Southern California routs Cal for wins in 8 of its last 9
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Southern California’s hot shooting from the second half of last Saturday’s game at UCLA, carried over to Thursday night against California.
The Trojans made 50% from the floor and sank 14 3-pointers in their 88-56 rout over the Golden Bears. Jonah Mathews scored 19 points and Daniel Utomi added 17 for USC (14-3, 3-1 Pac-12), which has won eight of last nine.
It is also the first time since 2007 that the Trojans have defeated a Pac-12 foe by 30 points or more.
“Tonight we carried it on and knocked them down. We have been having better ball movement and sharing the ball over the past couple games and getting more chemistry,” Mathews said.
Utomi had a season high in points and has scored in double figures in both of his starts. The 6-foot-6 graduate transfer from Akron was inserted into the starting lineup due to his defense, but he made four 3-pointers against the Golden Bears.
“My coach and teammates are doing a good job of putting me in good positions,” Utomi said.
Onyeka Okongwu had 12 points and eight rebounds for USC, which led for all but the first 101 seconds.
“We had a very balanced effort tonight,” coach Andy Enfield said. “When our big guys got double teamed they were able to get it out to guys for open shots. That’s why it’s so important that the guards shoot well. But you have to take what the defense gives you.”
Enfield was also pleased with his team’s defense. The Trojans outrebounded the Golden Bears by 17 and held Cal to 33.9% from the floor and 5 of 25 on 3-pointers.
Bradley gave Cal its only lead with a layup 33 seconds into the game. The Trojans then scored the next six points and led the rest of the way.
South’s jumper brought the Golden Bears within 22-19 when the Trojans scored 11 of the next 12 points to put it out of reach. Utomi had four points during the run as USC was three of four from the field and made a pair of 3-pointers.
USC led 41-25 at halftime and extended its lead to 34 late in the second half.
“We didn’t shoot it very good and they shot it great. I thought our struggles offensively affected our mentality on the defensive end,” Cal coach Mark Fox said.
It is the Golden Bears’ fifth conference loss by 30 or more points since 2015.
The Trojans have won the last five games in the series. … USC missed its first four free throws before going 22 of 29. … Cal’s Grant Anticevich, who was averaging 13.3 points and six rebounds in his last four games, was 0 of 7 from the field and had five rebounds. … Bradley is shooting 7 of 17 from beyond the arc in the past three games.
California: The Golden Bears’ shooting problems weren’t just confined to Thursday night. They have made just 35% or worse in three of the last five.
USC: The Trojans remain unbeaten in 11 games this season and have won 64 of their last 66 when holding opponents under 70 points.
California: Travels to UCLA on Sunday.
USC: Hosts Pac-12 leader Stanford on Saturday.