USC’s 20-0 run buries Cal in conference opener

USC’s 20-0 run buries Cal in conference opener

Joshua Morgan scored 14 points, grabbed seven rebounds and powered a stingy Southern California defensive effort with seven blocked shots as the Trojans used a 20-0 second-half run to roll past host Cal 66-51 in the Pac-12 opener for each team on Wednesday in Berkeley, California.

USC (5-3, 1-0 Pac-12) raced out to a 13-2 lead after holding Cal scoreless for the game’s first 4:59, but the Golden Bears — seeking their first win of the season — clawed back in the second half.

Lars Thiemann’s lay-in midway through the second half pulled Cal (0-8, 0-1) to within three points, then after a USC missed shot, Kuany Kuany misfired on a jumper that would have cut the Golden Bears’ deficit to one point.

A pair of Reese Dixon-Waters free throws off his own offensive rebound on the other end sparked USC’s game-breaking run.

The Golden Bears went scoreless for 8:02 as the Trojans pushed their advantage to as many as 23 points. Dixon-Waters scored 10 of his team-high 17 points during the decisive run, including making three free throws – part of USC’s outstanding 15-of-16 performance shooting from the foul line.

Morgan was a perfect 6-of-6 at the stripe, part of his all-around excellent performance. The seven blocked shots matched his most at USC, a high he set as a Trojan in this season’s opener against Florida Gulf Coast. Morgan had an eight-block game while at Long Beach State in the 2019-20 season.

The center’s rim protection contributed to USC holding Cal to just 18-of-65 shooting from the floor. Devin Askew scored a game-high 23 points for the Golden Bears, but he went just 7-of-21 from the floor and 2-of-7 from 3-point range.

Thiemann, who scored 10 points, shot 4-of-11 from the floor, and Kuany went 3-of-11 for seven points.

Drew Peterson scored 14 points for USC on 5-of-8 shooting. He was also one of three Trojans with seven rebounds, joining Morgan and Tre White, and dished five assists.

Cal finished with just six assists as a team.

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