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Opening The 12 Pac, 12/20/11: Cal Basketball Perseveres, ASU Basketball Stumbles

Busy night of basketball, and the Pac-12 actually did well tonight! This is always cause for celebration.

Cal 70, UC Santa Barbara 50

With almost everyone else in the conference fumbling around, the Golden Bears are still looking like the prohibitive favorite. Missing two of their starters against a pretty solid UCSB squad, the Gauchos simply got shot out of the building thanks to a career performance by a crucial cog to Cal's tournament chances.

Justin Cobbs laughed at my lack of faith, to the tune of 25 points on 10-12 shooting and spectacular defense on NBA-ready guard Orlando Johnson. Whenever you average more than 2 points per shot you probably had a pretty amazing offensive game. And to play a major role in holding the other team's best player to 9 points on 4-13 shooting? All while spending 38 minutes on the court? In his post game interview with Roxy, Monty described Cobbs's effort as 'spectacular,' which is about as strong a superlative as you'll ever hear him use.

Stanford 75, Bethune Cookman 56

Anthony Brown is making a potentially deadly Stanford squad even deadlier with his presence.

Brown has reached double figures in scoring in three of his last four games after reaching double digits twice in his first seven.

"He's playing more instinctive," Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said. "He has been battling injuries, really, since last spring. As he gets better, he's getting better results and he'll continue to progress."

Colorado 70, CSU Bakersfield 64

The Buffs are making it their goal to make sure that their basketball games come down to a coin flip. They are succeeding.

The Buffaloes never make it easy, but they ended up beating CSU Bakersfield 70-64. They seem to always play down to their opponent's level of play. Through the first eight minutes of the first half, they scored four points. Conference play is almost here and the Buffaloes still have a lot of work to do. Bottom line as always, the Buffaloes won. They made it way too close, but they won

USC 83, TCU 59

All the Trojans needed to negate their horrid offense was to find a team that was more than happy to play horrid defense. The Horned Frogs obliged.

Unlike some of its past games, USC played with force from start to finish.

"We started off the game aggressively, with energy, and everybody feeds off that," said center Dewayne Dedmon, who scored 14 points and grabbed six rebounds.

It worked.

USC scored more points in the first half (a season-high 42) and second (41) than it had in whole games this season.

Southern Miss 64, ASU 61

The Sun Devils are getting real good at losing in the final seconds.

Forward Darnell Dodson drained a three at the buzzer after Arizona State had tied the game with five seconds left, giving Southern Mississippi a 64-61 win over ASU Monday night at Wells Fargo Arena.

The key stat of the game was an 18-5 deficit on the offensive boards, USM dominating with hustle after missed shots.

"The single biggest factor was their offensive rebounding," coach Herb Sendek said. "We had a hard time with their athleticism and size."

Utah 62, Portland 57

When struggling to beat anyone, find a team that is just bad as you are. Then win!

Utah is now 3-8 and have cleared the possibility of being the worst Big Six team in college basketball history.

Hopefully this is really a turning point and more wins follow.