we're still searching for some answers."
Allen Crabbe scored 21 points and Justin Cobbs scored eight points during Cal's big run in the first round of the CBE Classic.
Cobbs finished with 16 points and Jorge Gutierrez added 15 for the Golden Bears (2-0), who coasted after their big first-half run.
"It's just getting my momentum going and getting a feel for the game and then making sure I'm being aggressive," he said. "Coaches are telling me be aggressive and make plays and that's what I tried to do instead of being so passive. I just came out with the mentality to be aggressive and try to make plays tonight."
Nemanja Mikic added 12 for the Colonials (1-1), who shot 38 percent to lose for the first time under new coach Mike Lonergan.
Cal will play Austin Peay at home Tuesday in the second game of the tournament before going to Kansas City, Mo., next week to take on Georgia and either Notre Dame or Missouri. George Washington will play their final three games of the classic in Bowling Green, Ohio, next week.
Despite six turnovers in the first 9 minutes, George Washington took the lead on a 3-pointer by Taylor midway through the half and led 19-18 when Taylor hit another 3 as the shot clock ran down with 6:23 to go. The Colonials then missed their final 11 shots of the half and trailed by 20 at the break.
They went on to their sixth loss in nine games against teams currently in the Pac-12.