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Edinboro rallies to upset California

| Thursday, Jan. 11, 2001

Edinboro snapped a decade-long drought Wednesday night by rallying for an 88-78 victory at California, Pa.

'We haven't won here for 10 years,' Edinboro guard Blake Johnson said. 'Coach told us about it before the game, and he said tonight was the perfect night to change that.'

Johnson was the catalyst, taking charge of the game for a seven-minute stretch in the second half when Cal seemed ready to gain control. He finished with a game- and season-high 31 points, including five 3-pointers.

'Blake's a terrific player,' Edinboro coach Greg Walcavich said. 'Tonight, he hit his shots. He doesn't hit 'em every night, but he did tonight.'

Johnson, a junior transfer from Jamestown (N.Y.) Community College, was deadly from long range. His decisive scoring splurge began with 10:14 to play, and it included two foul shots and three 3s. He scored 13 of Edinboro's 17 points during the stretch.

'My confidence has been there all season,' he said. 'I just got into a rhythm tonight.'

Johnson was so hot, he wore himself out. With 2 &*#189; minutes left, he signaled for a replacement and flopped onto the sideline.

'I told coach to take me out so I could catch my breath,' Johnson said, smiling. 'I didn't want to stay in there and wind up hurting the team.'

Edinboro (10-3, 1-0 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference) shot 52 percent for the game. Kenny Tate had a double-double - 15 points, 11 rebounds - and James Dickerson and Adam Kaufman (Montour) added 14 points apiece.

'We think we're pretty good,' Walcavich said. 'How good, we don't know yet. I thought we were ready to play on the road, even though we were 0-3 coming in.'

Guard Ishmieal Kamara led Cal (9-3, 0-1) with 27 points, nearly three times his season average. The sophomore from Dublin, Ohio, racked up 18 points in the first half, but made just 3 of 7 shots in the second.

Cal's top gun, senior forward Seth Martin, was held to 17 points, two below his season average. Martin, a transfer from Ohio University, was named PSAC player of the week on Monday, but struggled last night.

Coming into the game, Cal was ranked fourth and Edinboro was 10th in the PSAC West Region poll.

Cal scored the game's first seven points, later trailed by 10 and wound up behind by six at halftime. The Vulcans took their last lead of the first half, 19-18, on Kamara's 3-point play with 12:35 left.

Cal took its final lead, 58-56, on a turnaround jumper by Gary Hicks with 12:59 to play. A layup by Chris Summers tied it, and Tate's breakaway jam put Edinboro ahead for good with 11:45 left.

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