LOS ANGELES (AP) — With five seconds left and a one-point lead, the California Golden Bears knew where this game would be decided. At the rim between Southern Cal's Jordan McLaughlin and their own Ivan Rabb. Having already scored 17 points, including the go-ahead free throws, Rabb came up with the block on McLaughlin's driving shot attempt at the buzzer, giving California a 74-73 victory over No. 25 Southern California on Sunday night.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — With five seconds left and a one-point lead, the California Golden Bears knew where this game would be decided. At the rim between Southern Cal's Jordan McLaughlin and their own Ivan Rabb.
Having already scored 17 points, including the go-ahead free throws, Rabb came up with the block on McLaughlin's driving shot attempt at the buzzer, giving California a 74-73 victory over No. 25 Southern California on Sunday night.
"I just wanted to make a play on the ball," said Rabb. "I'm just glad nobody fouled. They just funneled him to the basket where I could make something happen."
In the huddle during the timeout after Rabb gave the Bears the lead, Cal Coach Cuonzo Martin put the Bears into a 2-2-1 zone press with Rabb the last man to beat, expecting USC to give McLaughlin the ball.
"No doubt about it. We knew he was coming around some way," said Martin. "We just had to be sound. If he got to the rim with Ivan at the rim, we didn't think he'd have enough time to pitch to someone for a shot."
And when McLaughlin covered the length of the court in a full sprint, there was Rabb to meet him.
"I had a shooter on my left side and I really didn't want to leave him until (McLaughlin) committed to the basket," Rabb said.
Said McLaughlin: "I came out of the time out with a full head of steam. I tried to get a layup and hoped to get a basket or a foul. I saw a wide open lane. They closed it at the end."
It was a play that could have gone either way.
"The last play, there was a lot of contact at the rim," said Southern California Coach Andy Enfield. "You can't ask for more. Jordan could've easily scored or gone to the line, but he didn't."
Charlie Moore added 16 points and Jibari Bird and Don Coleman each had 12 for Cal (11-5, 2-2 Pac-12), who beat a ranked opponent for the first time in three years by making 13 of 23 shots in the second half.
McLaughlin and Chimezi Metu each scored 20 points to lead Southern California (15-2, 2-2), which lost at home for the first time this season.
Down 72-71, McLaughlin scored to give USC a 73-72 lead with 17 seconds left.
After a Cal timeout, Bird fed Rabb at the right low block, where he spun into the lane only to be fouled on his shot attempt by Metu.
The entire game was tight, including the final few minutes. Neither team could gain more than a three-point advantage during most of the second half.
Cal's last win over a ranked opponent was an 83-63 home victory over No. 11 Oregon on Feb. 11.
California: The Bears faced their fourth ranked opponent in their last five games (No. 12 Virginia, No. 18 Arizona, No. 4 UCLA, and No. 25 USC), having lost the first three games. The victory was Cal's first road win over a Top 25 opponent since Nov. 20, 2014 (73-59 vs. No. 23 Syracuse at Madison Square Garden).
Southern California: The loss was the Trojans' first loss in 10 games at the Galen Center this season. At halftime, two dozen members of the USC football accompanied the Rose Bowl trophy won on Jan. 2 with a 52-49 victory over Penn State.
California: Home vs. Washington on Thursday night.
Southern California: At Utah on Thursday night.