Jan. 22, 2011
This time the last-second shot by the opposing team did not go in. Two nights after California lost a heartbreaker on a buzzer beater by UCLA, a last-second three-point attempt by USC fell short, and the Golden Bears defeated the Trojans, 68-66, Saturday night at the Galen Center in Los Angeles. It was the first time Cal won at the Galen Center in five meetings, and the first time the Bears beat USC in Los Angeles since the 2006 Pac-10 Tournament.
Two nights after five Bears reached double figures in scoring, four Cal players hit double digits against USC on Saturday, paced by Harper Kamp's 19 points. The Bears went on a 19-4 run at the end of the first half to take an eight-point lead into the half.
Cal took advantage of the Trojans' key players, including Nikola Vucevic, getting into foul trouble in the first half.
The turning point in the game came at the 3:20 mark in the second half. Kamp was fouled by Jio Fontain, and the foul was later called an intentional foul. Kamp made both free throws and Markhuri Sanders-Frison made a bucket on the ensuing possession to make it a four-point swing in the Bears' favor.
Brandon Smith had a solid night for the Bears, drilling two important three-pointers. Smith only had one trey prior tonight's game, and only had two all of last season. Smith finished with 12 points, three shy of his personal high.
Jorge Gutierrez tied his season high in steals with four, and drew a couple charge calls on the Trojans to help stifle their offense. Gutierrez was a key factor in the Bears' defensive scheme that gave USC trouble all night. The Bears forced the Trojans to take the majority of their shots from the perimeter, taking away their inside game.
USC was lucky that Donte Smith was on tonight, connecting on eight of his 12 three-point attempts to keep USC in the game.
Cal had a chance to ice the game late, preventing USC from even having a last-second chance, but the Bears failed to hit their free throws. Kamp was 7-for-10 from the line, but he and Allen Crabbe both missed some key shots that kept the Trojans alive.