Bears Outlast Trojans In OT Thriller, 92-91
Jan. 24, 2002
By JOHN NADEL
AP Sports Writer
LOS ANGELES - The Pacific-10 Conference's worst 3-point shooting teamsuddenly got a whole lot better.
Shantay Legans' 3-pointer with three seconds remaining in overtime -California's school-record 15th 3 of the game - lifted the Golden Bears to a92-91 victory over No. 23 Southern California on Thursday night.
Legans scored the final five points for the Bears (14-3, 5-2 Pac-10), off totheir best start in 42 years.
The Bears made three 3-pointers in overtime after Brian Wethers' 3 with 4.6seconds to play in regulation forced the overtime.
Cal finished 15-of-28 from 3-point range (53.6 percent) after going91-of-307 (29.6 percent) this season.
'They were the worst 3-point shooting team in the Pac-10 coming in, soyou've got to go with the percentages,' USC coach Henry Bibby said. 'But onthe last play, we wanted our guys to be up on them.
'It's a tough loss for us, a tough loss.'
Legans said the final play was being run for teammate Joe Shipp.
'They double-teamed him,' said Legans, a 5-foot-10 junior. 'He kicked itback to me. I did want the shot, I always want the shot.'
USC (14-4, 6-2) took a 91-87 lead on a jumper by Sam Clancy with 1:05remaining and two free throws by Brandon Granville with 37 seconds left, butLegans made a layup 10 seconds later to draw the Bears within two.
Cal got the ball back when they forced a jump ball with 14 seconds to go,and the Bears worked the ball around before Legans nailed his shot from theleft wing.
That was the Bears' first lead since they went on top 49-48 with 15:08 toplay in the second half. USC was unable to get off a shot before time expired.
Legans, a reserve, hadn't scored since the first half before scoring thefinal five points. He finished with 13 points and four assists.
'This game was a real shootout,' Cal coach Ben Braun said. 'Toward theend, we made some crucial stops. The jump ball at the end was big. We wanted tocontain Granville on that possession. He was looking for the foul, but we gotthe big play.'
Wethers, another reserve, led the Bears with a season-high 24 points - allbut four after halftime. Shipp added 20, including two 3-pointers late in thesecond half and another in overtime, and also had nine rebounds.
'That's probably the most exciting game I've ever played in,' saidWethers, a junior who fell three points short of his career-high.
Of Legans, Wethers said: 'I saw it in his eye, I kind of thought he wasgoing to let it go. He plays big.'
Clancy led the Trojans with 26 points and 11 rebounds. David Bluthenthaladded 20 points, but scored only three in the second half on his sixth andfinal 3-pointer. Granville added 19 points and six assists.
A 3-pointer by Desmon Farmer and a baseline jumper by Clancy capped a 16-5run that gave the Trojans a 64-54 lead with 10:12 remaining. Neither team ledby more than five points before the spurt.
Cal cut USC's lead to 77-76 on a 3-pointer by Shipp with 1:17 to play and asteal and layin by A.J. Diggs with 45 seconds left.
Errick Craven's tip-in with 10 seconds to go put USC up by three points, butWethers hit from the right corner to tie it. Craven's 25-footer as time ran outhit the back rim and bounced away.
'I would have loved to have watched this game, it was pretty exciting,'Granville said with a forced smile. 'But I don't care how good the game is,I'll take a bad game and a win anytime.'
The Bears and Trojans entered the game ranked first and fourth,respectively, in scoring defense in the Pac-10, but there was plenty of offensein the first half as USC took a 42-40 lead.
Bluthenthal went 5-for-6 from 3-point range in the half including atwo-hander from about 55 feet away as time expired to cap an 8-3 run and putthe Trojans on top.
Cal's previous 16 opponents averaged 60.8 points and USC's first 17 averaged66.7.
The game was played before a crowd of 7,982 at the Los Angeles Sports Arena.