BERKELEY -- Tyrone Wallace had 20 points, eight assists and six rebounds, and No. 14 California opened a season with high expectations by defeating Rice 97-65 on Friday night.
Freshman Ivan Rabb contributed 14 points, 13 rebounds and two blocked shots in 16 minutes in his collegiate debut right at home in the East Bay and not far from where he starred at Bishop O'Dowd High.
Fellow highly touted recruit Jaylen Brown added 14 points in 15 minutes. He and Rabb each picked up a third foul early in the second half and sat.
The Golden Bears pushed the tempo from the start and crashed the boards to create multiple chances in a solid start under second-year coach Cuonzo Martin.
Egor Koulechov scored 19 points and Marcus Evans had 18 for short-handed Rice, missing junior guard and leading scorer Marcus Jackson along with freshman guard Chad Lott after each tore the meniscus in his knee.
Wallace, who returned for his senior season and is on schedule to become the first member of his family to earn a college degree, shot 9 of 12 for a Cal team expected to challenge Arizona for the Pac-12 title.
Jordan Mathews added 13 points and Jabari Bird finished with 11.
Brown returned briefly and was whistled for his fourth foul - having little chance to show much to the several NBA scouts in attendance at Haas Pavilion, where Cal showed off the arena's $10 million upgrade that includes a new scoreboard hanging above center court, louder sound system and improved lighting.
The 6-foot-11 Rabb dunked off a miss by Brown at the 16:49 mark of the first half and made things difficult on the defensive end with his length.
Rice missed seven straight field-goal tries midway through the first half and Cal used a 23-4 run to build a 37-15 lead. Cal shot 50 percent and closed the half on a 6-0 burst for a 47-31 halftime lead, and only built on it the rest of the way.
BRAUN'S SPECIAL SEAT
Former California and Rice coach Ben Braun worked the broadcast for the Pac-12 Network, a special courtside seat for him without the pressure of winning the game.
He wasn't too surprised to get this call.
"It's not often you get a chance to come back and commentate on two teams you spent 18 years with. It's a special feeling," Braun said. "I had a good feeling I might be on this game seeing as I coached both schools and know the programs well."
Braun was recognized during a first-half timeout and even received applause from Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin, who attended Cal and sat courtside with his daughter.
Rice: Rice shot 6 for 17 on 3-pointers. ... The Owls opened against the Pac-12 for the second straight season, losing at Oregon State last year. They are 11-29 overall against current members of the conference. ... Rice has lost the last two meetings to Cal after winning the first, but the teams hadn't played in nearly 40 years (Dec. 18, 1975).
California: Junior Stephen Domingo, a transfer from Georgetown, made his Cal debut with five points and seven rebounds. ... The Bears made 10 of 23 from long range. ... Cal leads the overall series 2-1. ... A water bottle was thrown onto the court from the upper seats during a timeout with 3:40 remaining in the first half but no other incidents occurred after the public address announcer said Cal would receive a technical foul if it happened again.
Rice: At San Francisco on Monday.
California: Hosts UC Santa Barbara on Monday.