The UCLA Bruins (18-5, 7-3) have swept the season series against crosstown rival USC (10-13, 1-9) to win 83-73. Questions on whether UCLA runs this town are now beginning to fade as the Bruins continue to prove this hypothesis to be true. A game that started out like the Bruin’s game in Corvallis last weekend, turned out to be “Just Like Football”. Again.
The Trojans played some inspired basketball to start the game. After the 107-73 drubbing they took at Pauley Pavilion, it was apparent they were not going to let the same thing occur on their own floor. Something happened for USC. Byron Wesley happened.
The Trojans leading scorer was the fire and the pulse of dominating Trojan team. He had 18 points in the first half and ended with 27. The Bruin defense, once again, was non-existent.
USC was not great, they were just better. Better than a UCLA team that had no spark. The offense was poor and the defense, well, they have never really had defense they can rely on.
But then something happened in the 2nd half for UCLA. Norman Powell happened.
— Pac-12 Networks (@Pac12Networks) February 9, 2014
With the Trojans coming out flat, albeit with a 41-35 lead, Powell had taken matters into his own hands.
Steals, dunks, 3-pointers, Powell had it all going for him. He embarrassed the Trojan defense and there was nothing they could do about it, they were stupefied. He had more points than the Trojans in the beginning of the second half as he went on a 13-5 run on his own and finished with a game-high 21 points.
Kyle Anderson added to the pains of being a Trojan, as he notched 15 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists. Like most Bruins, he was quiet in the first half, but made a spectacular effort to get back in the game in the second. Still not his best effort, but it is a star to getting back to his normal self.
The Trojans, who woke up with less than ten minutes left, had a few opportunities during a 9-shot drought by UCLA. But like the game, the effort was soft and uninspired.
UCLA was able to finish a contest that looked to get out of control early. Head Coach Steve Alford finally did something he was suppose to and make adjustments. The coaching was not great in the first half, but being able to see how USC fell asleep (so to speak) and capitalize on that with some actual coaching is an improvement. Heck, the Bruins are now 5-4 playing away form Pauley. Progress.
Go Joe Bruin Player Of The Game: Norman Powell