After watching USC guard Harold Miner tire at the end of his first two seasons, Coach George Raveling urged Miner to begin lifting weights. Miner followed Raveling's advice, and he has developed more stamina this season.
Miner's increased endurance was evident Thursday night. He scored 35 points in 37 minutes as the 15th-ranked Trojans beat California, 94-81, before 4,173 at the Sports Arena.
USC, 18-4 overall and 10-2 in the Pacific 10, regained sole possession of second place ahead of Arizona (19-4, 9-3), which lost to Arizona State, 77-74, Thursday night.
Miner made 11 of 19 shots, including three of six three-point shots. He also sank 10 of 11 free throws and grabbed seven rebounds. It was the third consecutive game and the 10th time this season that Miner has scored 30 or more points.
"For two years, I tried to get Harold to lift weights," Raveling said. "The main reason is because he takes such a physical beating, and late in the season he wears down. Today I asked Harold how he felt, and he said that he felt the best that he'd felt since he's been here. And I think it shows in his play out there."
Miner looks stronger and said he feels stronger this season.
"I've been lifting real hard this year, and I'm so much stronger that life is a lot easier for me," Miner said. "Coming down the stretch I feel as fresh as I did at the beginning of the season. That really wasn't the case my first two years."
After having its nine-game winning streak ended in a 92-78 loss at Oregon State last Saturday, the Trojans bounced back against Cal, building a 22-point lead in the second half before Raveling cleared his bench.
"We wanted to come out and make a statement tonight," Miner said. "We came out and played hard and our shots were falling for us. Good things happen when you play hard."
The Trojans made 10 of 21 three-point shots. Phil Glenn made three of four three-point shots and scored 11 points. Duane Cooper, who had 18 points, made two three-point shots and Rodney Chatman, who had 11 points, also made two three-pointers.
Freshman forward Lamond Murray scored 22 points to lead Cal (8-14, 2-10). Bill Elleby added 18 points and Alfred Grigsby had 14.
Miner scored 19 points in the first 20 minutes as the Trojans took a 47-32 halftime lead. Miner scored seven points as USC outscored Cal, 16-3 in the final five minutes of the half.
Elleby, who had 16 points in the first half, made two three-point shots and a layup as Cal jumped to a 12-4 lead 2:35 into the game. But the Trojans outscored Cal, 10-0, over the next three minutes to take a 14-12 lead. Glenn made two three-pointers to key the spurt.
Next Thursday's USC-UCLA game at the 15,877-seat Sports Arena is a sellout. It's the first time that the Trojans have sold out a home game since the 1979 UCLA game. The game, which starts at 6:30 p.m., will be televised live nationally on ESPN. . . . Cal center Brian Hendrick underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Wednesday. Hendrick suffered a dislocated knee cap in last Saturday's 92-66 loss at Stanford. He's expected to undergo four to six months of rehabilitation. . . . The Trojans shot a season-high 61.5% in the second half. Center Yamen Sanders had 12 rebounds and USC outrebounded Cal, 41-28.