USC takes care of California 71-57
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Nikola Jovanovic scored 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead Southern Cal past California 71-57 on Wednesday night for its first conference win.
Julian Jacobs scored 10 of his 17 points in the second half and had five assists for the Trojans (9-6, 1-2 Pac-12). Katin Reinhardt hit both of USC’s 3-pointers and finished with 16 points. The Trojans were just 2 of 15 (13.3 percent) from beyond the arc.
For USC coach Andy Enfield, starting the conference at Colorado and Utah last week – and the intensity the Buffaloes and Utes showed – was a shock to his young team.
But on Wednesday, Jovanovic made 9 of 14 attempts from the field to help USC shoot 42.6 percent.
”Tonight we had that intensity,” Enfield said. ”We played very well together. We played a composed game. I’m proud of our guys. They played a lot better and smarter.”
Tyrone Wallace scored 21 points and Jordan Mathews added 17 for the Golden Bears (11-5, 1-2), who were playing in their first road game in more than a month.
Cal coach Cuonzo Martin had seen a game like this coming, one in which a feeble effort wouldn’t get the job done. Cal’s early season wins included ranked Syracuse and Washington, but they also lost to Cal State Bakersfield and Washington State.
”I said this to our guys: `We’ve got to get a level of toughness,”’ Martin said after USC scored 42 points in the paint. ”Now, they understand.”
”We were soft,” Cal forward David Kravish added. ”We didn’t play with a sense of urgency.”
USC trailed 6-4 early and then scored 19 of the game’s next 21 points, led by Reinhardt’s eight points, and held a 38-29 advantage at the break.
Jacobs scored the first four points of the second half, added a bucket as part of a decisive 7-0 second-half spurt, and his free throw shooting helped USC maintain its double-digit lead late.
Reinhardt’s 3-pointer – the team’s first after 10 misses – capped a 7-0 spurt that gave the Trojans a 53-39 lead midway through the second half.
Cal: Roger Moute a Bidias and Kingsley Okoroh made their first starts of the season, replacing Christian Behrens and Sam Singer. . It was Cal’s first game on the road since Dec. 7 at Nevada.
USC: The Trojans are averaging 6.9 steals per game, third in the conference. They had five Wednesday. . Forty-two of the Trojans’ points were in the paint. . USC’s 3-point-shooting struggles continue. The team missed all seven first-half attempts and finished 3 of 16. USC is making just 30 percent for the season.
Cal travels to face UCLA on Sunday.
USC hosts Stanford on Sunday.