USC falls short at Cal, 53-49

Despite a valiant second-half comeback, the USC Trojans (5-9 overall, 0-1 Pac-12) couldn't overcome the California Golden Bears (11-3, 1-0), falling 53-49 in the conference opener for both teams.

Trailing by 10 points with 5:24 to play, USC closed to 50-49 with 44 seconds remaining on the strength of an an 11-2 run. The Trojans elected to play defense rather than foul during the final Cal possession and were rewarded with a block by center Dewayne Dedmon with 10 seconds remaining. But Cal's Allen Crabbe grabbed the rebound and was fouled during a 3-point attempt, and the subsequent free throws provided the final margin.

The Trojans trailed 31-19 at halftime, thanks to another 20 minutes of offensive struggles. USC shot 33.3 percent from the field and missed all four of their 3-point attempts to go along with nine turnovers. USC shot 33.9 percent from the floor in the game and just 46.7 percent from the free-throw line.

Sophomore point guard Maurice Jones once again led the Trojans with 17 points -- the only USC player to score in double figures. He added four steals and four assists. Aaron Fuller scored eight points and grabbed eight rebounds.