The USC Trojans lost to the UCLA Bruins 102-70 Saturday night in Westwood. The game was an excellent opportunity for USC basketball to sweep the Bruins in the regular season for the second year in a row while also moving into 4th place in the Pac-12 Conference standings. As it stands now USC basketball is 5th in the conference with an 8-6 record in Pac-12 play and 21-6 overall.
USC basketball has now dropped two straight games and with the Arizona Wildcats up next it could turn into a 3-game losing streak with the Trojans going 0-3 over this grueling part of the USC basketball schedule. Conversely, if USC basketball can finally break through against a top 10 team like Arizona on Thursday then the Trojans could finish up the regular season on a 4-game winning streak and a ton of momentum headed into the Pac-12 tournament.
USC vs. UCLA highlights and recaps are below:
“''It felt like we still had a chance midway through the second half but then we couldn't get any stops,'' USC guard Jordan McLaughlin said. ''Once they started making shots they're a tough team to stop.''
[. . .]
''You're not going to beat UCLA when you shoot 33 percent from the field and 31 percent from 3,'' said USC coach Andy Enfield, who got a technical late in the game. ''We missed a lot of easy shots and this is a tough place to play, but we did not get stops when we needed them.''“
“From the tip, the game emanated an aura of intensity. USC led by as many as five before something awakened in their sixth-ranked opponents. As if they could sense infamy enshrouding them, the Bruins responded to their deficit with unparalleled effort. Drawing from the energy of the sold-out Pavilion, the Bruins ended the half on an extended 28-11 run. They never looked back en route to a robust 102-70 victory.”
“Boatwright swirled in a pair of threes to keep USC in it, while Metu’s free throw shots put the Trojans within nine points for the first time in the second half.
Despite USC’s attempts to keep it close, eight unanswered points, including a Bryce Alford triple and a three-point play, gave UCLA their largest lead of the game at 18 with six minutes to go.”
**We could use some help covering USC Basketball.**
“Bennie Boatwright had 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Trojans (21-6, 8-6). They tied a season high with 14 3-pointers in last month's win, but hit seven this time and just two in the second half of their first game in a week.
"It felt like it snowballed late," Boatwright said. "That's a good word for it."
“In fact, Ball stayed in the game until his emphatic jam got the Bruins to the century mark. Then he promptly found the pine.
Make no mistake: Steve Alford was gunning for 100. The Bruins have the No. 1 offensive efficiency rating in the country, and that’s clearly a mark he doesn’t plan on ceding. Couple that with it being a Saturday night rivalry game against a team it had lost four straight against, and it was all the more reason to give fans a revenge show worth watching.”
“Bennie Boatwright led the team with 20 points, and Chimezie Metu added 14. The sophomore big men were the only double-digit scorers. Meanwhile, UCLA’s starting five all scored at least 13 points, with Bryce Alford leading the way with 26 points on 8-15 shooting.
The 32-point defeat was USC’s worst loss of the season. The 102 points the Trojans gave up were the highest point total of the season. The Bruins shot 53.8 percent from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arc, up from 48.4 and 30.0 respectively in USC’s 84-76 win earlier in the season.”
“The first half was a game of runs. Early on, Southern Cal was hitting some threes and UCLA had some turnovers. UCLA was seemingly waiting around for Ball. Don’t get me wrong, Ball was delivering with rebounds (5) and points (9) and even an uncredited block shot but Southern Cal was winning.
But then a couple of funny and different things happen. UCLA made a run, with Ball on the bench. It was not a fluke run. The ball movement was very good and the points were in the flow of the offense. UCLA also was awesome on the boards, winning 23-12.”
“Thomas Welsh once again came alive and got another double-double on the year with 16 points and 16 rebounds. TJ Leaf also helped down low with 19 points and 8 rebounds. Lonzo Ball and Isaac Hamilton chipped in 15 and 13 points, respectively. UCLA collectively shot 53.8% from the field.”
“When UCLA tipped off against USC Saturday night, the No. 6 team in the country was simply trying to avoid embarrassment. A loss would have extended USC’s win streak against UCLA to five games, its longest in the rivalry since the 1940s.”
“USC needs some momentum to end this season, but the Trojans lost to No. 7-ranked Oregon last week, lost to No. 6-ranked UCLA on Saturday night and will travel to face No. 5 Arizona on Thursday. That could mean losing three of their final six regular-season games and puts pressure on USC to perform well in the Pac-12 Tournament.”
It was a tough loss but now USC basketball is moving on to defeat Arizona on Thursday night February 23.