Golden Bears waiting on Rabb entering game versus Anteaters

No. 25 Cal and UC Irvine, who play each other Wednesday (11 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network) at Cal's Haas Pavilion, have two things in common: Both blew out South Dakota State recently, and neither has had its best player available so far.

In its only game, Cal (1-0) took apart South Dakota State 82-53, but the Bears did so without 6-foot-11 All-American forward Ivan Rabb. He sprained his toe three weeks ago on a closed scrimmage against St. Mary's, and he has been limited since. Rabb did not receive medical clearance to play against the Jackrabbits and has been listed as day-to-day since.

"Hard to say when we expect him back. I don't think he'll be out long," Cal coach Cuonzo Martin said after Friday's game. "He's been in practice but not contact."

Cal returns three starters from last season's 23-11 squad, but only one of them, Jabari Bird, was a starter against South Dakota State. Two newcomers started that game -- Grant Mullins, a graduate transfer from Columbia who scored 13 points, and freshman Charlie Moore, who struggled with 1-for-8 shooting but figures in Cal's plans.

"Obviously the fact that he started could tell you that Charlie's a good player," said Cal forward Roger Moute a Bidias, who came off the bench to score 12 points. "As a freshman starting like that, that's big. Obviously he was a little bit nervous. He will be all right as he adjusts and gets used to it. I think he will be great for us."

Point guard Sam Singer also came off the bench to score 14 points, sharing top team scoring honors with Bird, and it remains to be seen which players Martin will put on the floor to start Wednesday's game.

There is also uncertainty regarding UC Irvine's starters. Irvine played its first two games without its only returning starter in Luke Nelson, an all-Big West first-team selection last year. Nelson is questionable for the game against Cal as well.

Anteaters coach Russell Turner had hoped Nelson would return for Monday's game against South Dakota State, but again Nelson watched from the bench as guard Jaron Martin scored a career-high 24 and forward Jonathan Galloway collected a career-best 14 rebounds in a 73-58 victory over the Jackrabbits.

"Jaron Martin was the best player on the court today and often the team with the best player wins," Turner said, according to the Orange County Register.

Irvine showed significant improvement from its performance in a 72-56 loss at home to Utah State in the season opener.

"When you get taken apart like we did on Friday night, I think everybody wondered a little bit," Turner said. "That game was a blowout, but tonight we turned it around."

Several Irvine freshmen showed promise. Freshman guard Eyassu Worku scored a team-high 11 points in the opener, and Worku and freshmen Max Hazzard and Evan Leonard combined for 23 points against South Dakota State.

"I have to remind myself that the guys we started haven't started many games," Turner said after the opening loss. "I do like how our freshmen came in and competed."

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