BERKELEY -- For a team that spends so much time practicing against a zone defense, California sure is having a tough time against it in games.
This far into the season, Jabari Bird says, there is no excuse for it - even if the Golden Bears keep winning.
Jaylen Brown scored seven of his 13 points during a big second-half run, and California overcame a sloppy start to beat Incarnate Word 74-62 on Wednesday night.
Bird added 15 points and Tyrone Wallace had 14 points, seven rebounds and eight assists for the Bears (7-2).
"We go over a zone in practice and we do fine against it," said Bird, who shot 6 of 11 from the floor. "We get to the games, we're just thinking too much. We get kind of stagnant. We need to get some flow to our offense, play with some swag."
The Bears didn't have much flow offensively early. They made just four shots over the final nine minutes of the first half and trailed by as much as five.
Brown, the Bears' top freshman recruit, went into the game mired in a 5-for-21 slump and missed five of his first six shots. He later sparked a 15-5 run in the second half with a pair of soaring one-handed dunks and added a 3-pointer.
Brown scored on a 3-point play to push Cal's lead to 51-40.
"He's a guy that's used to the ball in his hand," California coach Cuonzo Martin said. "I just talked to him about staying aggressive. His aggressive is really shooting the ball but also attacking and to make plays for other guys."
Kyle Hittle matched his season high with 18 points and Shawn Johnson scored 16 for Incarnate Word (3-4).
"We really lost in that four-minute period right after halftime," Incarnate Word coach Ken Burmeister said. "They had a lot of great runoffs that turned the game around."
The Cardinals were outmatched physically but were within five points with four minutes remaining until the Bears pulled away. Wallace had six of his points down the stretch and Jordan Mathews added four of his 12 points to help the Bears close on a 12-4 run.
Coming off an overtime road win in Wyoming, the Bears struggled to get their interior offense going but made up for it by shooting 62.5 percent (15 of 24) in the second half.
"I think we kind of slept on this team, and it showed," Bird said.
NO EASY ROAD
Burmeister was in good spirits despite the Cardinals' fourth loss in five games. That's because Incarnate Word played Cal tough after suffering blowout losses to No. 21 Purdue and No. 7 Oklahoma earlier this season. The Cardinals also play at St. John's later this month. "It's a challenge," Burmeister said. "We're building a program and brand for the university, so you have to do what you have to do."
Incarnate Word: The Cardinals have made 10 steals or more in every game this season. They had 13 against the Bears. . Johnson made his second start of the season. . Tyler Singleton left the game briefly in the first half after injuring his right ankle. He returned in the second half and scored two points.
California: The Bears are 6-0 at Haas Pavilion this season. . Brown's shooting slump began after he scored a season-high 27 against Richmond on Nov. 27. . This was the first-ever game between the two schools. . Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers watched the game from the stands.
Incarnate Word hosts Our Lady of the Lake on Dec. 15.
California hosts Saint Mary's on Saturday