UCLA rules the city after outing USC, 66-47


The Clippers and Lakers played Saturday night at Staples Center in a matchup some dubbed “Battle: L.A.”

Just down the street a day later, UCLA and USC engaged in their own city-limits kerfuffle, but with watered-down stakes and a desert-like drought of hype or outside interest.

With each team going nowhere slowly during seasons that probably will end without a postseason tournament appearance, only bragging rights could be won.


UCLA took those, winning, 66-47, in front of a season-high 8,474 at the Galen Center.

With Gus Johnson calling the game on television, it probably sounded exciting — at least early on.

But for those in attendance, the game was a bore until midway through the first half, when, said UCLA forward Travis Wear, “We really stepped on the gas.”

The Bruins, with many defensive stops that became easy baskets, used a 22-4 run to take a 24-10 lead

4 minutes 30 seconds before halftime.

After that, USC all but rolled over in what became UCLA’s largest margin of victory in a road game against its crosstown rival since winning by 18 in 1999.

“That was not the way we drew it up, obviously,” USC Coach Kevin O’Neill said. “They took it to us.”

Or, as Trojans guard Alexis Moore said: “We embarrassed ourselves.”

UCLA, 10-7 overall and 3-2 in the Pac-12 Conference, won its third consecutive game, its eighth in 10 games and its first true road game this season.

“Our guys are excited about how they’re playing,” UCLA Coach Ben Howland said. “I can’t emphasize it enough: They worked really hard for this game.”

USC (5-13, 0-5) extended its losing streak to six games, its longest skid since it lost seven in a row during the 2002-03 season.

The Trojans, who have lost nine of 10, remain the only team without a Pac-12 win. They also lost their first five conference games during the 2004-05 season.

With their imposing front line, the Bruins dominated the Trojans, who kept missing, both on guarded shots (they were 18 for 50 from the field) and unguarded shots (12 for 21 on free throws).

UCLA didn’t let USC recover many of those misfires, out-rebounding the Trojans by 25, which tied for the largest rebounding edge ever by a Howland-coached team.

“With a rivalry game, you think we would come out and play much better,” Moore said.

The Bruins showed up for it and played well, making 26 of 51 shots.

“We’re really starting to click, as a team,” said Wear, who had a game-high 19 points and eight rebounds. “I think we’re running fewer sets, but we’re really executing them well.”

David Wear scored 13 points, and the twins have each scored in double figures in three consecutive games.

Although UCLA had many highlights, the only memorable moment for USC, which was led by Maurice Jones’ 13 points, came when the Trojans weren’t on the court.

At halftime, Harold Miner, the school’s all-time leading scorer (2,048 points in three seasons), had his No.23 jersey retired.

Had he suited up for old times’ sake, the 40-year-old Miner, once known as “Baby Jordan,” probably could have scored a basket or two for USC.

And the Trojans would have welcomed it, because they scored fewer than 50 points for the fifth time in six games.

“We struggle to score,” O’Neill said.

Except when guard Byron Wesley’s alley-oop pass with 1:25 left in the second half accidentally went in.

That might have been USC’s most productive play all game.