ANAHEIM, Calif. — Justin Cobbs scored 17 points, Richard Solomon got six of his 12 points down the stretch to help fuel a pivotal rally and California beat Georgia Tech 68-57 on Friday night to advance to the championship game of the DirecTV Classic.
Allen Crabbe added 13 points and five assists for Cal, which is off to a 5-0 start. Cal’s opponent in Sunday’s title game will be Pacific, which beat St. Mary’s 76-66 earlier Friday and topped Xavier 70-67 in Thursday’s first-round game. The Golden Bears got to the semifinal round with a 73-70 win over Drake.
Mfon Udofia had 16 points and Kammeon Holsey came off the bench to score 14 for Georgia Tech (3-1), which shot 39 percent from the field, was 2 of 15 from 3-point range and was outrebounded 41-29.
Neither team led by more than six points during a fast-paced first half that ended with Cal leading 34-33 on Robert Thurman’s buzzer-beating dunk – his first points of the game.
Crabbe’s layup with 12:31 left in the game snapped a 42-all tie and triggered a 12-2 run that helped Cal pull away to a 54-44 lead with 8:09 remaining. Cobbs had a fast-break dunk after stealing the ball from Robert Carter Jr. at the other end just 37 seconds after Crabbe’s basket, and freshman guard Tyrone Wallace – playing extra minutes because of Ricky Kreklow’s foot injury – capped the deciding rally with a three-point play after Solomon made a layup and a pair of free throws.
Crabbe and Wallace helped put it away with 3-pointers in the final 5:34 after the Bears had missed 11 of their first 12 attempts from behind the arc. Since the start of last season, Georgia Tech is 0-20 when trailing with 5 minutes remaining.
Cal scored the game’s first six points and maintained its lead until Holsey pumped in nine consecutive Georgia Tech points in a 2:53 span to help the Yellow Jackets tie it at 17 with 10:48 left in the half.
A couple of sloppy turnovers by Cobbs and Crabbe on back-to-back possessions resulted in a go-ahead three-point play by Carter off a fast break. Another fast-break layup by Udofia gave Tech a 22-17 lead with 9:43 left before intermission and convinced Cal coach Mike Montgomery to call a timeout.
Cal is 3-0 all-time against Georgia Tech, with the other two meetings coming a day apart in December 1950.