California 69, Arizona 55

BERKELEY, Calif. -- Patrick Christopher matched his season high with 23 points, dished out four assists and played strong defense against Arizona star Chase Budinger, and California won its sixth straight game with a 69-55 victory over the Wildcats in the Pac-10 opener for both schools Friday night.

Jerome Randle added 14 points, five assists and four rebounds for the Golden Bears (12-2), who under first-year coach Mike Montgomery reached double digits for victories before Jan. 1 for the first time since the 1947-48 season. Cal won six of its seven games in December and began the conference schedule coming off a title in their own Golden Bear Classic last weekend.

Nic Wise scored five straight during one second-half stretch on the way to 16 points, and Jordan Hill had 18 points and 11 boards for Arizona (9-4), which couldn't overcome another cold night by Budinger. He was held to nine points on 4-for-16 shooting and had Christopher tight on him at all times. Many of his shots clanked off the front of the rim -- and this performance came after he was 4-for-23 in his previous two games.

Defense has been a major focus of Montgomery's since the former Stanford and Golden State Warriors coach took over for the fired Ben Braun. He had to be pleased with his team's effort on that end. Budinger shot 3-of-10 in the first half and had a shot blocked by Christopher, too.

Theo Robertson added 13 points with three 3-pointers and has made 13 of his last 18 3s for the Bears, who came in leading the nation in 3-point percentage at 50.6 percent.

Arizona won both meetings last season, beating the Bears in Berkeley by four points on their home floor in Haas Pavilion. Christopher spent some extra time in the gym this week working on his shot -- but three of his second-half baskets were dunks. Christopher also had four rebounds and two steals.

The Wildcats mixed up their zone defenses in an effort to keep Cal out of sync early, but hurt themselves with turnovers. The Bears scored 16 points off Arizona's 12 turnovers.

Cal used a 15-5 run late in the first half on the way to a 36-30 lead at the break, holding the Wildcats scoreless for 3 minutes, 18 seconds during one stretch. Arizona made 11 of its first 18 field goals to 8-for-20 by Cal, but the Wildcats wound up shooting 42 percent. The teams each had 34 rebounds.

Arizona won four of its final nonconference games, including a five-point victory over Gonzaga on Dec. 14 and a win over Kansas on Dec. 23.