Jan. 21, 2011
California (9-9, 2-4) at USC (11-8, 3-3)
Date: Saturday, Jan. 22, 2011
Time: 8 p.m. PT
Location: Galen Center, Los Angeles, Calif.
TV: CSN Plus
Radio: KNEW 910 / Sirius 121 / XM 141
California goes for a split of the Los Angeles road trip Saturday night at USC. The Golden Bears (9-9, 2-4) lost on a buzzer beater at UCLA on Thursday after coming back from a 15-point deficit in the second half. Cal will try to get the bad taste out of its mouth against the Trojans Saturday, Jan. 22, at 8 p.m. at the Galen Center.
UCLA held numerous double-digit leads throughout the contest, and seemed to have the game in-hand. With six minutes left, the Bears outscored the Bruins, 28-18, including a 21-9 run. UCLA still held an eight-point lead with a minute left, but the stingy Cal defense forced turnovers and made timely baskets, including freshman guard Allen Crabbe's three-pointer with 10 seconds left to tie the game. A tip in by Reeves Nelson at the buzzer gave the Bruins the win.
Since the start of Pac-10 play, nobody has come on stronger for the Bears than Crabbe. Averaging just under 17.3 ppg in the six conference games played thus far, Crabbe has shown more aggressiveness on the court since the departure of Gary Franklin. His early success in Pac-10 games was highlighted by his career-high 30 points against Washington State on Jan. 13 after tying his then-season high of 17 points in the previous two games. An efficient free throw shooter, Crabbe boasts an 83.7 percentage (41-49) at the line that ranks third in the conference. Junior forward Harper Kamp leads the team and is second in the Pac-10 at 84.5 percent (71-84). Last Thursday, Kamp was a perfect 9-for-9 at the line, while Crabbe finished 6-for-7.
Besides Crabbe, another Bear who has taken on a larger role in recent weeks is fellow freshman Richard Solomon. The 6-10 forward has posted double-digit scoring performances in the last two games - career-high 14 points vs. Washington, 12 points at UCLA. Solomon is averaging 5.8 ppg and is the team's leading shot blocker with 10. In the last three games, he is 12-for-14 from the field and 10-for-16 from the free throw line.
Cal has also been successful in the rebounding department for most of the season. After outrebounding Arizona State by 16 on Jan. 8, the Bears tallied nine more boards than Washington State on Jan. 13. Cal has outrebounded 11 of its 18 opponents this season Senior center Markhuri Sanders-Frison leads the team on the boards at 7.9 rpg.
Facing four opponents currently in the AP Top 20, Cal currently boasts a strength of schedule ranking of No. 3. Earlier this season, the Bears faced No. 2 Kansas, No. 6 San Diego State, No. 16 Notre Dame (which was not ranked when the teams met) and No. 20 Washington. The Bears also beat then-No. 20 Temple, 57-50, on Nov. 26, in the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla.