South Florida’s two stars - forward B.B. Waldon and guard Altron Jackson - combined for 41 points and 25 rebounds, leading the Bulls to a 79-59 rout of Cal Saturday night.
The Bears, who dropped to 4-1 on the year, shot just 34.4 percent from the field and made only 7-of-26 from three-point range. USF (6-0) won the battle on the boards, 50-35, getting 20 of its caroms on the offensive end.
“You can’t get down like we did. A lot of it was on hustle plays,” Cal head coach Ben Braun said. “You’re not going to beat anybody giving up 20 offensive rebounds.”
Cal entered the game leading the nation in defense by giving up only 51.3 points per game. But the Bulls had 51 points with 17:24 left and never let the Bears back into the contest.
Cal took its only lead at 3-2 on a Shantay Legans three-pointer. USF then reeled off six straight points before the Bears battled back to trail, 11-10. The Bulls responded with a 16-3 run to take a 27-13 lead with 5:03 remaining in the first half. Cal did not get within 10 points the rest of the way.
In the opening period, the Bears committed 11 turnovers and connected on only seven field goals against USF’s pressure 1-3-1 defense to fall behind 40-23 at the break.
“I was disappointed in our effort,” Braun said. “We did not have intensity for 40 minutes, but maybe 8-10 minutes. We thought coming in we needed to be aggressive and we weren’t.”
In the second half, South Florida scored the first 11 points and maintained a 20-point advantage most of the rest of the game. Cal did make a mini-run in the closing two minutes and trailed, 72-57, with 55 second to go.
Joe Shipp was 4-for-15 from the field, but led Cal with 15 points and six rebounds. Ryan Forehan-Kelly came off the bench for 14 points, while Dennis Gates added 11. Cal’s inside duo of forward Jamal Sampson and center Solomon Hughes managed six points and nine rebounds together.
Jackson paced all scorers with 23 points, with Waldon chipping in 18 and guard Reggie Kohn scoring 10.