Tyler Lamb #1 and Jerime Anderson #5 of may have been bent over from having to play so many minutes against a bad USC team last night. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
First let me start off with the good, that also has a bit of a bad component. Jerime Anderson again had a good game, with the exception of weak finish, and it was important for the senior.
This was the way to go out. UCLA senior guard Jerime Anderson was adamant about that.
The world will little remember what happened at the Sports Arena on Wednesday. UCLA has often put the "me" in mediocre this season. USC is barreling fast toward a school record for losses.
Anderson, though, will always have this memory. UCLA's 64-54 victory over USC allowed him to leave the rivalry with a 5-4 record against the Trojans - barring a matchup in the Pac-12 tournament.
"It means I won," Anderson said. "At the end of the day, I have one more win.
"I have had a lot of ups and downs against USC in my career. It means a lot to go out with a sweep (this season). It doesn't matter to me what my numbers are, or how I was individually."
We are happy for Anderson. But really CBH, it took the worst Trojan team in recent memory for UCLA to have a winning record over USC for the last four years?
Another player that had a nice game, at least at the start, was David Wear. On the positive side you have to give the Wear twins credit. They fight and play hard and both had double-doubles against Southern Cal.
David Wear had also wrestled with an upset stomach in recent days, the source of his indigestion a 10-point, 1-rebound effort in a 73-63 loss to Cal last Saturday.
"That's just unacceptable," Wear said.
Wear and the Bruins took out their frustrations on the Trojans from the opening tip, at one point scoring 10 unanswered points in a key second half stretch. . . .
"We had an advantage on offense and were able to run our sets and get tip-outs for offensive rebounds," Travis Wear said.
All of which enabled the Bruins to build a 51-28 lead with 11:28 left. It was a big enough lead for UCLA to hold off the Trojans' late runs.
Bu what was not acceptable was CBH playing the Wears and the starters so many minutes. The decision is baffling and even worse Tyler Lamb was playing on a sore hamstring:
Going up against a team with only one conference victory, you figured this might be a game where some of the starters got some much-needed rest before the team heads to New York to play St. John's on Saturday.
Instead, the Trojans forced Howland to keep his starters in the game the whole time and not only that, but Travis Wear played a season-high 37 minutes and David played 34, the most he has played since he played 37 in the season opener.
"I was a little gassed a couple of times," Travis Wear said.
. . .
Tyler Lamb, nursing a strained hamstring, played 34 minutes, Anderson played 36 and Lazeric Jones played 33. Howland used a seven-man rotation and got only 24 minutes out of his bench, but he said he wasn't concerned with so many players playing so many minutes days before a cross-country trip.
Did fatigue play a part in the Bruins' let down and let the Trojans come back in the second half?
The Bruins held the Trojans to 24 percent shooting in the first half while building an almost-double-digit halftime lead on their way to a 19-point win, the team's third straight at the time.
This time around, the butterfly fought back.
UCLA similarly steamrolled USC early Wednesday night at the Sports Arena, but the Trojans made a game of it, eventually succumbing to the Bruins 64-54 in front of 9,064. . . .
"A little bit was fatigue, a little bit it was us not staying as intense as we should have," Anderson said. "Kind of just going with the flow of the game and not forcing the issue."
While it is great for the players and students to get a sweep of Southern Cal, Vincent Bonsignore writes a devastating piece on how little this game meant. He argues the game was not even the battle of the best team in LA as that goes to LMU. While he is a little over the top in his critique, there is more than a grain of truth to what he wrote.
It was two mediocre to downright bad teams playing a game to decide nothing.
UCLA isn't nearly as bad off as their cross-town rivals, but it's beyond maddening how they've spent the past three seasons mired in mediocrity.
. . .
But 2009 is now 2012 and if there has been any improvement, it's of the incremental kind.
The Final Four seems a million miles away, the Sweet 16 almost as far.
And that is unacceptable.