USC held Cal to 33.9 percent shooting from the floor and rolled to an 88-56 rout Thursday at the Galen Center.
The Trojans (14-3, 3-1 Pac-12 Conference) went on an 11-1 run in the late first half, and a 10-0 spurt midway through the second half, capitalizing on a pair of Cal field-goal droughts that both lasted almost four minutes.
Those two surges made the difference for USC. The Trojans combined suffocating defense with aggressive work on the boards, outrebounding the Golden Bears, 45-28.
Onyeka Okongwu led with eight rebounds, and was one of three Trojans to score in double-figures with 17 points. Okongwu also bolstered the defensive effort with three blocked shots.
Daniel Utomi scored 17 points off the bench and grabbed seven rebounds. Jonah Mathews shot 3-of-5 from behind the 3-point line en route to a game-high 19 points.
Cal (8-9, 2-2) came into Thursday’s matchup with a pair of dramatic wins last week against Washington State and Washington. Matt Bradley earned Pac-12 Player of the Year after making game-winners in both contests.
Bradley scored 13 points against USC, but shot just 5-of-13 from the floor. Kareem South, who added 12 points, shot 5-of-12 from the field.
Compounding Cal’s scoring woes was its inability for teammates to set one another up for looks. Just eight of the Golden Bears’ 20 made field goals were assisted.
In contrast, USC’s Ethan Anderson and Nick Rakocevic passed for four assists apiece to lead the Trojans on a night in which 21 of their 26 buckets were assisted.
USC’s unselfish and balanced play extended to the all-around scoring effort. Ten different Trojans made at least one field goal. Rakocevic scored nine points, Elijah Weaver notched eight points and Max Agbonkpolo knocked down both of his 3-point attempts en route to seven points.
—Field Level Media