UCLA Basketball traveled across town to
Costco Sams Club Galen Center tonight to take on a southern cal squad that is doing its best to earn their Just SC moniker. After a close first half, the Bruins pulled away late to secure a 4th straight win against the folks across town, returning to Westwood with an 83-66 victory.
The Bruins dominated the boards throughout the 1st half, but aside fron a brief run at the midway point, southern cal kept close thanks to 9 UCLA turnovers. The trojans took a brief lead at the 6 minute mark before the Bruins regained the lead, opening up a 5 point halftime advantage thanks to a 3 by Thomas Welsh and a defensive stop at the other end. The defense wasn't always solid, with Nikola Jovanovic surpassing his season average in the 1st half, scoring 14 points, with Katin Reinhardt pitching in 10 in the opening period - though the trojans were held to 38% shooting for the half. Tony Parker scored 11 on a perfect 5-5 effort from the field as the Bruins hit 50% from the field, including Thomas Welsh's 3-4 and a 3 from Gyorgy Golomon off of the bench.
The Bruins went on a 5-0 run to open up a 10 point lead in the first 2:30 of the 2nd half, soon extending it to a 18 point advantage after a pair of Bryce Alford 3's and a Kevon Looney tip in. Southern Cal went on a 16-6 run to cut their deficit to single digits. At that point, UCLA finally seemed to finally realize that they were up against Just sc, and pulled away in those final few minutes.
Norman Powell came back from last week's injury to score a game-high 22 points, along with 4 boards and 4 assists. Bryce added on 21 thanks to a solid performance from the field including 5 3's. Tony Parker finished the game with 14 points and 7 rebounds while Looney logged another double-double. The Bench even contributed some offense, with Golomon's previously mentioned 3 and Noah Allen's 8 points. Southern Cal felt their lack of inside presence as strongly as Cal did last weekend - the Bruins finishing with a 41-20 rebounding advantage, one of the factors that kept the Bruins ahead early on.
Tonight's win gives the Bruins 3 straight wins in the city of Los Angeles, and leads into a full week off for the team before leaving the southland for the annual Oregon trip. The Bruins next game is a week from thursday night against a rejuvinated Oregon State squad, followed by a Saturday afternoon game against the Ducks that may be a good opportunity for the respective head coaches to share some notes.