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Feb 7, 2024 12:39 am

In down year, USC aims to get well against Cal

Harrison Hornery

Southern California looks to extend a lengthy string of success when it takes on Cal on Wednesday night in Pac-12 play at Berkeley, Calif.

The Trojans (9-13, 3-8 Pac-12) will be shooting for their 12th consecutive victory over the Golden Bears (9-13, 5-6). USC also will be aiming for its sixth straight win at Haas Pavilion.

Cal last defeated the Trojans 74-73 on Jan. 8, 2017, in Los Angeles. Its last home win (87-65) in the series came on Feb. 28, 2016.

Earlier this season, USC knocked off the Golden Bears 82-74 on Jan. 3 in Los Angeles. Five Trojans scored in double digits, while Jaylon Tyson put up a game-high 23 for Cal.

USC enters the rematch fresh off an 82-54 home win over Oregon State on Saturday. The rout ended the Trojans’ six-game losing streak.

The victory provided a sense of relief for USC, which is having a below-standards season. The Trojans won 22 or more games in each of the past four seasons before the current struggles.

“USC doesn’t lose six games in a row — we don’t lose two in a row,” junior Harrison Hornery said. “We had to break the streak. The fans are disappointed, the school’s disappointed in us, so we had to come out and prove ourselves.”

Hornery scored a team-best 14 points against Oregon State. Teammate DJ Rodman added 12 points and matched his career high of 14 rebounds for his fourth career double-double.

“I feel like I’m a pretty good rebounder,” Rodman said. “I haven’t had 10 rebounds in a long time. So, that was all I was trying to do.”

USC has lost its last five road games.

The Golden Bears have won three of their past four games after producing an 81-66 road victory over Arizona State on Saturday.

Fardaws Aimaq had 20 points and 14 rebounds for his Pac-12-best 14th double-double of the campaign. Tyson added 17 points and 10 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season.

The victory was Cal’s first in Tempe since a 68-43 rout on Feb. 8, 2017. The strong effort came two days after the Golden Bears were clobbered 91-65 at then-No. 11 Arizona.

“Our guys were motivated,” Cal coach Mark Madsen said. “We didn’t start with energy (at Arizona), and so the guys were committed to each other to come out with huge energy.”

Tyson leads the Golden Bears at 20 points per game. Aimaq averages 15.3 points and a team-best 10.6 rebounds.

Boogie Ellis leads USC with a 17.3 scoring average.

–Field Level Media

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