Cal Basketball: After Home Sweep, Bears Seek Success on the Road vs. USC

Jeff Faraudo

CAL (8-8, 2-1) at USC (13-3, 2-1)

WHERE: Galen Center, Los Angeles

WHEN: Thursday, 7:30 p.m.

TV/RADIO: Pac-12 Networks/810-AM

CAL-USC HISTORY: Cal leads 136-127. USC beat Cal 89-66 at Haas Pavilion  on Feb. 16, 2019 in the most recent meeting, and has won the past four in the series.

CAL STORYLINES: Having swept the Washington schools at home to get on the right side the win-loss ledger in Pac-12 play, the Bears now try to break through and earn their first road victory of the season, They are 0-3 in road games and 0-6 away from home, including neutral-site matchups. Cal is 2-19 in Pac-12 road games since the start of the 2017-18 season (both wins at Stanford) and has not won a conference game outside the Bay Area since knocking off Arizona State 68-43 in Tempe on Feb. 8, 2017. . . . Sophomore Matt Bradley earned Pac-12 Player of the Week honors after averaging 21.5 points and making big plays down the stretch in wins over Washington State and Washington. Junior Grant Anticevich also has amped up his game, averaging 13.3 points and 6.0 rebounds over the past four outings. . . . The biggest difference-maker last week was Cal’s much-improved defense. The Bears allowed WSU and UW to convert just 33.6 percent from the field and 26.3 percent on 3-pointers after their four previous opponents shot 48.1 percent from the field and 42.6 percent from deep.

USC STORYLINES: The Trojans have won seven of their past eight games and are off to a 13-3 start for just the third time in the past 18 seasons. . . . USC is led by the productive front-court duo of 6-9 freshman Onyeka Okongwu (16.9 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.9 blocks) and 6-11 senior Nick Rakocevic (11.8 points, 9.0 rebounds). Among freshmen, Okongwu is fifth nationally in scoring and rebounding. Rakovecic has averaged 16.0 points and 7.3 rebounds against Cal the past two seasons, including a career-high 27-point outburst at Galen last Jan. 3. . . . Senior guard Jonah Mathews, who big brother Jordan Mathews once played at Cal, is the team’s No. 3 scorer at 12.0 points per game. . . . USC is 10-0 this season and 63-2 in its past 65 games when holding the opposition under 70 points. . . . The Trojans have tightened their defense over the past five games, allowing foes to make just 37.3 percent of their shots, including 25 percent from the 3-point arc.

CAL GAME NOTES: Click here

USC GAME NOTES: Click here