USC rolls through California 80-62

USC guard Derryck Thornton (5) drives between California defenders Darius McNeill (1) and Juhwan Harris-Dyson (2) at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley on Jan. 4.
(Shotgun Spratling / Los Angeles Times)

Nick Rakocevic had a career-high 19 points and seven rebounds, and USC beat California 80-62 on Thursday night.

Bennie Boatwright added 15 points and seven rebounds , Jordan Usher scored 14 points and Jordan McLaughlin had six points and eight assists for the Trojans (11-5, 2-1 Pac-12). USC has won five of six.

Rakocevic — starting while leading scorer Chimezie Metu sat out the first half for disciplinary reasons — led the way while going against Cal’s 7-foot-1 shot-blocker Kingsley Okoroh much of the night. The 6-11 Rakocevic shot 8 of 11 from the field and got the majority of his points down low, but showed some versatility with a pair of mid-range jumpers.

That was big with Metu sitting out the first half.


The junior forward was held out by coach Andy Enfield after Metu was called for a flagrant 2 foul against Washington State last week when he hit Carter Skaggs in the groin. Metu also lost his role as team captain and had to write an apology to the Cougars.

It hardly mattered against California.

The Trojans went on a 19-2 run in the first half to go up by double figures and led by as many as 30 points.

The Golden Bears, who came back from 17 down in the second half to beat Stanford in the conference opener last week, couldn’t keep up.

California (7-8, 1-1) was held to a season-low 20 first-half points, shot 39.7 percent overall and needed a late scoring flurry to avoid having more turnovers than field goals for the third time this season.

Justice Sueing had 15 points and nine rebounds, while Marcus Lee added 10 and eight, for Cal.