Crabbe leads California over USC

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Allen Crabbe carried the load again for California, but he got some much-needed help this time.

Crabbe and teammate Justin Cobbs account for 52 percent of their team’s offense, and they continued to do the heavy lifting for the Bears. A big difference, though, was two clutch 3-pointers by Tyrone Wallace and early contributions by Jeff Powers in a 72-64 win against USC on Saturday night.

Crabbe scored 27 points, and Wallace and Cobbs each had 10. Crabbe scored 19 points in the second half, including seven straight for the Bears (9-5, 1-1 Pac-12). He went 9 for 12 from the field and made all eight free throw attempts.

Wallace made 3-pointers during a surge that gave Cal a 66-58 lead with 1:13 remaining.

“It felt good to finally hit a 3,” Wallace said. “I don’t know how long it’s been since I hit one. But you continually believe that you can make them. I knew everybody was going to be trying to stop Allen from getting the ball, and Justin. I knew if they just came to me and I had a good look that I was supposed to shoot the ball and I have the confidence to shoot it.”

The Bears, who went 0 for 19 from 3-point range in their previous two games, made 5 of 8 from beyond the arc. Cal coach Mike Montgomery was relieved to get some balance away from Crabbe and Cobbs.

“We go 5 for 8, and it’s huge,” Montgomery said. “Ty’s 3 late and Jeff’s two 3s. It just gives you a chance to get people involved. You’re not always going to the same two places.”

Eric Wise led the Trojans (6-9, 1-1) with 14 points and Byron Wesley had 13. USC went 8 for 18 from the free throw line, including 3 for 8 in the second half.

USC was denied its first three-game winning streak since February 2011.

“It definitely hurts a lot,” USC forward Dewayne Dedmon said. “You want to protect your home court and win your conference games. We have to make free throws. That was big tonight. That was the difference in the game.”

Crabbe singlehandedly sent Cal on a 7-2 run halfway through the second half when he made four free throws and a 3-pointer for a 53-47 lead.

It was the ninth 20-point game this season for Crabbe, a Los Angeles-bred guard who is the Pac-12’s leading scorer. But Crabbe like Wallace’s game more.

“I was telling him he’s the next Shabazz Muhammad, because I know Shabazz hit one of those clutch ones,” Crabbe said in reference to the UCLA standout. “It was a dagger and Tyrone — he just shot it with confidence. It was a big play for us in the end.”

Jio Fontan had pulled USC to 44-42 when he completed a three-point play off a driving layup but the Bears came out of a television timeout and Crabbe scored on a left hand finger roll. Cal went on a 10-3 run early in the second as Crabbe hit two jumpers and David Kravish scored on a jump hook.

The Bears never trailed the last seven minutes of the first half and took a 32-29 lead into the break behind eight points from Crabbe, who got better looks in the second half.

“He’s going to be a lot better if we just don’t throw it to him on one pass and expect him to play,” Montgomery said. “If we get the ball moving and so forth, it’s going to be a lot harder to guard him. We’ve got to learn that. We get stuck on one thing and we don’t tend to move it a bit. We get him moving around, and he’s hard to guard.”

Jeff Powers sank two 3-pointers, the first of which snapped Cal’s 0 for 22 streak from 3-point range. The Bears had last made a shot from behind the arc on Dec. 22. Powers’ second 3 broke a tie at 27-all.

The teams combined for 12 turnovers and 17 fouls in the first 20 minutes. The Trojans had only two turnovers in the second half and a 13-8 edge in offensive rebounds but also went 2 for 11 from 3-point range.

“I’m very disappointed we lost,” USC coach Kevin O’Neill said. “If you look at the stat sheet, we have only seven turnovers and more offensive rebounds, but we get outrebounded and we miss too many shots. When you shoot 40 percent from the field, 18 percent from three and 44 free throws, you deserve to lose. “

O’Neill benched second-leading scorer J.T. Terrell for the first time this season.