--The X-factor for the Bears against USC was senior wing Eric Vierneisel, who scored a career-high 15 points off the bench, 10 of them in the final 6:10 of the contest. Vierniesel's production was unexpected, given he began the season shooting 3-for-25 and entered the game averaging just 3.9 points.
--Cal coach Ben Braun said before the USC game he wanted Hardin to quit worrying about fouls and play aggressively. After logging double-doubles in his first five games, Hardin played more passively in recent weeks. He had 15 points and 10 rebounds against the Trojans, playing 31 minutes.
--Sophomore Patrick Christopher, whom USC coach Tim Floyd admitted the Trojans didn't even guard a year ago, had a superb game. He totaled 24 points, seven rebounds and a career-best seven of Cal's 23 assists.
--Sophomore PG Jerome Randle had his third straight high-level game, contributing 16 points and a career-high nine assists against USC. Over the past three games, Randle has totaled 62 points and 16 assists.
KEY EARLY-SEASON CONFERENCE GAME: vs. UCLA, Jan. 5 -- The Bears knocked off the Bruins 76-69 in overtime at last year's Pac-10 tournament, but both clubs are somewhat changed a year later. Cal's frontline is healthy again, which means senior center DeVon Hardin will match up against Bruins' frosh sensation Kevin Love.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"The intimidation factor is always there. That's the thing I have to realize, (that) when they come in there they're always thinking about it." -- Cal center DeVon Hardin, who ranks third on the school's career shot block list with 111.
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