GAME NOTES: The California Golden Bears will try to keep pace atop the Pac-12 Conference standings when they visit the USC Trojans at the Galen Center on Wednesday night.
Right now, only two teams in the Pac-12 are undefeated in conference play, with California (5-0) keeping company with top-ranked Arizona (6-0). The Golden Bears have won six straight games and are currently 14-4 on the campaign. They will remain in Los Angeles to face UCLA next.
USC is at the opposite side of the spectrum when it comes to league play. The Trojans have lost all five of their bouts against Pac-12 foes, and they have lost six of their last eight games overall. They are now an even 9-9, although they have a 7-2 mark at home. A visits from the Stanford Cardinal is next on the schedule.
California swept the season series with USC in 2012-13, and has now won four straight meetings. The Golden Bears have a 132-120 all-time record in the rivalry.
Cal went up against Washington over the weekend and came away with a 76-55 victory. The Bears hit 56.9 percent of their field goal attempts and limited the Cougars to just 34 percent. Justin Cobbs netted 16 points and handed out seven assists in the 21-point victory.
Cobbs (14.9 ppg, 6.4 apg) is both California's top scoring threat as well as its best facilitator. The 6-foot-3 guard is shooting 45 percent from the floor and currently ranks second in the Pac-12 in assists. He is joined in the backcourt by Tyrone Wallace (12 ppg, 3.3 apg), who is also a capable scorer and passer. Wallace tallied 13 points and four assists to match four steals against Washington State. Richard Solomon (12.1 ppg, 10.2 rpg), who leads the league in rebounding, and David Kravish (11.7 ppg, 7.4 rpg) are the teams top interior performers.
For USC, its last contest ended in a rout as well, although the Trojans were on the losing end of an 83-62 final against Colorado. They shot just 36.8 percent from the field, while having 20 fewer rebounds (43-23) than the Buffaloes. Omar Oraby and J.T. Terrell each scored 16 points in the losing effort.
Leading scorer Byron Wesley (16.5 ppg, 7.4 rpg) really struggled to find his stroke against Colorado. He finished with nine points on a miserable 3-of-14 shooting performance. Wesley has been held out of double figures in back-to- back contests. Without Wesley, Terrell (10.4 ppg) is the only player averaging in double figures, although he shoots just 37.4 percent from the floor. Oraby (8.9 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 2.6 bpg) is a decent scorer, but he makes more of an impression on defense, ranking second in the Pac-12 in blocks. As a team, the Trojans are next-to-last in the conference in scoring (71.6 ppg).
The core group of Cobbs, Wallace, Solomon and Kravish is one of the strongest in the Pac-12. That type of balance will be critical for Cal, as it should be able to push its way past the Trojans.
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