Galen Center Los Angeles

California Golden Bears vs. Southern California Trojans Pick & Prediction JAN 29TH 2022

Logo California Golden Bears
Logo Southern California Trojans

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No. 15 USC will aim to bounce back Saturday when it hosts sputtering Pac-12 Conference counterpart Cal in Los Angeles.

The Trojans (17-3, 7-3 Pac-12) were beaten at home by Stanford on Thursday, 64-61, giving the Cardinal a season sweep of the Trojans. Cal (9-11, 2-7) is coming off its sixth straight loss.

USC dug a nine-point hole early on Thursday, then rallied to take a six-point halftime lead. But the Trojans gave up eight of their 14 turnovers on the night in the second half and shot just 9 of 23 from the floor after intermission. Meanwhile, Stanford went 14 of 28 from the floor in the second half.

"I'm disappointed with our upperclassmen. We made errant passes, that was frustrating," USC coach Andy Enfield said. "Fourteen turnovers is too many. That's on us."

USC averages 11.5 turnovers per game, which ranked 53rd nationally as of Friday. The Trojans have registered double-digit turnovers in 12 of their past 13 games.

The lone outlier in that stretch was when the Trojans and Golden Bears last faced -- a 77-63 USC win at Cal on Jan. 6 -- when USC committed only nine turnovers and shot 53.4 percent from the field.

Enfield often uses a lineup with four players who are at least 6-foot-9, including wings Drew Peterson and Max Agbonkpolo. Chevez Goodwin and Isaiah Mobley man the interior.

Mobley has emerged as the all-around top playmaker on the USC roster with team-leading averages of 14.4 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game. Goodwin is second on the team in both scoring and rebounding, averaging 12.4 points and 7.2 boards per game. Peterson posts per-game averages of 11.6 points, six rebounds and 3.1 assists.

"We can't come out flat anymore," Mobley said. "We need to fix what we need to fix and move forward."

Cal comes into this matchup off of an 81-57 loss Thursday at UCLA. The Golden Bears forced the Bruins into only nine turnovers while committing 17 on the other end. UCLA scored 16 points off those turnovers from the Golden Bears and shot 52.6 percent from the floor.

"We have to find some answers there because our team will only have chances to win if we play great on the defensive end," Cal coach Mark Fox said on his postgame radio show. "We did not do that today."

Defensive struggles snowballed on Thursday when combined with offensive woes. Cal did not have a double-figure scorer until Sam Alajiki reached 11 points on a 3-pointer with 1:16 remaining in regulation. It was the first double-digit scoring outing of the season for the freshman from Ireland.

Cal has failed to score at least 60 points in four of the six losses in the ongoing skid. The 63 points the Golden Bears scored against USC were their second-highest total of the losing streak.

Jordan Shepherd, Cal's season-long leading scorer at 14.4 points per game, is coming of a nine-point performance on 4-of-12 shooting at UCLA. He scored 17 points in the previous game against USC.

--Field Level Media

California Golden Bears
Southern California Trojans

California Golden Bears vs. Southern California Trojans

USC held Cal to 33.9 percent shooting from the floor and rolled to an 88-56 rout Thursday at the Galen Center.

The Trojans (14-3, 3-1 Pac-12 Conference) went on an 11-1 run in the late first half, and a 10-0 spurt midway through the second half, capitalizing on a pair of Cal field-goal droughts that both lasted almost four minutes.

Those two surges made the difference for USC. The Trojans combined suffocating defense with aggressive work on the boards, outrebounding the Golden Bears, 45-28.

Onyeka Okongwu led with eight rebounds, and was one of three Trojans to score in double-figures with 17 points. Okongwu also bolstered the defensive effort with three blocked shots.

Daniel Utomi scored 17 points off the bench and grabbed seven rebounds. Jonah Mathews shot 3-of-5 from behind the 3-point line en route to a game-high 19 points.

Cal (8-9, 2-2) came into Thursday's matchup with a pair of dramatic wins last week against Washington State and Washington. Matt Bradley earned Pac-12 Player of the Year after making game-winners in both contests.

Bradley scored 13 points against USC, but shot just 5-of-13 from the floor. Kareem South, who added 12 points, shot 5-of-12 from the field.

Compounding Cal's scoring woes was its inability for teammates to set one another up for looks. Just eight of the Golden Bears' 20 made field goals were assisted.

In contrast, USC's Ethan Anderson and Nick Rakocevic passed for four assists apiece to lead the Trojans on a night in which 21 of their 26 buckets were assisted.

USC's unselfish and balanced play extended to the all-around scoring effort. Ten different Trojans made at least one field goal. Rakocevic scored nine points, Elijah Weaver notched eight points and Max Agbonkpolo knocked down both of his 3-point attempts en route to seven points.

--Field Level Media

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