NCAA

Cal's offense hits season low in 30-point loss to Utah

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USATSI

Cal's offense hits season low in 30-point loss to Utah

BOX SCORE

SALT LAKE CITY -- Sedrick Barefield scored 14 and Utah defeated California 74-44 in Pac-12 action on Thursday night.

The Utes stayed alive in their pursuit of a first-round bye in the conference tournament. The top four teams in the standings earn a bye and Utah (19-10, 10-7) and Cal (19-10, 10-7) are now tied in the fourth slot.

The 30 points win over Cal is the largest Utah has in the series dating back to 1940.

Utah blew the doors open with a 32-10 run after the teams were tied at six apiece and took a 42-22 lead into halftime. The Cal defense struggled to stay in front of anyone and the Utes' first 14 points all came from inside the paint. Utah then dropped back-to-back 3-pointers from Barefield and Lorenzo Bonam to jumpstart the rout.

David Collette and Kyle Kuzma scored 12 apiece and Bonam finished with 11.

The Utes shot 51.6 percent from the field in the first half and scored more points in the paint (24) than Cal totaled in the first 20 minutes. The Golden Bears shot a miserable 30.0 percent from the field in the first half and never found any flow offensively.

Cal's Jabari Bird and Ivan Rabb came into the game averaging a combined 29.3 points per game as the Bears' top two scorers, but were a combined 1 for 5 from the field in the half. They finished with 14 combined points.

The Utes cruised to victory in the second half.

Grant Mullins led the Golden Bears with 11 points.

BIG PICTURE

California: The Golden Bears had the opportunity to lock up the No. 4 seed in the Pac-12 tournament and the first-round bye. They still own the tiebreaker against Utah, but now Saturday's road game against Colorado becomes a must win.

Utah: The Utes are in a wonderful spot considering they went 3-4 in February and are without starter Devon Daniels, who was suspended indefinitely a week ago. Utah has been inconsistent all year, but finds itself one win from its fourth consecutive 20-win season and still in contention for that first-round bye.

SEASON LOWS

Cal was held to season lows in field goal percentage (23.1), 3-point percentage (11.1) and assists (three).

UP NEXT

California: The Golden Bears travel to face Colorado in their regular-season finale Saturday.

Utah: The Utes host Stanford in their regular-season finale Saturday.

Louisville has 'effectively fired' head coach Rick Pitino

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AP

Louisville has 'effectively fired' head coach Rick Pitino

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville has placed coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich on administrative leave amid a federal bribery investigation.

Jurich is on paid leave, while Pitino is on unpaid leave. The coach’s attorney, Steve Spence, told the Courier-Journal Wednesday that Louisville has “effectively fired” Pitino.

Pitino’s exit comes after the school acknowledged on Tuesday that the men’s program is part of a federal investigation into alleged bribery of recruits. The 65-year-old coach was not named in the indictment that resulted in the arrest of 10 people including four assistant coaches at other schools and an Adidas executive.

It is the latest black eye for the Cardinals program. Pitino and Louisville are in the middle of appealing NCAA sanctions following an embarrassing sex scandal.

Jurich has supported Pitino through his transgressions during the athletic director’s nearly 20-year tenure at the university.

Cal fights USC into fourth quarter, can't complete the upset

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AP

Cal fights USC into fourth quarter, can't complete the upset

BOX SCORE

BERKELEY -- Stephen Carr ran for a fourth-quarter touchdown two plays after Southern California's defense forced one of its six turnovers and the fifth-ranked Trojans won their 13th straight game, 30-20 over California on Saturday.

USC (4-0, 2-0 Pac-12) has dominated the series with its in-state rival by winning 14 straight against the Golden Bears (3-1, 0-1), but this was one of the tightest matchups in years as the game was tied early in the fourth quarter.

Sam Darnold threw for 223 yards and two touchdowns for the Trojans but also had an interception and was under pressure for much of the day.

It was the defense that stepped up for USC, intercepting a pass from Ross Bowers in the first quarter to set up a field goal and then delivering the big play early in the fourth quarter after Chase McGrath gave the Trojans a 16-13 lead with his third field goal of the game.

Josh Fatu knocked the ball out of Bowers' hand and Uchenna Nwosu recovered the fumble at the 3. Carr ran it in two plays later from the 2 to make it 23-13.

Ykili Ross then intercepted Bowers' pass on the next possession, setting up Darnold's 4-yard TD pass to Deontay Burnett that put away the game.

Bowers finished 22 for 50 for 303 yards with one touchdown, four interceptions and two lost fumbles.

THE TAKEAWAY

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: The Trojans struggled for much of the game without starting RB Ronald Jones (ankle) and WR Steven Mitchell (groin) but managed to pull away late in their first road game of the season.

CALIFORNIA: The Bears used an improved defense to start 3-0 under first-year coach Justin Wilcox but this was supposed to be the test of how far they had come. Cal showed plenty by sticking with a national title contender for three quarters. A sequence on the opening drive of the second will haunt the Bears. Patrick Laird dropped a potential TD in the end zone and Matt Anderson then missed a 29-yard field goal that kept the game tied at 13.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

A win against an unranked team should do little to alter USC's poll position.

UP NEXT

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Visits No. 18 Washington State on Friday.

CALIFORNIA: Visits No. 24 Oregon on Saturday.