UCLA faced off against an overmatched Pac-12 opponent in the Southern Cal Trojans on Saturday night at the Galen Center. It did not look that way in the early going.
The game started off with a quick bucket by Byron Wesley for SC followed by back-to-back buckets by Jordan Adams, getting over his struggles in the Oregon State game early.
Kyle Anderson contributed an And-1 followed by a traditional 3 for the next 6 UCLA points, but also had two early turnovers. Wesley stayed hot for the Trojans, putting up 7 points in the first 5 minutes as UCLA trailed 11-10 at the first TV timeout. An awful in bounds pass by the Trojans led to a failed 3-on-1 fast break by the Bruins after a Kyle Anderson steal. The Trojans extended their lead to 13-10 after an easy bucket.
The bench squad entered shortly after and saw UCLA cut the deficit quickly thanks to a jumper by Anderson and a 3-pointer by Adams. The game was knotted up at 17 into the 2nd TV timeout. A little disconcerting that 15 of UCLA's first 17 came from Adams and Anderson, as the rest of the team started 1-6 shooting.
Southern Cal was playing clearly playing with more effort than the Bruins in the early going, with a 12-7 run out of the timeout to take a 5-point lead over UCLA. J.T. Terrell and Wesley provided most of the scoring for the Trojans and Zach LaVine contributed UCLA's first bench points of the game with a 3-pointer. The Trojans went 12 for their first 19 (an absurd 63.2% clip) without any glaring defensive errors by the Bruins.
The next timeout saw the Bruins return without Adams or Anderson on the court and Southern Cal took advantage as the Bruins couldn't create any semblance of an offense, furthering their lead as UCLA went on a cold streak shooting (0-7 on mostly poor shots).
Wesley converted on a layup, his 14th and 15th points of the game, to give the Trojans a 10-point lead at 34-24. A pair of buckets by the Wear twins and a shooter's bounce on a 3 by Adams got UCLA back within 4 points at 35-31.
Some traded buckets led to a 41-35 UCLA deficit going into the 2nd half. Anderson and Adams both put up 10 at the half, while the other 6 players combined to shoot 5-21 in the first half. Really poor shooting by the entire team.
The rest of the team decided to show up in the early 2nd half. A 3 and another made bucket by Travis Wear closed the gap to just 1 at 41-40 early in the 2nd half. A steal and dunk by Norman Powell gave UCLA the lead for the first time since very early in the first half. A David Wear 3 pushed the lead to 4, but was followed by back-to-back buckets by the Trojans to give them a 1-point edge. Normal Powell then answered that with a 3 off of an assist by Anderson.
Powell went on a mini-run that also saw a thundering dunk and a corner-3 that pushed UCLA's lead to 54-46 (giving UCLA a 30-12 run that stretched back to the first half).
Adams drained a 3 and the hot shooting streak by the Trojans fizzled out, shooting just 20% in the first 7 minutes of the 2nd half. Powell made another 3, pushing the score to 62-47.
Powell exploded in the second half, really the driving force behind UCLA taking over the game. One of his best games as a Bruin.
SC went on a 5-0 to make it a 10-point game, but were unable to get closer than that until 6 minutes were left in the half. UCLA kept the Trojans at bay, pushing the lead to 69-53 before the Trojans went on a mini-run to get within 10 at 69-59.
Traded baskets pushed it to 71-61 when Coach Alford took a timeout to settle things down.
Out of the timeout, Bryce Alford sank a pair of free throws and Powell got another steal and finished the fast break with a layup, forcing Southern Cal's joke of a coach to call a timeout of his own.The Trojans went on a 5-0 run of their own, getting it back to under 10 with just over 3 minutes to go.
A steal by the Trojans on lazy dribbling by Anderson and a dunk to finish made it a 76-68 lead and the Trojans went into foul mode to stretch out the game.
Anderson made a pair to make it 78-68, an And-1 by Wesley (giving him 27 points on the night) made it 78-71, a dumb foul on Powell by the Trojans allowed Norman to sink a pair of free throws and give Powell 21 points and UCLA a 80-71 lead. Wesley then got fouled by Powell, not overly smart, but he missed the front-end of a 1-and-1.
A missed jumper by Anderson and a layup by Pe'Shon Howard got SC within 7 at 80-73.
Some made free throws late saw the score wrap up at 83-73 in a UCLA victory.
Norman Powell was the biggest reason UCLA pulled this game out after an embarrassing first half by everyone except Anderson and Adams. Powell ended up with 21 points on 8-13 shooting (2-4 from 3).
Jordan Adams had a nice bounce back game, with 17 points and 8 rebounds. Kyle Anderson had a tough second half shooting, but still ended up with 15 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists, a steal and 2 blocked shots. The Wears combined for 18 points (5-10 shooting, 2-3 on 3-pointers), 11 rebounds and 4 steals.
The bench was basically a non-factor. Bryce made some free throws late, but was just kind of out there existing. Tony Parker contributed next to nothing and Zach LaVine made a couple of 3-pointers.
For the Trojans, Byron Wesley had a field day with 27 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists. Pe'Shon Howard and J.T. Terrell both had 13+ points but threw up a ton of shots, combining for 4-16 from beyond the arc.
Overall, very bad first half and a predictably good second half. The Bruins hold on to 2nd place in the Pac-12 and move to 18-5 (7-3 in the Pac-12).
Until next time, Go Bruins!