ANAHEIM -- Cal coach Mike Montgomery sees potential in his team after the undefeated Golden Bears won the DirecTV Classic by running away from Pacific 78-58 on Sunday night at the Anaheim Convention Center.
But the longtime coach wants to put an asterisk next to that sentiment. Cal, which has started the season 6-0 for the first time in Montgomery's time in Berkeley, will know a lot more about how good it can be in the coming weeks.
The journey begins Sunday at Wisconsin when the Bears play a strong Big Ten team. It continues at home Dec. 9 against No. 18 UNLV and Dec. 15 against No. 14 Creighton.
"We've gotten better," Montgomery said. "I think we've got talent. It is a matter of us taking advantage of that talent."
The Bears knew exactly what to do against Pacific (3-3) when looking to their backcourt to lead the way.
Guards Allen Crabbe scored 24 points and Justin Cobbs added 20, while Brandon Smith had 11 points and six assists.
Cal used an 8-0 run with 3 minutes left to win going away after weathering a challenge from the stubborn Tigers.
Crabbe made it difficult on UOP defenders while making 9 of 16 field goals.
"He's not just a shooter," Pacific coach Bob Thomason lamented. "He's a scorer."
Perhaps the most promising play came from junior forward Richard Solomon, who had 14 points and eight rebounds to the relief of his coach.
"Richard has a wealth of talent," Montgomery said. "He's got to realize what he can do, what he can't do."
Solomon missed part of his sophomore season because of academic ineligibility.
Now Montgomery believes he has the pieces to make the 2012-13 season something worthwhile.
"I really do feel like we can be something special," Crabbe said. "We can only grow from here. Everybody has the same mindset."
Cobbs, in particular, showed growth in three games in Anaheim. He also had seven rebounds and five assists Sunday and was named the tournament's most valuable player.
"It's me finally finding a rhythm," Cobbs said.
Montgomery, though, wants even more from his 6-foot-2 junior playmaker.
"He is figuring out what are good things to do," the coach said. "Sometimes he has to recognize to immediately get the ball to a shooter."
Cal shot 54 percent from the field and out-rebounded the Tigers 40-31. Pacific, on the other hand, shot only 34 percent. The Tigers were even worse from beyond the arc in making 3 of 17 3 pointers.
Georgia Tech 65, Saint Mary's 56: Saint Mary's College coach Randy Bennett had little to feel good about after Georgia Tech handed the Gaels a defeat in the third-place game.
Saint Mary's lost its second consecutive game when the Yellow Jackets held Australian star Matthew Dellavedova to five points -- his lowest total in two seasons.
"We used our size or our quickness," Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory said. "We made him work for everything he got."
Dellavedova got little, and the Gaels suffered for it.
He made 1 of 8 shots, including 1 of 6 from 3-point range, and had five turnovers as Saint Mary's fumbled its way through a rugged second half.
"People have seen us and scouted us," Bennett said. "We can't be the team that Matt has to get 30 to win. We have much better players than that."
The two-time West Coast Conference reigning champion also lost Friday to future league opponent Pacific 76-66.
Gaels guard Stephen Holt said Saint Mary's (4-2) has time to figure it out.
"We lost some key seniors," said Holt, who led his team with 10 points and nine rebounds and also had four assists but four turnovers. "They'll get going. We need to correct a few things, not turn the ball over. Some guys need to step up and make some shots."
Despite outrebounding Georgia Tech by 12, Saint Mary's played too sloppily in losing to an Atlantic Coast Conference team for the 10th time in 11 games.
The 21 turnovers bothered Bennett the most.
"We're so bad in that area we can't finish a game," he said. "I'm surprised where we're at offensively. This team has a lot of room to grow."
In the first meeting between the schools, Georgia Tech (4-1) choked off the offense with double and triple teams on Dellavedova whenever he got isolated. When the Aussie Olympian found open players in the post, the big men missed some easy shots.
"We saw that all the time last year," Bennett said of the defensive tactic. "We know how to do that. That's where I'm a little surprised. We're not executing. We're going to see that until we can play through it and beat it."
Brandon Reed made 4 of 6 from 3-point range to score 19 points to lead the Yellow Jackets, who lost to Cal in the tournament semifinals Friday.