Men's Basketball
    Trojans Suffer Heartbreaking Loss to Cal in OT
    Taj Gibson dunks against Cal. (AP Photo)
    Taj Gibson dunks against Cal. (AP Photo)

    Feb. 26, 2009

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    BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) -- Patrick Christopher scored eight of his career-high 29 points in overtime, Jerome Randle added 15 points and eight assists, and California held on to beat Southern California 81-78 on Thursday night.

    The Golden Bears blew a 10-point lead in the final seven minutes of regulation but outscored the Trojans 16-13 in overtime to win and split the season series with USC.

    Christopher and freshman Jorge Gutierrez sank two free throws apiece to put Cal ahead 79-75 in overtime with 16.4 seconds left before Daniel Hackett made a 3-pointer to pull the Trojans within 79-78.

    Christopher was then fouled while trying to dribble out the clock and made both free throws. Hackett missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to end it.

    Hackett matched his career-high of 26 points and added four assists for USC (16-11, 7-8).

    Theo Robertson scored four of his 10 points in overtime for Cal.

    Cal led by 12 early in the second half and was ahead 61-51 with 6:46 remaining before USC went on a 14-4 run to tie the game at 65. Both teams had a chance to win in regulation but the Trojans' Marcus Simmons had his shot blocked in the paint while Randle missed three shots, including one at the buzzer.

    The two teams traded baskets early in overtime before Christopher took over, scoring six of the Bears final eight points.

    USC, which scored just three points over the final seven minutes of Saturday's 60-51 loss to Washington, rallied late in the second half but couldn't do the same in overtime and scored just one basket over the final 2:29.

    Christopher, who was held to nine points in Saturday's 65-54 loss at Oregon State, had that many in the first nine minutes against USC. He made his first six shots, including a pair of 3-pointers, to help the Bears take a 30-21 lead and finished the half with 16 points.

    Cal needed every bit.

    With Hackett exploiting creases in the Bears' defense, the Trojans came back from the early deficit and pulled within 38-34 at halftime. Paired against Christopher early, Hackett picked up his second foul midway through the half but stayed on the floor, a gamble by USC coach Tim Floyd that paid off, as the junior guard had 12 points before the break to keep the Trojans close.