Cal beats No. 25 USC at the buzzer on Rabb’s blocked shot

January 9, 2017

Cal Bears

By Morris Phillips

Desperate for a win, the Cal Bears turned to Ivan Rabb with the game on the line Sunday night. 

With five seconds remaining,  Rabb calmly drained a pair of free throws, then as USC’s Jordan McLaughlin drove the length of the floor looking for a game-winner, Rabb came up with the saving block at the buzzer.

“I’m just glad nobody fouled,” Rabb said, noting that two of his teammates had swipes at McLaughlin immediately preceding his block.  “They just funneled him to the basket where I could make something happen.”

“I tried to get a layup and hoped to get a basket or a foul,” McLaughlin said of the final play.  “I saw a wide open lane.  They closed it at the end.”

Big? Indeed. With the narrow win, the Bears avoided a 1-3 start to Pac-12 conference play, and bagged their initial win over a ranked opponent after dropping their first three such contests. Cal last defeated a ranked opponent on the road in November 2014 when they got past Syracuse at Madison Square Garden. 

This game was especially tight in the second half where USC relied heavily on their high percentage shooting, while the Bears had an edge on the glass, and second chance points.  Cal benefitted from the return of 7’0″ Kameron Rooks who hadn’t played in more than a month, and contributed 6 rebounds in 14 minutes on the floor.

Rabb led Cal with 17 points, eight rebounds while Jabari Bird and Don Coleman had 12 points each.  Charlie Moore had his best showing in the past five games with 16 points on 6 of 8 shooting.

McLaughlin and Chimezie Metu had 20 points a piece for the Trojans (15-2, 2-2). USC coach Andy Enfield expressed disappointment with McLaughlin’s critical, missed free throws.

“When you have a guy shooting 80 percent from the foul line and he shoots 3 for 8, you can’t explain it,” Enfield said.

The Bears (11-5, 2-2) return to Haas Pavilion on Thursday to face Washington at 6pm.

 

 

 

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