Cal Basketball: Bears Face Challenge of USC Super-Freshman Evan Mobley

Trojans' 7-footer has 6 double-doubles and more blocked shots than entire Cal team
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CAL (7-9, 2-7 Pac-12) vs. USC (11-3, 5-2 Pac-12)

WHERE: Haas Pavilion, Berkeley

WHEN: Saturday, 5 p.m.

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

SCHEDULE UPDATE: The Bears’ road game vs. Stanford, originally scheduled for March 6/7, has been moved to Sunday, Feb. 7 at Kaiser Permanente Arena in Santa Cruz. Tipoff will be 7 p.m. Cal and Stanford will also meet in Berkeley three days earlier, on Feb. 4.

CAL-USC HISTORY: Cal leads 136-128 in a series dating back to the 1916-17 season. USC has won the past five meetings, including 88-56 in Los Angeles in the schools’ only matchup in the 2019-20 season. Cal shot just 34 percent, including 5-for-25 from the 3-point arc, and was outrebounded 45-28 in the loss. This is the only scheduled Cal-USC meeting this season.

CAL STORYLINES: The Bears are coming of a 61-57 loss to No. 24 UCLA on Thursday that was in great contrast to their 20-point loss to the Bruins early last month in Los Angeles. Cal led by four points in the waning minutes before the Pac-12’s first-place team rallied to stay unbeaten in conference play . . . Cal played its fifth straight game without leading scorer Matt Bradley (17.8 points), sidelined by a left ankle injury. Coach Mark Fox was non-committal earlier this week when asked if Bradley might be ready by Saturday . . . Senior forward Grant Anticevich (10.3 points, 4.9 rebounds) scored a season-high 21 points against the Bruins but no other Cal player scored more than eight points. It was Anticevich’s best game of the year and it came barely a month after he underwent an emergency appendectomy . . . Anticevich talks in the video above finding open shots in the Cal offense . . . Even with the UCLA defeat, the Bears climbed from No. 181 to 169 in the latest NET computer rankings.

USC STORYLINES: The Trojans had their scheduled Thursday game at Stanford postponed after a false-positive COVID-19 test result within their program. USC had won six straight games, including a road sweep of the Arizona schools, before losing 58-56 at Oregon State on Tuesday. Freshman 7-footer Evan Mobley (15.9 points, conference-leading 8.6 rebounds) had 12 points and 13 rebounds at OSU but the rest of the Trojans shot a combined 37.5 percent. Mobley has six double-doubles and has scored 17 points or more nine times in 16 games. His 42 blocked shots lead the Pac-12 and are nine more than Cal has as a team. Mobley currently is projected as the No. 3 pick in the 2021 NBA draft (to the Warriors), according to NBADraft.net . . . Evan’s brother, sophomore Isaiah Mobley (9.9 points, 7.4 rebounds) provides the Trojans with a 6-10, 235-pound front court bookend . . . USC’s backcourt features Santa Clara transfer Tahj Eaddy (12.5 points) and 6-foot-8 junior Drew Peterson (10.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists) . . . The Trojans are third in the Pac-12 in scoring (76.7 points) and second in defense (64.4). They also rank second in field-goal percentage (.471) and first in field-goal percentage defense (.373) . . . At No. 26, USC is among three Pac-12 teams ranked among the top-30 in the NET ratings. Colorado is No. 16 and Oregon checks in at No. 25.

CAL GAME NOTES: Click here

USC GAME NOTES: Click here 

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Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo