BERKELEY (AP) — Isaiah Mobley had 19 points and nine rebounds and sparked a late surge to help keep No. 7 Southern California unbeaten as the Trojans held off California 77-63 on Thursday night.
Playing for the first time in nearly three weeks after having three games postponed or canceled due to COVID issues, USC (13-0, 3-0 Pac-12) pulled away with a pair of big runs in the second half to extend its best start since winning its first 14 in 2017.READ MORE: Suspect ID'd As Shawn Laval Smith In Murder Of Brianna Kupfer, Hancock Park Furniture Store Employee Found Stabbed
Mobley, who opened the game with a thunderous one-handed dunk, made several clutch jumpers and repeatedly attacked the Golden Bears defense in the paint. Drew Peterson scored a season-high 17 points for the Trojans, and Boogie Ellis added 14 points and four rebounds.
Grant Anticevich had 19 points for California (9-6, 2-2), and Jordan Shepherd added 17 points.
The Golden Bears lost despite becoming the first team to shoot better than 40% against the Trojans.
Mobley scored 12 points in the first half and had a 36-31 halftime lead, but USC couldn’t shake the Bears until the second half.
Ellis scored on a pair of driving layups as part of a 10-4 run to open the second half and give the Trojans a 46-38 lead. After Cal closed to 54-50 on Anticevich’s baseline jumper, Mobley powered in from the key then hit a 3-pointer to ignite a 16-5 surge.READ MORE: Man Climbs Downtown Transmission Tower Prompting Train Closures On West Side Of LA River
Southern California: The sluggish start can be written off thanks to the lengthy layoff, because once the Trojans found their rhythm, they looked fine. Mobley kept the offense going and Peterson provided a big lift, connecting on a late 3-pointer to put the game away. USC gets another break due to COVID-19 in an opponent, but isn’t likely to be as long as the previous one.
California: The Golden Bears had won their last nine home games and put up a decent fight against a ranked team that was clearly superior. Mark Fox’s team needs to work on the boards, but the program in general is looking up.
Southern California: The Trojans were scheduled to play at Stanford on Saturday but it has been postponed due to ongoing COVID-19 issues within the Cardinal’s program. USC’s next scheduled game is hosting Oregon State on Jan 13.
California: Faces No. 5 UCLA at Haas Pavilion on Saturday. It marks the first time since 1975 that the Bears have faced two Top 10 teams in the same week.MORE NEWS: Thieves Litter Train Tracks With Family Mementos
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