USC makes it another runaway with 80-61 victory over UCLA

USC makes it another runaway with 80-61 victory over UCLA
USC guardJulian Jacobs (12) celebrates the win over UCLA as Bruins guard Bryce Alford walks off the court. (Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)

This, apparently, was what Andy Enfield meant.

Three years ago, after he was hired as USC's basketball coach, Enfield declared, "If you want to play slow, go to UCLA."


UCLA drubbed USC in the teams' next five meetings. Enfield's early bombast evaporated quickly.

The speed, though, has arrived. On Thursday, for the second time this season, USC ran past UCLA, this time for an easy 80-61 victory.

USC scored 13 fastbreak points. UCLA did not score any.

It was USC's first sweep of UCLA since 2010, and it highlighted two seasons moving in opposite directions. USC (18-5, 7-3 in the Pac-12 Conference) remains one game back of first-place Oregon. UCLA (13-10, 4-6) has lost four of its last six games

Afterward, Enfield said, simply, "It's nice to beat anybody twice in our league."

This was USC's biggest basketball game in years. The line of students snaked around Galen Center. The student section filled up 90 minutes before tipoff. It was USC's first sellout since 2011, and 10,258 attended. The previous high was 6,854.

"I think at this point, people actually know who we are," guard Julian Jacobs said after the Trojans improved to an all-time best 14-0 at home.

In the teams' first meeting, USC ran and the Bruins tried to keep up. They could not. The Trojans won by 14 points.

On Thursday, again, the styles clashed from the beginning.

Jacobs took the tip and sprinted to score within the game's first five seconds. The Trojans broke out in transition and made their first four shots. UCLA missed its first five. The Trojans scored nine points in a row.

"We have a style we like to play," Enfield said.

Guard Elijah Stewart said that as the game goes on USC's transition game wears down opponents.

"Hands on hips," Stewart said. "Sweating. Eyes closed sometimes. They're just trying to make it."

USC's speed illuminated UCLA's lineup dilemma. With two big men, Tony Parker and Thomas Welsh, in the lineup, UCLA has been too slow. For the second game in a row, Jonah Bolden started for Parker.


When Parker played, USC had no answers for his post presence. But playing him and Welsh could've turned USC's track meet into a stock-car race.

Parker scored 13 points in 14 minutes, less playing time than Bolden or reserve forward Gyorgy Goloman.

With the new lineup, UCLA Coach Steve Alford thought the Bruins were not at an athleticism deficit.

"I didn't notice that in this game as much as I did in Game 1," he said.

The Bruins just didn't make shots, he said. UCLA shot 34.8% from the field.

"It hurts," Welsh said. "We work hard every day and we're just not where we need to be right now."

Aaron Holiday scored 15 points and was able to slow USC defensively. But he picked up three fouls in the second half and had to sit.

Bryce Alford made only three of 13 shots for 10 points Isaac Hamilton shot three for 12 and also scored 10 points.

With about four minutes left, an Alford three-pointer and a Hamilton basket cut USC's lead to six.

On the next possession, Stewart answered with a three-pointer.

Stewart scored 16 points off the bench. Jacobs scored 17 with five assists, and fellow guard Jordan McLaughlin had nine points and 10 assists.

The fans stood for the last two minutes. In the final seconds, with the shot clock expiring, McLaughlin lazily flicked up a three-pointer, almost underhand, from well behind the arc, just trying to land it near the rim.

It went in.

That kind of night. That kind of season.

Follow Zach Helfand on Twitter: @zhelfand