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USC

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Rakocevic scores career-high 27 to lead USC over Cal 82-73

LOS ANGELES (AP) USC might be lacking in depth, but Nick Rakocevic and Bennie Boatwright can still pose plenty of matchup problems.

The frontcourt duo combined for 46 points as the undermanned Trojans opened Pac-12 Conference play with an 82-73 victory over California on Thursday night.

Rakocevic, a 6-foot-11 junior center, scored a career-high 27 points and was 12 of 14 from the field. Boatwright, a 6-10 senior forward, added 19 points.

''Bennie and I like playing the inside game,'' Rakocevic said. ''With his size he can create things off the dribble. Opposing teams aren't comfortable in a pick-and-roll with two guys that size.''

Rakocevic, who also had eight rebounds, has three games this season where he has scored 20 points or more. Boatwright, who missed the first two games this season due to a knee injury, is averaging 17.5 points over the past four games.

The two will need to continue to play well as the Trojans are down to seven healthy scholarship players. USC announced on Tuesday that Jordan Usher is transferring and freshman Elijah Weaver injured his ankle during a pregame walkthrough before Thursday's game.

''We've had so many freak things happen. It seems like guys get injured every week,'' USC coach Andy Enfield said. ''It is very challenging. It is hard to get in a rhythm. We need our guys to get healthy.''

Four of the five starters played 35 minutes or more and six players saw 18-plus minutes. Despite the short bench, the Trojans committed a season-low five turnovers while having 21 assists in winning their third straight.

USC (8-6, 1-0 Pac-12) led most of the game and were up 15 midway through the second half. The Golden Bears though made things interesting late, going on a 17-6 run to get within 71-67 with 2:45 remaining. Shaqquan Aaron though made a huge 3-pointer on the ensuing trip to end any momentum.

Justin Sueing led Cal (5-8, 0-1) with 16 points and 11 rebounds for the first double-double of his career. Paris Austin added 13 points.

''We had some open looks that we normally knock down. If we just shot the ball better I think it would have been a totally different game,'' California coach Wyking Jones said.

Cal led 12-9 with 12:49 remaining in the first half before the Trojans went on a 19-5 run over a six-minute span. The Trojans were 7 of 9 from the field, including 2 of 3 on 3-pointers, as Boatwright scored five points while Rakocevic and J'Raan Brooks added four apiece. The Bears were 1 of 10 from the field, including 1 of 6 from beyond the arc.

The Golden Bears outscored the Trojans 16-9 the remainder of the half - including going 3 of 5 on 3-pointers - as USC held a 37-33 lead at halftime.

BIG PICTURE

California: The Golden Bears have dropped eight straight in Pac-12 play and have gone winless in nine straight conference games on the road.

USC: The Trojans shot 53.4 percent from the floor. It is unbeaten in seven games this season when making over half of its shots.

UNSUNG HERO

USC point guard Derryck Thornton had his first double-double with 13 points and a career-high 12 assists. The junior ended up three rebounds away from a triple-double.

''He played a great floor game. He ran the team tonight and played under control. We are starting to get more consistency from him,'' Enfield said.

GOOD RETURN

Cal center/forward Connor Vanover, who missed the past three games due to broken nose and concussion, had career highs in points (10) and blocked shots (three).

UP NEXT

California: Travels to UCLA on Saturday.

USC: Hosts Stanford on Sunday.

