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USC Holds Off Cal, 76-68

Jan 23, 2021
Joel Brown finished with  a career-best 15 points, making 6-of-8 shots from the floor.

Box Score (PDF) | Postgame Notes | Boxscore

BERKELEY – Joel Brown scored a career-high 15 points and California battled USC in a back-and-forth contest, but the Trojans pulled away in the end and downed the Golden Bears, 76-68, Saturday at Haas Pavilion.
Cal (7-10, 2-8 Pac-12) fell behind by double digits early and battled back to take as much as a four-point lead. However, USC (12-3, 6-2 Pac-12) used its size advantage on the glass to its benefit, snaring 17 offensive boards and converting them into 16 second-chance points.

Matt Bradley, Cal's leading scorer who missed the previous five games with an ankle injury, returned to the court for the first time since Jan. 2. He entered the game at the 16:15 mark of the first half and finished with 11 points. Grant Anticevich matched Brown for team-high honors with 15 points.
D.J. Thorpe saw his most significant action of the year, playing 18 minutes, and grabbed a season-high six rebounds before fouling out with 59 seconds left.
Evan Mobley paced USC with 25 points, with 17 coming in the second half.
USC raced out to a 15-4 lead five minutes into the game. But Cal responded with a 10-2 run, keyed by five points from Brown and a 3-pointer from Makale Foreman, forcing the Trojans to call a time out with 12:31 left in the period and the margin down to 17-14.
The teams kept close to one another for the next several minutes, and when Foreman hit two free throws with 6:28 remaining in the first half, Cal had tied the score at 22-22. Bradley then gave the Bears their first lead with a 3-pointer at 25-24. At halftime, USC held a 35-34 edge.
After the break, Jarred Hyder was fouled while making a 3-pointer and after he sank the ensuing free throw, the Bears had a 42-40 lead. Brown gave the Bears a 4-point advantage at 55-51 on a driving layup at the 10-minute mark.
Cal still had a 57-56 lead with 8:37 to go, but at that point, USC edged back in front and was able to hold off the Bears the rest of the way. A Ryan Betley 3-pointer brought Cal within 68-66. However, the Trojans grew their lead for their sixth consecutive win in the series.
Cal makes a swing through the state of Arizona, starting with a game at Arizona State on Thursday, Jan. 28. The game will tip off at 8 p.m. PT and be televised on FS1.
For complete coverage of Cal men's basketball, please follow the Bears on Twitter (@CalMBBall), Instagram (@CalMBBball) and Facebook (/CalMBBall/).