After a touching moment of silence for Lakers owner and Trojan alum Dr. Jerry Buss, the UCLA Bruins looked to avenge their Jan 30th overtime loss to their crosstown rivals known as the USC Trojans. The Bruins vindicated themselves and kept their school pride, as they destroyed the Trojans 75-59 on Sunday at Galen Center.
Even after the eight day layoff, the Bruins showed no signs of rust, as the propelled themselves to a quick 7-0 lead before the Trojans would call for time, and try to regroup.
The Trojans made poor choice with their shot selection, as they missed their first nine of eleven shots, while the Bruins made 80% of their shots on their way to a huge 47-26 halftime lead. The Bruins shot an amazing 58% from the field despite not having Travis Wear in the line up due to a severe foot injury.
In the second half the Trojans seems to try to muster up some fire as they opened up the half with a 7-0 run of their own. Bruins Tony Parker who a big force in the middle against Dewayne Dedmon, who played seventeen minutes, had eight points and three rebounds.
Fighting for a loose ball, Norman Powell got tangled up with Omar Oraby, and the two had to be quickly separated by teammates. The result was a double technical foul on both players
The Trojans fought back tremendously and brought down the deficit to 11, but it was simply not enough. At about the eight minute mark of the game, things continue to remain chippy as Byron Wesley was called for a flagrant foul on Shabazz Muhammad. Wesley prevented Muhammad from scoring on an open layup.
The Bruins would finish just half a game out of first for the Pac-12 title with the victory. The Trojans would fall to 7-7 in the Pac-12 and 12-15 overall with the loss. in seventh place the Trojans will face Arizona on Wednesday and Arizona State on Saturday for their final meeting before the Pac-12 tournament.
Trojans Jio Fontan who fouled out finished with just 4 points, as J.T. Terrell who was lighting in a bottle for the Men of Troy finished with 17 points.
The Bruins finished with five players in double figures, as Jordan Adams led the way with 20 points, and David Wear finished with another double-double 10 points, 11 rebounds.
Coach Ben Howland was pleased with his team's effort especially in the second half. "In the first half we played tremendous. Really proud of Tony Parker's play, thought that was huge today. I love looking and seeing five guys in double figures." Howland went on to say, "When we've had that type of balance, thats when we've been our best team."
"We got down 7-0 right out of the gate and from that point it was tough to battle out of that," said USC coach Bob Cantu on UCA setting an early tone.
UCLA guard Kyle Anderson also spoke about the chippyness of the game, "Larry Drew just did a great job of holding us all together. He made sure nobody did anything stupid or retaliated.... Thank God we have great leaders."
"We always want to beat USC!" said Jordan Adams. "We're not really a catch-up team. We wanted to come out and throw the first punch against our rival."
USC's Dewayne Dedmon who loves to get up and down the court, was not a huge factor against the Bruins as he finished with only four points.
The Bruins who behind Oregon and Arizona as they race for first in Pac-12, will face Arizona State on Wednesday, follow by a huge Pac-12 showdown with top seed Arizona on Saturday evening.