USC
CAL

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Rakocevic has career night in USC's 80-62 win over Cal

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) Nick Rakocevic started the best game of his career with an and-1 bucket down low. The Southern <span data-shortcode=" data-canon="Southern California Trojans" data-type="SPORTS_OBJECT_TEAM" data-league-abbreviation="NCAAB" data-team-abbreviation="USC">Southern California sophomore followed that with back-to-back layups then felt good enough to wander outside the key for a 16-foot jumper.

On a night when the Trojans were without their leading scorer for the first half, Rakocevic's quick start got USC going early in a game they were never challenged.

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

''Nick's getting better as a player,'' Trojans coach Andy Enfield said. ''He finishes when he has to, he gets to the open area . very, very proud of him.''

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 mid-range jumper that came as part of a 28-4 run.

''This year I'm more comfortable shooting that,'' Rakocevic said. ''Last year I was kind of hesitant getting the ball out there. Sometimes I'd shoot it, sometimes I'd pass it up. But they give me all the freedom in the world to do what I need to do when I get the ball out there.''

That was big with Metu sitting out the first half.

The junior forward was held out by 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.

''They weren't going to let us make a run and (we were) just kind of out of sync,'' Bears coach Wyking Jones said. ''Once we got into the half-court set against the 2-3, we were still kind of on our heels and running offense, far from, way outside, the 3-point line.''

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

METU THE MENTOR

Enfield called Metu one of the smartest players he's coached. USC's top scorer stayed active while sitting out in the first half and was repeatedly in Rakocevic's ear during timeouts. ''He was telling me to stay aggressive,'' Rakocevic said. ''He was being a great teammate, keeping us all engaged in the game.''

BIG PICTURE

USC: The Trojans have been on quite a roll since losing three straight games earlier in the season. Although this one wasn't close, it was a good test with Metu not available in the first half. Metu scored six points in 11 minutes.

California: Okoroh started because Jones wanted more size on the floor after going with a smaller lineup. Okoroh started the first six games of the season but had come off the bench the previous eight.

UP NEXT

USC: Plays at Stanford on Sunday night.

California: Hosts UCLA on Saturday afternoon.

