No. 24 California 81, George Washington 54
Justin Cobbs delivered just what California coach Mike Montgomery wanted in his second game with his new team.
Cobbs scored eight of his 16 points during a 21-0 run to end the first half and No. 24 California beat George Washington 81-54 Sunday night in the first round of the CBE Classic.
Cobbs, a transfer from Minnesota, gives Montgomery the depth he knows he will need if the Golden Bears (2-0) are going to be successful this season
''That's kind of what we expect from Justin,'' Montgomery said. ''We think he's capable of doing that. His focus was really good. He came in and made a difference. That's really why we like him. We like him off the bench because he changes things. If we're not doing things or having problems, he has the ability to change things.
Allen Crabbe led Cal with 21 points and Jorge Gutierrez added 15 as the Bears opened the season with back-to-back 20-point wins for the first time since 1995-96.
Tony Taylor scored 20 points and Nemanja Mikic added 12 for the Colonials (1-1), who shot 38 percent to lose for the first time under new coach Mike Lonergan.
The game got off to a sloppy, turnover-filled start before the Bears broke it open with their big, half-ending run. Gutierrez got it started with a jumper that gave Cal the lead for good at 20-19. Cobbs hit a pair of 3-pointers around another 3 from Crabbe to end the half with the Bears on top 39-19.
Cobbs looked much more comfortable than he did in his debut for Cal when he scored four points Friday against IC Irvine.
''It's just getting my momentum going and getting a feel for the game and then making sure I'm being aggressive,'' he said. ''Coaches are telling me be aggressive and make plays and that's what I tried to do instead of being so passive. I just came out with the mentality to be aggressive and try to make plays tonight.''
Cal extended the lead to 46-20 early in the second half as Crabbe hit another long-range shot before Taylor's basket ended a stretch of 15 straight misses from the field over a span of 9:13 on the clock for George Washington.
''I've never really been involved with a run quite like that,'' Lonergan said. ''I tried calling a couple timeouts. I want to give them credit but our shot selection and different things really added to that run. We just lost our composure.''
The Bears coasted from there and even one of the few highlights for the Colonials came at a price. David Pellom had a breakaway dunk but was called for a technical foul for hanging on the rim midway through the half.
Cal will play Austin Peay at home Tuesday in the second game of the tournament before going to Kansas City, Mo., next week to take on Georgia and either Notre Dame or Missouri. George Washington will play their final three games of the classic in Bowling Green, Ohio, next week.
This was a short trip to California for the Colonials, who opened the season at home Friday night against Maryland-Eastern Shore, flew to the Bay Area on Saturday, played the game Sunday night and immediately left on a redeye flight home to get back for morning classes Monday.
''We were well prepared and focused, and I thought that was obvious because we came out ready to play,'' Lonergan said. ''That doesn't mean anything but we were ready to play, and then we just kind of go crazy out there. I don't think the trip really had anything to do with this.''
Despite six turnovers in the first 9 minutes, George Washington took the lead on a 3-pointer by Taylor midway through the half and led 19-18 when Taylor hit another 3 as the shot clock ran down with 6:23 to go. The Colonials then missed their final 11 shots of the half and trailed by 20 at the break.
''At the beginning we were going real fast and had 10 turnovers early and that's crazy,'' said Cal freshman David Kravish, who had five points and nine rebounds. ''Coach told us we were going too fast and were playing the game they wanted us to play and taking bad shots or whatever they wanted us to do. He told us to slow down, play our game and influence the way they play. That's what we did.''