Los Angeles, CA – The eyes of the Los Angeles hoops scene went from the Crypto.com Arena a few nights ago to the Galen Center where USC upset crosstown rival #8 UCLA 77-64.
UCLA controlled the game early as the Tyger Campbell and the Bruins looked like the better team on both sides of the floor.
The Bruins went into half with a 37-25 lead with Campbell leading the team in scoring with ten points to go along with three assists and two steals. David Singleton knocked down three 3s early to help.
The Trojans missed open shots and left defenders open. It looked like the rout was on for UCLA.
But like the game easier in the year at Pauley Pavilion, the second half was an entirely different story as the Trojans dominated the team from Westwood.
In that game, USC nearly came back from an 18-point deficit before falling short, 60-58.
This time around the team got a special performance from a special player to make sure the come back was complete.
Guard Boogie Ellis like the rest of his team started slow with four points in the first half but finished the game with a career-high 31 points to go with six assists and four rebounds.
“I felt like the UCLA game, that definitely was on me,” said Ellis of the team’s early season loss against their rival. “But, it’s basketball. You will have your highs and lows, but you always gotta stay right in the middle. So I’m blessed and I’m glad that I was able to help get this one for my team.”
Ellis’ 27 second half points matched the total scored by the Bruins. Another impressive feat Ellis achieved was having zero turnovers on his career night.
USC won the second half by nearly 30 points outscoring the eighth-ranked team in America, 51-27.
The Trojan guard wasn’t alone in his efforts as teammate Drew Peterson chipped in with 16 points.
Defensive adjustments made in the second half also played a huge part in the win for USC.
“We really started to hard hedge the ball screens, tried to put pressure on their guards, so (Tyger) Campbell couldn’t get in the lane and the other guys,” said Trojans coach Andy Enfield. Our big players, our centers Josh (Morgan) and Vince (Iwuchukwu) did a really good job of getting out on the ball screens and getting back before they could reverse the ball or throw it into their bigs at the rim.”
Campbell finished the game with 14 points and Singleton only made one three-point field goal after halftime.
“We just didn’t get the job done. They turned up the heat, they created deflections. We didn’t handle it. Then they got going. Once they got going, the crowd got behind them. They made some un-guardable shots” said UCLA coach Mick Cronin.
But the star of the night was Ellis who boogied all over the floor and led his team to a resume building win.
“We were supposed to be more aggressive on him. We played him soft and he made his play. And that’s what he does when you are playing soft” coach Cronin said.
Now both teams will look to finish strong to compete for the regular season Pac-12 title.