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USC vs. Cal - Game Recap

Final Score: #22 USC 82, Cal 92
Current Record: 9-4
Current Ranking: #22 (AP)
Next Up: Stanford - 1/05 (Sat.)

The game wasn't televised so I can't do a proper breakdown of the game, but based on Ben Bolch's write-up over at, it looks like Cal took the game over and won on threes:

The No. 22 Trojans had made a habit of stifling their counterparts from long distance but couldn't contain California from beyond the three-point arc Thursday night at Haas Pavilion during a 92-82 loss in their Pacific 10 Conference opener.

The Golden Bears made 11 three-point shots, including consecutive threes from senior forward Eric Vierneisel after USC had closed to within 66-65 on a driving layup by Daniel Hackett with 7 minutes 13 seconds left.

"That's 33 points just on threes," said Trojans freshman guard O.J. Mayo, who scored a career-high 34 points. "Any time you give a team that many points on three-pointers, it's going to be tough to win."

Cal's offensive onslaught ended USC's streak of holding nine consecutive opponents to 62 points or fewer. The Bears made 11 of 25 three-point attempts (44%) against a Trojans team that had led the conference by holding opponents to 28.8% shooting from long distance before the game.

As I mentioned in my preview below, I felt the game would hinge on containing Patrick Christopher, who ended up going for 24 pts to lead the Bears. These types of games are going to happen since we focus heavily on the post against teams with talented big men, which opens up the 3. It just so happened that Cal went nearly 50% from beyond the arc and killed any momentum generated. All credit goes to Cal for their performance, but even if we go 0-2 this road trip, I won't be worried...