Cal rallies past USC after Montgomery-Crabbe exchange

BERKELEY, Calif. -- Allen Crabbe, the Pac-12's leading scorer, rallied California to its third straight win after getting into a heated exchange with coach Mike Montgomery as the Golden Bears beat USC 76-68 on Sunday night.

Crabbe regained his composure to score 10 points over the final 4 minutes and helped Cal close the game on a 25-7 run. He finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds and Justin Cobbs added 22 points as the Golden Bears (16-9, 8-5) overcame a 15-point deficit in the second half.

The victory, though, was somewhat overshadowed by Montgomery giving Crabbe a shove during a timeout. After Crabbe half-heartedly ran upcourt on Cal's possession, Montgomery called the timeout, got close to his player and yelled, "Do you want to play?"

During the timeout, Crabbe was ushered into the tunnel near Cal's bench by some teammates in an attempt to calm him down.

Montgomery released a postgame statement, saying, "I have great passion for this game and tonight, I let my emotions get away from me in the heat of the moment. While my intent was to motivate our student-athletes, my behavior was inappropriate and I apologize for my actions."

Said Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour: "It is unacceptable for our coaches to have physical contact with student-athletes regardless of the circumstances. The second-half incident was certainly out of character for Mike Montgomery, and I am confident that something like this will not happen again."

Crabbe downplayed the incident, telling reporters afterward that "it was an emotional game at the time. He was trying to motivate me. Everything's fine. It's under the bridge. He's my coach."

J.T. Terrell scored 17 points and Byron Wesley scored 16 for USC (12-14, 7-6). The Trojans made just two baskets over the final 6 minutes.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.