Bennie Boatwright couldn’t understand why USC coach Andy Enfield was yelling for him to shoot a 3-pointer, even though Boatwright had a defender in his face.
The next time down the court Boatwright didn’t wait for his coach to say anything and launched himself into the Trojans record books and a spot in Pac-12 history as well.
Boatwright scored 36 points and set a USC school record with 10 3-pointers in an 89-66 win over California on Saturday night.
In doing so, Boatwright became the fourth player in Pac-12 history to make 10 3s in one game.
“My teammates were finding me and I just knocked it down,” Boatwright said. “My dad preaches hold my follow-through so I just tried to hold my follow-through and they went in tonight.”
Boatwright was stellar all night and shot 12 of 19 while finishing one point shy of his career high set earlier this season. He went 10 of 13 beyond the arc to break the previous USC record of nine shared by Anthony Pendleton (1987) and Katin Reinhardt (2015).
“He deserved it,” Enfield said. “He played a great game. He took open shots and then made some tough shots down the stretch. He played very well.”
Enfield pulled Boatwright with 12:07 left in the second half with the senior having made nine 3s. But Boatwright checked back in with 8:07 remaining and missed one 3 before nailing the record-setting shot four minutes later to put USC ahead 87-56.
It came after Boatwright passed up a chance while Enfield yelled for him to shoot.
“I caught it and I didn’t shoot it, and Enfield was like, `Shoot it,“’ Boatwright said. “I was like, `You’re telling me to shoot it? OK, you don’t gotta tell me twice.’ The next time I touched it, I got it up.”
Boatwright went back to the bench moments later and exchanged high-fives with coaches and teammates.
Nick Rakocevic added 12 points and 11 rebounds, and Kevin Porter Jr. scored 14 to help the Trojans (14-12, 7-6 Pac-12) end a three-game losing streak.
Justice Sueing scored 17 points and Matt Bradley added 14 for California (5-20, 0-13). The Golden Bears have lost 14 straight and are headed for back-to-back 20-loss seasons for the first time in school history. Both have come under coach Wyking Jones.
“We took a major step back today,” Jones said. “I don’t know if it’s fatigue. I don’t know what it is, but we were just a step slow on every rotation. Our communication wasn’t there. We’ve got to get back on track, because we’re just in a funk right now.”
Thursday vs. Oregon, 6 p.m, Galen Center, ESPN – The Trojans suffered their biggest Pac-12 loss of the season at Oregon on Jan. 13. USC missed 10 of its first 13 shots and was never in the game, losing 81-60.