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Brandon Johnson's late push lifts San Diego

Jan 29, 2008 - 7:35 AM SAN DIEGO (Ticker) -- Brandon Johnson's late push kept San Diego from dealing with another close game.

Johnson scored 10 of his 25 points over the final four minutes as the Toreros knocked off No. 20 Saint Mary's, 63-55, in a West Coast Conference showdown on Monday.

Having won three of its last four games by five points or less, San Diego (11-11, 4-1 WCC) found itself in another tight affair, especially after freshman Trumaine Johnson's jumper with 5:28 remaining tied the score at 48-48.

It was a big shot for the first-year guard, who finished with just four points on 1-of-2 shooting.

After Patrick Mills came up short on a 3-pointer for Saint Mary's on the other end, Brandon Johnson took over. The junior guard connected on his second basket from the arc with 3:54 to go.

With the Gaels missing four straight field goals, De'Jon Jackson added a jumper for a 53-48 lead with 2:49 remaining before Brandon Johnson added five consecutive points over the next minute.

Although Mills and Todd Golden responded with a jumper and a 3-pointer for Saint Mary's, Brandon Johnson's two free throws with 40 seconds to play made it 60-53.

Jackson added three free throws in the closing 27 seconds to secure the third straight win for the Toreros.

While San Diego caught fire in the second half by shooting 67 percent (14-of-21), Saint Mary's (17-3, 4-1) went 9-of-27 from the field after halftime to have its five-game winning streak end.

Brandon Johnson finished 9-of-15 from the field, including 3-of-5 from the arc, en route to his seventh game with at least 20 points. The junior point guard had 26 in a loss at Gonzaga on January 19 and had back-to-back 27-point efforts against Kentucky and Marshall from December 29-31.

Gyno Pomare added 20 points and seven rebounds and Jackson ended up with nine and seven for the Toreros, who overcame a 31-27 deficit on the boards by shooting 56 percent (24-of-43).

San Diego topped a ranked team for just the third time in school history, and the first since beating UCLA in overtime on November 26, 2002.

The loss also dropped the Gaels out of a first-place tie with Gonzaga atop the West Coast Conference standings.

Mills had 13 points and Omar Samhan added 11 and 10 boards for Saint Mary's, which finished 40 percent (21-of-53) from the field and committed 16 turnovers.