March 6, 2008
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Freshman O.J. Mayo scored five of his 22 points in overtime, and Southern California beat California 93-89 Thursday night to take a big step toward earning a berth in the NCAA tournament.
Mayo also matched his career high with nine rebounds and added five assists for the Trojans, who blew a 10-point lead in the last two minutes of regulation before outscoring the Golden Bears 15-11 in the five-minute overtime to clinch fourth place in the Pacific-10 Conference.
Taj Gibson and Dwight Lewis scored 21 points each for (19-10, 10-7 Pac-10), who won for the fourth time in five games.
Patrick Christopher led Cal (15-13, 6-11) with 24 points before fouling out with 17.8 seconds remaining. Ryan Anderson, the Pac-10's leading scorer, had 22 points and 12 rebounds and Jerome Randle added 16 points for the Golden Bears.
Anderson's basket early in the overtime period gave Cal an 80-78 lead, but the Trojans scored the next 10 points to go ahead for good. Mayo's 3-pointer with three minutes left snapped an 80-80 tie and USC led the rest of the way.
The Bears got 3-pointers from Christopher, Nikola Knezevic and Anderson to trim USC's lead to 91-89 with 8.3 seconds remaining. But Mayo made two foul shots with 6.7 seconds left to complete the scoring. Southern California's Davon Jefferson, left, and California's Nikola Knezevic (13), of Serbia, collide as they fight for a loose ball during the first half of a basketball game Thursday, March 6, 2008, in Los Angeles.
Christopher made two free throws with 4.8 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the game at 78 and send it into overtime. The Trojans led 76-66 before five straight points by Randle triggered a 12-2 run by the Bears in the final two minutes of the second half.
Mayo and teammate Daniel Hackett each went 1-for-2 from the foul line in the last 29 seconds, and Mayo's long 3-pointer as time expired wasn't close.
Two 3-pointers by Randle early in the second half helped the Bears extend their lead to 50-42 before Mayo and the Trojans battled back.
Mayo, the second-leading scorer in the conference, had five points and two assists during a 12-0 spurt that gave the Trojans their first lead since the opening five minutes of the game.
Christopher scored five straight points to put Cal back on top before the Trojans went on a 10-0 run for a 64-55 lead with 8 1/2 minutes remaining.
USC led by as many as 12 points before the Bears began their comeback.
Anderson became the sixth player in Cal history to score 600 or more points in a season, and Mayo became the seventh USC player ever to accomplish the same feat.
Anderson had 11 points and six rebounds in the first half, which ended with the Bears on top 37-31. Mayo, coming off a career-high 37-point performance and averaging 27.5 points in his previous four games, shot 1-of-7 for two points in the opening 20 minutes.
The Trojans face No. 7 Stanford on Saturday in their regular-season finale, while the Bears finish at No. 3 UCLA the same day. The Pac-10 tournament will be played next week at nearby Staples Center.