FINAL SCORE: Cal 53, USC 49. Jones missed an off-balance 3-pointer in the final seconds. Bears are 11-3, 1-0 in the Pac-12. USC is 5-9, 0-1. Gutierrez finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Kamp and Crabbe each scored 12. Jones had 17 for USC.
08.4 2nd H: Crabbe just made three FTs after Dedmon blocked a layup try to Gutierrez and Cal leads 53-49. Crabbe simply was trying to get a shot off before the shot clock expired and USC’s Eric Strangis fouled him.
3:00 2nd H: Jones just hit his second step-back 3-pointer and USC trails just 48-44.
7:42 2nd H: This game is starting to be played the way the Trojans want it — ugly. USC trails just 44-34 as the Bears fight foul issues. Kamp and Kravish each have four. So far, the Bears have control of things.
11:43 2nd H: Cal leads 40-26 despite mounting foul troubles. Kamp has four, Gutierrez and Kravish have three apiece. Kamp stayed in the game after picking up No. 4 at 13:49 and leads the Bears with 12 points, equaling his high game since scoring 16 vs Georgia on Nov. 21.
15:17 2nd H: Cal leads 36-21, thanks mostly to USC’s 1-for-10 shooting in the half. The Trojans are down to 27 percent for the game. But they keep getting second chances — 14 offensive rebounds. Montgomery is giving Robert Thurman a chance to try to get his hands on a rebound. Gutierrez came out at 16:04 with his third foul and Kravish just got his third.
17:07 2nd H: Cobbs just converted a layup off a feed from Gutierrez and Cal has its biggest lead, 36-21. Dedmon picked up his third foul just 12 seconds into the half and is on the bench. USC is 0 for 6 from the free throw line. Bears’ only issue right now: USC has 12 offensive rebounds.
THESE SCORES JUST IN: Washington leads Oregon State 50-39 at halftime in Seattle. And Oregon is up 54-34 at Washington State at the half.
HALFTIME SCORE: Cal 31, USC 19. The Bears scored the final six points of the half, blanking the Trojans over the final 4:46. USC missed its last seven shots of the half. Gutierrez has 11 points, four assists and three rebounds for Cal. Kamp and Crabbe each have two fouls. Cal is shooting 59.1 percent, USC 33.3 percent.
3:05 1st H: USC got the margin down to 25-16 but the Bears have stretched it back out to 28-19 after a jumper by Gutierrez. Cal shooting 63.2 percent, USC 39.1 percent. Cal leads the Pac-12 in FT accuracy but has made just 3 of 7 so far.
7:26 1st H: Cal leads 24-14 after a layup by Kravish, but things aren’t coming so easily anymore. Cal had the Trojans back up on their heels early, but USC is playing more aggressively now.
10:40 1st H: Kamp just picked up PF No. 2 and has come out for Bak Bak.
10:51 1st H: Brandon Smith entering the game for Cobbs — Cal’s first sub. Bears lead 19-12. Dedmon is playing well for USC — very active and has six points. Bears shooting 69.2 percent, USC 54.5 percent.
12:59 1st H: Gutierrez just hit a 3-pointer and Cal leads 17-8. Bears are shooting 8 for 11 — 72.7 percent.
15:51 1st H: Cal leads 12-8, having shot 6 for 7 from the field. Six layups or dunks. Kamp has eight points and Gutierrez already has four assists. Dedmon, the sophomore 7-footer, got loose for a pair of dunks for USC but now is sitting on the bench. Not sure defense-minded coach Kevin O’Neill can be happy about things so far.
ELSEWHERE IN THE PAC: Three other games tonight as the first Pac-12 season gets under way. Oregon State is at Washington (an intriguing matchup) and Oregon visits Washington State in a pair of 6 p.m. tipoffs. UCLA plays at Stanford, beginning at 8 p.m.
STARTING LINEUPS: Cal will start Allen Crabbe, Jorge Gutierrez, Justin Cobbs, Harper Kamp and David Kravish. USC will go with Dewayne Dedmon, Aaron Fuller, Alexis Moore, Maurice Jones and Byron Wesley.
PERSONNEL UPDATE: As expected, Richard Solomon is not dressed and won’t play. But redshirt freshman wing Alex Rossi, whose year-and-a-half at Cal has been one long waiting game due to a lingering lower abdominal/groin injury. Well, Rossi is in uniform tonight and could play for the first time as a college player. Also, freshman forward Christian Behrens, who played 3 minutes at UNLV last Friday, also is available now.
WELCOME: Got home from San Diego and the Holiday Bowl about 5 hours ago, and we’ve got some basketball. The Bears (10-3) take on USC (5-8) in the Pac-12 Conference opener. Will be back with starting lineups.