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FINAL SCORE: Cal 76, USC 68. Bears outscore USC 25-7 over the final 5:35 to win their fifth game in six. Cal improves to 16-9, 8-5 in the Pac-12. Crabbe had 23 points and 10 rebounds and Cobbs scored 22. Bears pull into a tie for fourth place with Arizona State.
Crabbe and Montgomery both confirmed an incident during a timeout with 16:31 left when the coach gave his star player a little shove and yelled, “Do you want to play?”
“Just coach using his way of motivating me,” Crabbe said. “Just spur of the moment. It was a emotional game at the time. He was trying to motivate me. Everything’s fine. It’s under the bridge. He’s my coach.”
So, it was effective? “Yeah, obviously,” Crabbe said. “He motivated me well.”
Said Montgomery: “It worked, didn’t it? We were standing around. Nobody was ready to play. Allen had come down twice and went to the wrong side of the floor and his guy hit two 3-pointers.
“I was trying to get him going … it was probably over-exaggerated.”
11:21 2nd H: They’re playing the theme from “Shaft,” and Cal still down by eight points. Cobbs shooting a pair after the timeout. Solomon playing very well again with 11 points and six rebounds. Terrell has 15 points for the Trojans.
12:31 2nd H: Bears have scored last seven points, pulling within 47-39. Will be interesting,
15:43 2nd H: Monty put Crabbe and Solomon back into the game at 16:19. Not sure what the heck happened during the previous break. USC’s lead reached 47-32 — capping a 13-0 run — before Cobbs just scored on a drive to the basket. He is shooting one FT after the timeout. Cal facing quite a climb, trailing 47-32.
16:31 2nd H: These Trojans mean business. They have a 10-0 run going and lead 44-32. USC shooting 5 for 5 in the half, including a pair of 3-pointers by Byron Wesley. Crabbe appears agitated and has gone into the tunnel next to Cal’s bench. He is out of the game as play resumes.
HALFTIME SCORE: USC 32, Cal 28. Bears actually shooting better (45.8 percent to 39.4), but nine Cal turnovers are the difference. Crabbe has nine points, but four turnovers. Terrell, who did not play when the teams met in L.A. last month, leads the Trojans with 10 points on 4 for 11 from the field.
3:50 1st H: Bears got within 25-22 on a 3-pointer by Crabbe and a flying putback slam by Kravish. But Fontan just spun past Brandon Smith for a layup and gets a FT after the timeout. It’s 27-22 Trojans.
5:24 1st H: USC in midst of 16-2 run and leads 25-17. Cal shooting 38.9 percent with six turnovers. USC shooting no better, but has just one TO.
7:55 1st H: Cal’s run reached 13-0, but USC has answered with its own 11-point surge, which could grow when Dewayne Dedmon goes to the FG line for one shot after scoring and drawing a foul (No.2) against Richard Solomon. USC leads 20-15. Cal has turned the ball over on its past four possessions and had a shot blocked before that. In other words, five trips down the court without even hitting the rim with a shot.
11:51 1st H: Cal shooting the lights out? Well, at least the shotclock lights, which have gone blank for the second time tonight. So a brief break in the action. They’re playing some funky ’70s music during timeouts.
11:51 1st H: Bears on a 12-0 run and lead 14-9. Solomon just hit a 16-foot jumper in transition. Crabbe hit a 3-pointer on Cal’s previous possession. The Bears have scored 12 points on six possessions.
14:32 1st H: USC leads 9-6 at the first timeout. Solomon with a pair of baskets for the Bears. J.T. Terrell, who did not play when these teams met in L.A., already has five points, including a 3-pointer.
MJ’S 50TH: As Michael Jordan turns 50, four of Cal’s starters wearing the new AirJordan XX8 shoes the Bears debuted Thursday against UCLA. But Cobbs has gone back to his old shoes.
’70s NIGHT AT HAAS: And Oski is wandering about in a huge Afro wig.
THIS SCORE JUST IN: In the only other Pac-12 game today, Arizona held off host Utah 68-64 to improve to 9-4 in conference, moving into a tie for second place with UCLA, one game back of Oregon.
LINEUPS: USC will start Dewayne Dedmon, Eric Wise, Byron Wesley, J.T. Terrell and Jio Fontan. Cal goes with Richard Solomon, David Kravish, Allen Crabbe, Tyrone Wallace and Justin Cobbs.
WELCOME: Here again at Haas Pavilion to watch Cal (15-9, 7-5) and USC (12-13, 7-5) duel for a piece of fourth place in the Pac-12 standings. Brandon Smith, who banged his knee againsts UCLA on Thursday, is expected to play. Will be back with lineups.