BERKELEY (AP) - It took Richard Solomon a few years to adjust to the fact he was better suited to playing inside than on the perimeter for the California Golden Bears.
Now the 6-foot-10 senior can only wonder what took him so long.
Solomon had his third double-double of the season with a season-high 17 points and a team-high 14 rebounds, leading California to a 67-56 victory Saturday against Fresno State.
“I didn't want to be a post player,” Solomon said, laughing. “I thought I was a perimeter player. That's where the confusion kind of came in. I actually learned where my game is. Seventeen (points), 14 (rebounds). That's not too bad. I'll be a post player all day.”
Justin Cobbs scored 13 points for the Bears (8-3), Tyrone Wallace 12 and Ricky Kreklow 11.
Cal coach Mike Montgomery moved past the late John Wooden into sole possession of 27th place on the Division I list for victories with his 665th win. He ranks ninth among active Division I coaches.
Bulldogs guard Marvelle Harris, who entered the game averaging a team-high 18.4 points per game, scored just two points in the first half, going 0-for-7 from the field, and finished with 13 points on 5-for-18 shooting.
After missing the past four games with an injured right foot, Tyler Johnson returned to the starting lineup and scored 12 points for the Bulldogs (6-5). Cezar Guerrero added 10 points.
Solomon took advantage of his superior size against a Bulldogs team that suited up just one player taller than 6-7 - 6-9 forward Alex Davis. Solomon went 7 for 9 from the field, using a variety of post moves he rarely showed in the past.
“I think it's just growing up, becoming more mature, learning what you can do, what you can't do, what you can get away with, what you can't get away with,” Solomon said. “It's just a big part of growing up. You just realize the things you were once able to do, now you can't do no more.
“Whoever’s defending me, whatever their weakness is, I’m just going to try to attack it. If you’re smaller, I’m going to use power. If you’re bigger, I’m faster than you.”
Cal built a 28-21 halftime lead, but Fresno State opened the second half on an 11-6 run, cutting the lead to 34-32 with 15:13 remaining on Harris’ 3-point shot. At that point, David Kravish landed awkwardly, appeared to injure an ankle and left the game. But he returned with 12:59 left and finished with 12 rebounds.
The Bears answered with a 9-3 surge, extending their lead to 43-35 with just over 12 minutes left. Jordan Mathews drilled a 3-point shot, and Jabari Bird and Kreklow had three-point plays during the run.
The Bulldogs, who went just 14-for-23 from the free-throw line, cut Cal’s lead to six points, but Cobbs hit a jump shot from the line, and Wallace scored on a layup after a Fresno State turnover, giving Cal a 52-42 edge with 7:30 left
Cal shot just 35.3 percent from the field and 27.3 percent from 3-point range in the first half but still built a 28-21 lead against an even colder-shooting Fresno State. The Bulldogs shot 26.7 percent from the field and 14.3 percent from long range in the opening half, making just 1 of 7 3-point tries.
“It was one of those ugly nights,” Kreklow said. “It's better to win ugly than lose pretty.” Solomon led the Bears with nine first-half points and six rebounds, while Kreklow scored six points on a pair of 3-pointers, and Cobbs had five points. Johnson paced Fresno State with eight first-half points.
"Solomon has really grown as a player," Fresno State coach Rodney Terry said. "I have been watching his play since he was in high school and he has really, really improved. He is an active, strong, Pac-12 player. I do think that Alex did a pretty good job in terms of standing between himself and the basket. I thought he did a fairly good job of trying to keep him off the glass.”
Cal led by 12 points with 6:05 left in the first as Solomon grabbed a rebound and scored on a dunk.
"I don't need to be on the wing," Solomon said. "I'm not Kevin Durant."