BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) -- Brandon Johnson had no intention of
taking over the game. It just sort of happened that way.
He found himself open and took advantage.
Johnson hit a short jumper in the lane with 19.8 second left and
scored 15 of his 23 points in the second half, leading San Diego
past California 72-67 in the championship game of the Golden Bear
Classic on Saturday night.
"I was just out there playing," Johnson said. "I wasn't
trying to take over. We've been winning games with me dishing it
out more. But it's more confidence when the shot clock's going down
and (my shot) was going in."
Ayinde Ubaka missed a 3-pointer from the top of the arc with
under 10 seconds to play but finished with 15 points and seven
assists for Cal, which made it a one-possession game after Ryan
Anderson's 3 at 45.6 got the Bears to 68-67.
Johnson scored nine straight points late, six in a row during
another second-half stretch and shot 11-for-19 from the field in
the Toreros' fourth consecutive win after a three-game skid. He was
named MVP of the tournament. Gyno Pomare added 21 points and six
"A little bit of a statement game," Toreros coach Brad Holland
said. "We'll definitely use this win to vault our team."
San Diego (6-4) spoiled Cal's shot at its 10th title in the
event's 14-year history after the Bears won in each of the past two
years on their home floor. The Toreros also snapped the Bears'
12-game winning streak in non-conference games in Haas Pavilion
that dated to the 2004-05 season.
"I think that's my biggest win since I've been at USD,"
Johnson scored six straight points to pull San Diego within
47-45 with 13:44 to play and the teams traded baskets for several
minutes. Danny Brown's 3 with 10:10 remaining gave the Toreros a
55-53 edge -- their first lead since late in the opening half -- and
was part of a key 10-0 run. Cal went 4½ minutes without scoring
between baskets by Ubaka.
The Bears (7-3), who faced a West Coast Conference opponent for
the third time this season, failed to reach 70 points for first
time in their last nine games.
"As I told our team, it's not the loss. Losing is part of any
competitive sport," Cal coach Ben Braun said. "I wanted our guys
to focus in on some areas that go beyond losing a game. I had to
take the moment to discuss that with our team.
"There are days our performance might fall off. ... One thing
we can't do is do things that beat ourselves. We have to focus in
on controlling those things."
Cal's last loss came to 20th-ranked Nevada by six points last
Sunday in the Pete Newell Challenge. The Bears beat Chicago State
75-51 on Friday night to reach the title game.
San Diego started 3-for-10 but Cal committed four turnovers in
the first 4½ minutes and fell behind 7-2.
But the Bears used an 11-3 run to end the first half, including
Hardin's alley-oop dunk on a pass from Ubaka to beat the buzzer,
for a 37-34 lead at the break. Cal shot 56 percent in the first