Trojans Turn It Around on Down-Turned Bruins : College basketball: USC avenges 29-point loss, 85-79. UCLA is only a .500 team in its last 10 games.
USC took out its season of frustration Thursday night by defeating archrival and No. 15 UCLA, 85-79, at the Sports Arena.
The Trojans played more like the team in the hunt for the Pacific 10 Conference title than UCLA, as they received outstanding efforts from Brandon Martin, who finished with 19 points, and Mark Boyd, who had 17, to hand the Bruins their third loss in their last four games and their fifth in 10 games.
USC outshot, outrebounded and outhustled UCLA in avenging an earlier 29-point loss to the Bruins at Pauley Pavilion. USC (14-11, 7-9) now moves into position to gain an National Invitation Tournament berth after losing eight of nine games only a month ago.
After starting the season 14-0, UCLA looked like a troubled team against the Trojans, who had four players score in double figures. Instead of playing with momentum heading toward the NCAA tournament, the Bruins’ frustration showed as Ed O’Bannon was ejected from the game for throwing a punch at USC’s Tremayne Anchrum, who also was ejected, in the final two minutes.
For Boyd, the victory made him the first four-year USC starter to finish his career with a winning record against UCLA. He finished with a 6-4 record against the Bruins.
UCLA (19-5, 12-4), No. 1 in the country a few weeks ago, is now No. 2 in the Pac-10 to Arizona.
With backup seniors John Masdea and Damaine Powell in the starting lineup in their final college home game for USC, the first three minutes of the game were filled with turnovers and wild fouls. The Trojans gained the most from the sloppy play when UCLA point guard Tyus Edney picked up his third foul on a charge with 14:11 remaining in the half.
Instead of coming out of the game, Edney led a 6-0 UCLA run, with backup Cameron Dollar waiting to check into the game, as the Bruins took a 12-7 lead at the 12:45 mark. The Trojans then tied the score on five consecutive points by Martin, who scored 11 in the first half, before UCLA outscored USC, 8-1, to take a 20-12 lead.
That’s when the Trojans went to work. With Tremayne Anchrum making three first-half three-pointers and Burt Harris adding five points, USC outscored the Bruins, 26-11, over the final eight minutes of the half.
UCLA’s halfcourt offense struggled with Edney on the bench, as Charles O’Bannon and Kevin Dempsey took turns missing three-pointers and the Trojans dominating on the backboards. UCLA shot only 32.1% from the field as the Trojans outrebounded UCLA, 22-19, in taking a 39-31 halftime lead.
Before completing its Pac-10 schedule, UCLA will play Louisville Sunday in a nonconference game at Pauley Pavilion. The Bruins, who defeated Louisville in their last meeting in the second round of the NCAA tournament in 1992, have defeated the Cardinals in 11 of their 16 games.
From there, the Bruins will pick up their drive to win their second Pac-10 title in six seasons under Harrick with two road games next week at Oregon State and Oregon. UCLA swept the Oregon schools in January by an average of 25 points at Pauley Pavilion.
With its NCAA tournament hopes long gone, USC can only hope for a second consecutive berth in the National Invitation Tournament. Last year, the Trojans advanced to the quarterfinals before losing at Minnesota, the eventual champion.
The Trojans will also close with road games next week at Oregon and Oregon State, and they will need a sweep in order to keep their postseason quest alive.
“We’re in a desperate position,” Raveling said. “Just like teams are chasing NCAA bids now, we’re chasing an NIT bid. Just as teams are trying to finish the season right, we’re trying to finish right.
"(Getting an NIT berth) is not the reward we started the season seeking, but it’s the best we have awaiting us now. You don’t always get to the party riding in a limousine. Sometimes you have to take a taxi, and that means the NIT.”
A Falling Out
With its loss to USC, UCLA dropped out of first place in the Pacific 10 standings for the first time this season. A look at the conference standings:
Team Conf. Overall W L W L Arizona 13 3 24 4 UCLA 12 4 19 5 California 11 4 20 6 Washington State 8 7 18 9 Stanford 8 7 15 9 Arizona State 8 8 13 12 USC 7 9 14 11 Oregon 5 10 9 15 Washington 3 12 5 19 Oregon State 2 13 6 18