Los Angeles, CA- For the first time in five years, The USC Trojans(8-12) have fallen on their home court to their crosstown rivals the UCLA Bruins(9-11) 65-50.
USC now has dropped their last five straight games and their last four since their starting guard Isaiah Collier was declared out for four to six weeks with a hand injury.
Head Coach Andy Enfield spoke about the current state of the team postgame. “I think you always feel pressure when you lose,” Enfield said. “No one likes to lose, our players don’t like it, the coaches don’t like it, the fans don’t like it. So yeah, there’s pressure to win every game you play and certainly when you have some adversity, it makes it a little harder and you gotta fight through that.”
The Trojans’ fifth-year senior leader Boogie Ellis, who scored 31 points in last year’s home win against UCLA returned from a hamstring injury that held him out of their last three contest.
Ellis made his presence felt early in the game, demonstrating his scoring ability with two quick 3-pointers and a midrange jumper that sparked an early 10-0 run for USC. The Trojans were in control with a seven-point lead midway through the first half.
Following a challenging four-game losing streak of their own, UCLA managed to show some resilience and secure victories in three of their last four games. The Bruins showed some of that same resiliency as they responded to USC’s 10-0 run with a 22-4 run to take a 37-26 lead into halftime.
USC struggled to find looks outside of Boogie Ellis, the Trojans shot 42% from the field in the first half going 9-21.
Dylan Andrews led all scorers with 20 points and scored 12 of his aforementioned 20 in the first half.
UCLA went 14-35 from the field and shot 40% in the first half but outrebound USC 22-12 which gave the Bruins an 11-0 advantage in second-chance points.
In the second half, the Bruins’ dominance inside the paint continued. Adem Bona recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds and was a physical presence inside for UCLA.
USC’s defense presented problems for the Bruins as they alternated between man and zone resulting in the Bruins shooting 6-21 for 28% in the second half.
The Trojans were again outrebounded 21-17 in the second half resulting in a 17-4 advantage and got them to the free-throw line where they made 14-18 attempts.
USC shot a disappointing 29% in the second half after going 8-27 from the field. The Trojans ended the game shooting 17-48 from the floor finishing at 35%.
Oziyah Sellers led USC in scoring and was the only Trojan in double figures with 10 points on 3-3 shooting from the field.
Boogie Ellis spoke on how disappointing the loss to their rivals was “I feel like sometimes we gotta have some more pride, at the end of the day, we had a lot guys on last year’s team that really knew how much it meant to us,” said Ellis postgame. The Trojans now sit dead last in the Pac-12 standings with a record of 2-7 and an overall record of 8-12. They must now prepare to host the University of Oregon on Thursday in a revenge game after the Ducks defeated them 82-74 on December 28th.