California held visiting Nicholls State to six points in the first 14 minutes of the game, blew a 15-point lead and then rode uncharacteristically good 3-point shooting to a 60-49 nonconference victory on Monday night.
Matt Bradley connected on three 3-pointers to account for almost one-third of his game-high 26 points for the Golden Bears (2-1), who were playing their home opener.
Grant Anticevich (three), Makale Foreman (two) and Ryan Betley (two) also dropped in multiple treys as Cal, one of the worst 3-point-shooting teams in the nation last season, went 10-for-26 from beyond the arc.
The Golden Bears made 10 3-pointers only once in 32 games last season, that coming in a nonconference win over Pepperdine.
After the Colonels (2-2) had rallied from a 21-6 deficit into a 23-all tie, Bradley bombed in a 3-pointer with 17:18 remaining in the game to give Cal the lead for good.
The Golden Bears, who have won two straight after a season-opening loss at Oregon State, went on to lead by as many as 15.
Anticevich backed Bradley with 11 points, while Andre Kelly had a game-high-tying nine rebounds off the bench to complement four points.
Foreman and Betley each finished with six points, all on 3-pointers.
Najee Garvin had 15 points and a team-high nine rebounds for Nicholls State, which was playing its fourth game in Northern California over a six-day span. The Colonels complete a week-long San Francisco Bay Area swing at Saint Mary's on Tuesday.
Ty Gordon went for 12 points for the Colonels, a 21-10 team last season. Kevin Johnson, who had recorded 11 steals in two season-opening wins in the Bronco Invitational at Santa Clara last week, added three more steals to his season total.
With four different players combining for five 3-pointers, the Golden Bears appeared fully in control of the game with a 21-6 lead in the game's 14th minute.
But the Colonels finished the half on a 12-2 run to get within 23-18, before drawing even at 23-all in the third minute of the second period on a 3-pointer by Gordon.
--Field Level Media