Here are some takeaways from UCLA's 65-50 victory over USC as the Bruins were victorious on USC's home court to break a five-game losing streak at the Galen Center.
UCLA's Standout Players: Dylan Andrews led the Bruins with 20 points, four assists, and his two rebound as his offensive contributions were instrumental in powering UCLA to a much needed victory. Lazar Stefanovic was consistent in the game with 17 points, nine rebounds, and two steals providing valuable support to Andrews and solidifying UCLA's scoring attack on the road against their crosstown rival.
Defensive Dominance: UCLA held USC to only 50 points, showcasing their exceptional defensive performance and holding the Trojans to their lowest scoring total of the season. This effort stifled USC's offense and kept them at bay throughout the game showcased by them outrebounding the Trojans by a 43-29 margin. The Bruins controlled the key areas of rebounding and turnovers, limiting USC's second-chance opportunities and minimizing their offensive possessions.
Struggles on offense for both teams: Both teams, despite the rivalry, had disappointing seasons leading into the game as both the Bruins and the Trojans entered the game with both having 8-11 losing records. The offenses for both teams wasn't particularly explosive, and neither team shot particularly well from the field or from three-point range.
The meaning of this win for UCLA: This win provided a much-needed morale boost for both a UCLA team that won it's nine game of season, but it doesn't necessarily signify a shift in their larger season narrative of the Bruins going to the NCAA tournament. However, back to back wins on the football field and the basketball court in this rivalry means something for the UCLA fans.
Rivalry Implications: Regardless of the overall season context, UCLA's victory in the Crosstown Showdown maintains their bragging rights over USC. It provides a source of pride for fans and keeps the rivalry fire burning. These two teams next play on February 24th.
Defensively, UCLA's performance was commendable, demonstrating their ability to shut down an opponent as they have been able to do for much of their season. However, the overall offensive struggles and disappointing season thus far for UCLA suggest that this win shouldn't be seen as a major turning point but if the Bruins can win four of their next five games, then we can start to talk about UCLA taking a major step forward..