USC 89, California 70
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP)—Freshman Gabe Pruitt hit five 3-pointers in the first half, and Jeff McMillan had 19 points and 10 rebounds to lead Southern California to its second road victory of the season, 89-70 over California on Saturday.
Pruitt scored all 19 of his points before halftime, and Nick Young added 15 for the Trojans (11-15, 4-11), who certainly didn’t look like the Pac-10’s last-place team while overwhelming Cal for just their second win in eight games.
Pruitt and Young picked apart the Golden Bears from outside as USC built a 15-point lead in the first half. McMillan and Gregg Guenther then scored inside while the Trojans gradually pulled away for their first win in Berkeley since 2001.
Rod Benson had 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Golden Bears (12-12, 5-9), who lost for the fourth time in five games—and reached the lowest point yet in their disappointing season. Cal looked listless and unprepared in a loss to the bottom-dwelling Trojans, making countless unforced errors and playing poor defensively.
The Trojans launched 19 3-pointers in the first half alone, hitting nine. That included five by Pruitt, who reached career highs in baskets, 3-pointers and points in Thursday’s loss at Stanford. Pruitt developed a swagger after his final two 3’s, strutting down the court on an unusually fun afternoon in a trying season for the Trojans.
Guenther finished with 12 points and eight rebounds, and Rory O’Neil had 11 points before fouling out. Pruitt also fouled out.
In the final games of interim coach Jim Saia’s tenure, USC has been exceptionally aggressive from outside. The Trojans are 43-for-98 on 3-pointers in their last four games.
Richard Midgley, the Bears’ leading scorer, had his third straight miserable game, scoring nine points on 1-for-5 shooting and six free throws. He’s 3-for-26 in his last three games.
His teammates were no better. Starting guard Ayinde Ubaka had just two points until hitting a 3-pointer in the final minute.