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Key Players
J. McLaughlin
D. Coleman
37.0 Min. Per Game 37.0
22.0 Pts. Per Game 22.0
2.5 Ast. Per Game 2.5
3.8 Reb. Per Game 3.8
46.6 Field Goal % 36.2
41.4 Three Point % 31.3
77.6 Free Throw % 75.8
+ 3 Justice Sueing made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Deschon Winston 25.0
+ 2 Victor Uyaelunmo made dunk, assist by Shaqquan Aaron 29.0
+ 2 Justice Sueing made driving dunk, assist by Deschon Winston 56.0
  Defensive rebound by Grant Anticevich 1:01
  Harrison Henderson missed jump shot 1:03
+ 1 Cole Welle made 2nd of 2 free throws 1:17
+ 1 Cole Welle made 1st of 2 free throws 1:17
  Personal foul on Harrison Henderson 1:17
  Offensive rebound by California 1:17
  Justice Sueing missed 3-pt. jump shot 1:18
  Defensive rebound by California 1:42
Team Stats
Points 80 62
Field Goals 30-65 (46.2%) 23-58 (39.7%)
3-Pointers 6-21 (28.6%) 7-17 (41.2%)
Free Throws 14-21 (66.7%) 9-12 (75.0%)
Total Rebounds 36 37
Offensive 10 12
Defensive 23 22
Team 3 3
Assists 20 13
Steals 11 6
Blocks 2 3
Turnovers 11 22
Fouls 16 19
Technicals 0 0
19 PTS, 7 REB
15 PTS, 9 REB, 3 AST
12T
away team logo USC 11-5 413980
home team logo California 7-8 204262
Team Stats
away team logo USC 11-5 77.9 PPG 39.2 RPG 16.0 APG
home team logo California 7-8 72.7 PPG 31.3 RPG 10.7 APG
Key Players
31
N. Rakocevic F 14.9 PPG 9.5 RPG 1.1 APG 51.9 FG%
10
J. Sueing F 14.4 PPG 6.4 RPG 1.7 APG 41.0 FG%
Top Scorers
N. Rakocevic F 19 PTS 7 REB 0 AST
J. Sueing F 15 PTS 9 REB 3 AST
46.2 FG% 39.7
28.6 3PT FG% 41.2
66.7 FT% 75.0
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
N. Rakocevic 19 7 0 8/11 0/0 3/3 3 26 0 1 0 4 3
B. Boatwright 15 7 2 6/15 3/6 0/0 3 23 2 1 2 2 5
J. McLaughlin 6 2 8 1/5 0/2 4/5 1 27 1 0 1 1 1
E. Stewart 6 7 3 3/9 0/3 0/1 0 26 0 0 0 2 5
J. Mathews 3 0 1 1/6 0/4 1/2 0 20 2 0 3 0 0
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
N. Rakocevic 19 7 0 8/11 0/0 3/3 3 26 0 1 0 4 3
B. Boatwright 15 7 2 6/15 3/6 0/0 3 23 2 1 2 2 5
J. McLaughlin 6 2 8 1/5 0/2 4/5 1 27 1 0 1 1 1
E. Stewart 6 7 3 3/9 0/3 0/1 0 26 0 0 0 2 5
J. Mathews 3 0 1 1/6 0/4 1/2 0 20 2 0 3 0 0
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
J. Usher 14 2 1 6/7 2/3 0/1 2 19 4 0 2 0 2
C. Metu 6 4 0 2/3 0/0 2/3 2 11 1 0 1 1 3
S. Aaron 5 3 3 2/5 1/2 0/2 1 20 0 0 1 0 3
D. Thornton 4 0 2 0/2 0/1 4/4 2 18 1 0 0 0 0
V. Uyaelunmo 2 0 0 1/1 0/0 0/0 1 4 0 0 0 0 0
K. Karis 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0
H. Henderson 0 1 0 0/1 0/0 0/0 1 4 0 0 1 0 1
D. Melton - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Fleming - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. O'Bannon Jr. - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 80 33 20 30/65 6/21 14/21 16 200 11 2 11 10 23
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
J. Sueing 15 9 3 6/16 1/4 2/3 3 32 3 1 2 4 5
M. Lee 10 8 2 5/8 0/0 0/0 4 27 0 2 5 3 5
D. McNeill 6 4 2 2/8 2/5 0/0 1 31 2 0 4 1 3
K. Okoroh 4 4 1 2/6 0/0 0/0 3 26 0 0 1 1 3
D. Coleman 4 1 0 1/8 1/4 1/2 3 30 0 0 2 0 1
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
J. Sueing 15 9 3 6/16 1/4 2/3 3 32 3 1 2 4 5
M. Lee 10 8 2 5/8 0/0 0/0 4 27 0 2 5 3 5
D. McNeill 6 4 2 2/8 2/5 0/0 1 31 2 0 4 1 3
K. Okoroh 4 4 1 2/6 0/0 0/0 3 26 0 0 1 1 3
D. Coleman 4 1 0 1/8 1/4 1/2 3 30 0 0 2 0 1
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
J. Harris-Dyson 10 4 3 3/4 0/0 4/5 1 20 1 0 2 2 2
D. Winston 6 0 2 2/3 2/2 0/0 1 6 0 0 0 0 0
R. Davis 5 2 0 2/5 1/2 0/0 1 9 0 0 1 1 1
C. Welle 2 0 0 0/0 0/0 2/2 1 3 0 0 0 0 0
N. Hamilton 0 1 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 1 6 0 0 3 0 1
G. Anticevich 0 1 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 9 0 0 1 0 1
A. McCullough 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0
J. Orender - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. King - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Erving - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 62 34 13 23/58 7/17 9/12 19 200 6 3 22 12 22