Mike Montgomery returned to the bench three-plus weeks after undergoing surgery for bladder cancer and coached No. 24 California to a 77-56 season-opening victory over UC Irvine and former assistant Russell Turner on Friday night.
Allen Crabbe scored 24 points, Jorge Gutierrez had 11 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, and Cal shot 45.9 percent. The Golden Bears jumped out to a 19-7 lead and controlled the game the entire way.
Fourth-year coach Montgomery moved well on the sideline and showed no signs of being limited. He spent a short stint away from the team to recover following the procedure on Oct. 19 and said he is now cancer-free.
Montgomery faced his former assistant from his days at both Stanford and the Golden State Warriors in Turner, the second-year Anteaters coach who worked under Montgomery at Stanford from 2000-04 and then in the NBA from '04-06.
At one point, Montgomery showed some of his typical emotion and fire when he caught an errant pass thrown out o...