So much for the line in Vegas and the tough 13 mile trek across town (or the hop skip and a jump from the cesspool we currently call "home"). The Bruins used a late first half surge to blitz the Trogans, leaving them dumbfounded, stunned, and with no answers, delivering a solid 66-47 pounding (box score).
As many complaints as we've heard about UCLA's offense throughout the Ben Howland era, leave it to usc to show us what offensive ineptitude really looks like. A team as discombobulated and disjointed as the Trogans makes it really difficult to tell how effective our defense was. There were as many signs of the Bruins being active and moving their feet and being in good position as there were signs that usc may have had trouble achieving tonight's score in an empty gym. Besides more poor decisions, especially early on, from Joshua Smith on his fouls, there isn't a lot to complain about when a team suffocates offensively like the Trogans did. usc's hobbit-like guard Maurice Jones led the Trogans with 13 points, but clearly lost the overall battle of the Joneses to Lazeric Jones. Maurice was also their best offensive weapon. It was that kind of night.
Offensively, again, there's not a lot to take away from a game where we entered garbage time 5 minutes before halftime. Perhaps Tyler Lamb fouling out with a goose egg in the score sheet, but everyone else seemed to get what they wanted in the first half. The second half devolved into Ben Howland's typical game shortening ball control offense which left little in the way of offensive excitement, but given that I didn't complain about it when we were winning consistently and it was working, I'll refrain from expounding too much on that now that we're not.
It was basically as uneventful as a rivalry game could be, and confirmed the same trends we've been noticing about this team recently. Powell is awesome, rebounds well, and needs to play more. The Wears are fantastic when they choose their shots wisely, and at least attempt to defensive rebound. Lazeric Jones is going to shoot, and we need him to make a good percentage against good teams. Smith still isn't in great shape but better than he was at the start of the season and still commits bad fouls. So no surprises really. The only question remaining is whether Utah or usc is the worst team in the conference, and I think usc just took the lead.
Up next, on the road in Corvallis on Thursday night, the high scoring Oregon State Beavers. That means dust off your "President Obama mention" drinking games.