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Key Players
P. Austin
B. Boatwright
30.8 Min. Per Game 30.8
15.0 Pts. Per Game 15.0
2.5 Ast. Per Game 2.5
6.4 Reb. Per Game 6.4
48.9 Field Goal % 45.5
35.0 Three Point % 37.9
74.2 Free Throw % 72.5
+ 2 Paris Austin made layup 7.0
+ 1 Derryck Thornton made 2nd of 2 free throws 12.0
+ 1 Derryck Thornton made 1st of 2 free throws 12.0
  Personal foul on Matt Bradley 12.0
  Defensive rebound by Nick Rakocevic 20.0
  Darius McNeill missed 3-pt. jump shot 22.0
+ 1 Shaqquan Aaron made 2nd of 2 free throws 34.0
+ 1 Shaqquan Aaron made 1st of 2 free throws 34.0
  Personal foul on Justice Sueing 34.0
  Defensive rebound by Nick Rakocevic 39.0
  Matt Bradley missed free throw 39.0
Team Stats
Points 73 82
Field Goals 27-60 (45.0%) 31-58 (53.4%)
3-Pointers 10-27 (37.0%) 5-15 (33.3%)
Free Throws 9-13 (69.2%) 15-26 (57.7%)
Total Rebounds 32 32
Offensive 9 7
Defensive 23 22
Team 0 3
Assists 14 21
Steals 4 4
Blocks 5 2
Turnovers 8 5
Fouls 20 16
Technicals 0 0
16 PTS, 11 REB, 4 AST
27 PTS, 8 REB, 1 AST
12T
away team logo California 5-8 334073
home team logo USC 8-6 374582
Team Stats
away team logo California 5-8 69.0 PPG 31 RPG 10.6 APG
home team logo USC 8-6 76.8 PPG 39.3 RPG 16.5 APG
Key Players
10
J. Sueing F 15.1 PPG 6.0 RPG 1.7 APG 43.2 FG%
31
N. Rakocevic F 15.5 PPG 9.7 RPG 1.4 APG 55.4 FG%
Top Scorers
J. Sueing F 16 PTS 11 REB 4 AST
N. Rakocevic F 27 PTS 8 REB 1 AST
45.0 FG% 53.4
37.0 3PT FG% 33.3
69.2 FT% 57.7
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
J. Sueing 16 11 4 4/9 3/6 5/5 5 37 1 1 0 3 8
P. Austin 13 5 6 6/11 1/1 0/0 2 37 1 0 4 0 5
D. McNeill 8 3 1 3/10 2/8 0/0 4 27 1 0 1 0 3
A. Kelly 7 5 0 3/6 0/1 1/1 1 24 0 1 1 2 3
J. Harris-Dyson 2 0 2 1/2 0/1 0/0 1 10 1 0 2 0 0
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
J. Sueing 16 11 4 4/9 3/6 5/5 5 37 1 1 0 3 8
P. Austin 13 5 6 6/11 1/1 0/0 2 37 1 0 4 0 5
D. McNeill 8 3 1 3/10 2/8 0/0 4 27 1 0 1 0 3
A. Kelly 7 5 0 3/6 0/1 1/1 1 24 0 1 1 2 3
J. Harris-Dyson 2 0 2 1/2 0/1 0/0 1 10 1 0 2 0 0
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
M. Bradley 12 4 1 5/11 2/4 0/1 4 34 0 0 0 3 1
C. Vanover 10 3 0 4/7 2/4 0/0 1 15 0 3 0 0 3
J. Gordon 5 1 0 1/3 0/1 3/6 0 13 0 0 0 1 0
R. Davis 0 0 0 0/1 0/1 0/0 1 2 0 0 0 0 0
G. Anticevich 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
J. Orender - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Erving - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Zhao - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Serge - - - - - - - - - - - - -
B. Welle - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 73 32 14 27/60 10/27 9/13 20 200 4 5 8 9 23
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
N. Rakocevic 27 8 1 12/14 0/0 3/7 3 39 1 0 0 3 5
B. Boatwright 19 2 2 7/14 2/5 3/3 3 36 0 0 1 1 1
D. Thornton 13 7 12 4/8 0/0 5/6 2 37 2 0 0 1 6
J. Mathews 9 5 3 3/8 2/5 1/2 1 40 1 2 0 0 5
S. Aaron 7 3 1 2/7 1/3 2/4 4 24 0 0 2 1 2
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
N. Rakocevic 27 8 1 12/14 0/0 3/7 3 39 1 0 0 3 5
B. Boatwright 19 2 2 7/14 2/5 3/3 3 36 0 0 1 1 1
D. Thornton 13 7 12 4/8 0/0 5/6 2 37 2 0 0 1 6
J. Mathews 9 5 3 3/8 2/5 1/2 1 40 1 2 0 0 5
S. Aaron 7 3 1 2/7 1/3 2/4 4 24 0 0 2 1 2
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
J. Brooks 6 3 2 3/7 0/2 0/0 1 18 0 0 0 0 3
V. Uyaelunmo 1 1 0 0/0 0/0 1/4 1 6 0 0 2 1 0
M. Anderson - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Fleming - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. O'Bannon Jr. - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Usher - - - - - - - - - - - - -
E. Weaver - - - - - - - - - - - - -
K. Porter Jr. - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 82 29 21 31/58 5/15 15/26 16 200 4 2 5 7 22