UCLA and USC basketball rivalry week part 1 game 2

The best 20 basketball games in recent memory between the UCLA Bruins and the USC Trojans.

UCLA v USC / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages
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Let's take a look at the best twenty games between UCLA and USC in the 21st Century.

The list of the top 20 games are listed in chronological order. Let's begin with games 20 through 16 in the UCLA and USC basketball rivalry.

No. 20

Final. 78. 519. UCLA vs. USC. 83. 518

2000: UCLA 83-78

Earl Watson scored 22 points and Jason Kapono scored 25 of his season-high 27 points in the second half as UCLA defeated USC in this battle between these two historical rivals.

The win snapped the Bruins' three-game losing streak and handed local foe USC its seventh straight defeat at Pauley Pavilion.

With the victory over the Trojans, UCLA was able to guarantee a spot in the NCAA tournament for that year. At the time, the league consisted of ten, not twelve, teams. The Bruins were in fourth place in the conference standing prior to their match up with the Trojans.

When USC met UCLA earlier in the month, they snapped a 10-game losing streak to the Bruins. To put it in perspective, UCLA won 14 of 15 games against the Trojans from 1995 to 2001. That season, UCLA would ultimately advance to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA Tournament.

No. 19

80. 518. Final. 75. 519. UCLA

2001: UCLA 80-75

In a back-and-forth contests, UCLA upset No. 19 USC 80-75. The Bruins that game led by more than ten points just once during the contest.

With that win, the Bruins were tied with top-ranked Stanford in the conference and had won four consecutive games in a row.

With that loss, USC, who came into the game with a record of 12-3, had their three-game winning streak come to a halt with this defeat. Additionally, this was their eighth consecutive loss at Pauley Pavilion, where they last prevailed and won back in 1993.

No. 18

519. Final. 77. 518. USC. 81

2002: USC 81-77

For the Trojans' first victory at Pauley Pavilion in a decade, USC defeated UCLA 80-75 thanks to a strong second half performance.

Jason Kapono, a senior at UCLA, was limited to 10 points on 4 of 15 field goal attempts.

After winning their first two league games before this defeat to the Trojans, the Bruins dropped to 4-6. This match also marked the team's fourth home loss of the campaign.

With 16 points, Dijon Thompson led five UCLA players in double figures. T.J. Cummings chipped in with 14 rebounds and 13 points.

Then USC coach Henry Bibby got his second victory in his tenure as the Trojans coach. Bruins fans know Bibby as he helped UCLA as a player win three national championships as a guard for the Bruins from 1970-72.

No. 17

519. UCLA basketball. 67. 518. Final. 65

2002: No. 15 UCLA 67-65

With just over 30 seconds remaining in the game, Trojan Brandon Granville made two free throws to give USC a 65-64 lead. The Trojans had rallied from a 61-50 deficit with just over 6 minutes left.

But No. 15 UCLA defeated No. 25 USC 67-65 thanks to a last-second 3-pointer by Billy Knight, sparing the Bruins from a first-ever sweep by the Trojans since the 1991–92 campaign.

With 26 points, Jason Kapono led Knight with 14, Gadzuirc with 11, and Matt Barnes with 10.

No. 16

85. 518. USC Trojans. 86. 519. Final

2003: USC 86-85

The Trojans would play well in the latter part of the second half, but UCLA led 36-34 at the half. UCLA, swept by its crosstown rivals for the first time since 1992, was defeated 86-85 by USC thanks to two free throws hit by Errick Craven with less than five seconds left in the game.

The Bruins' worst losing streak since 1940–41, when they dropped ten straight games, ended with the loss.

The UCLA Bruins' eight-game losing streak started on January 8 at Pauley Pavilion, when they were defeated 80-75 by the Trojans.

For the first time since 1988, both teams had losing records going into the rivalry game.