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Isaiah Mobley, Boogie Ellis Lead No. 15 USC Men's Basketball In 79-72 Shootout Win Over California

Jan 29, 2022

LOS ANGELES — Isaiah Mobley and Boogie Ellis both recorded season highs in points with 24 and 21, respectively, as No. 15 USC men's basketball defeated California, 79-72, at home on Saturday night.

Mobley also grabbed six rebounds. Chevez Goodwin added 10 points despite playing limited minutes due to foul trouble.

The Trojans (18-3, 8-3 Pac-12) bounced back after taking a 64-61 loss against Stanford on Thursday night and completed a season sweep against the Golden Bears (9-12, 2-8 Pac-12), which are on a seven-game losing streak.

"Cal played outstanding offensive basketball," said USC head coach Andy Enfield. "They made shot after shot and competed at a high level. They played well. It took everything we had."

USC finished the game with just four turnovers on Saturday night after committing 14 two nights prior against Stanford. Enfield credited the improvement to Ethan Anderson, who was interted into the starting lineup and was a plus-nine on the court with five assists.

"The turnovers hurt us against Stanford," Enfield said. "It was the difference in the game. That was a point of emphasis today. That's why Ethan was so important today."

The Trojans defeated Cal despite the Golden Bears having their second-best shooting performance of the season at 50%. USC made 21 free throws on 28 attempts, both totals being season highs.

Like the Trojans' past two games, USC fell in a hole early in the first half but rallied before halftime.

The Golden Bears found the hot hand out of the tip, sinking eight of their first 10 field goal attempts to take a 20-9 lead at the 12:10 mark.

USC responded by pressuring Cal in foul trouble. Two free throws and an and-one play from Isaiah Mobley sparked the Trojans' comeback, followed by a steal from Reese Dixon-Waters and Ethan Anderson's fastbreak layup that inspired several other hustle plays. USC made eight of nine field goal attempts in a 26-7 stretch that gave the Trojans a seven-point lead at halftime.

"We can't keep coming out like that," Ellis said, describing USC's unsatisfied demeanor after the win. "We have to punch teams first, especially at home."

USC held the lead for the entire second half but couldn't put away Cal until the final buzzer. Ellis made a layup and a 3-pointer in consecutive possessions that gave the Trojans their largest lead with eight points, but the Golden Bears quickly answered with five straight points.

USC scored four unanswered before California made another five straight to cut the Trojan lead to two with 2:21 left.

"Credit to Cal, they made some huge shots," Anderson said.

In crunch time, Mobley hit a running hook shot with that put the Trojans up five with 1:06 left in the game. With the Golden Bears running out of time and making just two field goals in the final two minutes, Drew Peterson sank four consecutive free throws to make the result final.

"That was our fifth game in 10 days, we're very tired," Enfield said. "Credit to our players, we've gone 4-1 in that stretch and we were 20 seconds away from being 5-0."

The Trojans head back on the road next, visiting Arizona State on Thursday and No. 3 Arizona on Feb. 5. USC returns to the Galen Center the following week to face crosstown rival No. 7 UCLA on Feb. 12

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