It has been over a 12 months due to the fact USC past dropped two game titles in a row and even for a longer period — 3 yrs, 5 days, to be precise — due to the fact the Trojans have been bested by their rival Bruins. But each streaks came to a chaotic summary Saturday in a further rousing rendition of the crosstown rivalry, 1 that begs for a Pac-12 event redux Friday in Las Vegas.
For USC, it was not the perfect ending it could have envisioned to an usually record-breaking typical period. Its streak over UCLA experienced been a big point of satisfaction, a vibrant neon signal asserting USC’s arrival as an equivalent Pac-12 contender. Right until Saturday, UCLA mentor Mick Cronin experienced hardly ever bested USC’s Andy Enfield, his crosstown counterpart.
That adjusted Saturday in a tidal wave of Trojan turnovers and Jaime Jaquez Jr.‘s jumpers. Now, the Trojans will drag a distinct sort of streak to the Vegas Strip this week.
“We know what is at stake,” Enfield said. “We believe we can acquire the Pac-12 event if we participate in well. We could also shed in the to start with spherical if we don’t play well. This workforce had an outstanding yr. We’re 25-6. 25-6. What am I likely to say? Set the university document for wins in the normal time. Yeah, we shed to UCLA and we missing two in a row to a pretty great Arizona group. But we’re 25-6.”
Here’s what we took away from USC’s 75-68 decline to UCLA:
Turnovers turned the tide.
30-one seconds remained and USC was down only 4 when Drew Peterson noticed Max Agbonkpolo open up in the corner. A a few-pointer would suggest a new lease on daily life for USC, which had by some means stayed alive this extended in spite of its quite a few self-inflicted wounds. But as Agbonkpolo lifted off for a possibly activity-switching shot, his heels touched the out-of-bounds line.
USC’s 15th turnover of the recreation was potentially its most demoralizing, all but ending any hope of stealing a sixth straight gain from UCLA. But the other 14 had been just as consequential on Saturday in that they represented a large chasm in turnover margin that USC simply could not triumph over.
UCLA fully commited only a solitary turnover in its gain Saturday, a historic complete that is difficult just to wrap one’s mind about. And though USC was able to dollars in a 3-pointer off that lone traveling violation, UCLA scored 21 details off Trojan turnovers.
“Turnovers are a aspect of the match,” Enfield claimed, “but it can not be 15-1, in particular on the street.”
People issues commenced early as loose balls and errant passes piled up. A punishing few belongings from UCLA’s defense led to two shot clock violations around five minutes in the to start with 50 percent. In the next half, USC went four minutes with only a person shot endeavor many thanks to a series of turnovers. UCLA went on a 9- run from there and in no way seemed back.
USC has loads of close-recreation expertise. It didn’t issue this time. But it could in the NCAA event.
As Isaiah Mobley careened by way of the lane with just around a moment remaining, ending at the rim by way of make contact with to slice UCLA’s guide to two details, it was unattainable not to question if we were being about to witness however a further daring escape from USC in a time whole of them.
It did not operate out that way this time, even as the Bruins gave the Trojans every single attainable possibility late to lengthen their get streak to six. UCLA missed 10 photographs in a row and did not score from the subject for virtually 8 minutes, subsisting as a substitute on absolutely free throws while USC quickly shut the gap.
But USC couldn’t near the offer. In the closing minute, Mobley missed a bounce hook a couple of ft from the basket. Reese Dixon-Waters and Boogie Ellis skipped late 3-pointers. The only clutch shot late came from UCLA’s Cody Riley, whose turnaround jumper with 55 seconds remaining wound up determining the video game.
“Those are essential photographs,” Enfield explained. “You’re not likely to acquire a video game on the road if you are down a few to four points devoid of making these pictures.”
They have produced these pictures plenty of situations this season. In the final thirty day period on your own, the Trojans designed a buzzer beater to conquer Washington Condition, fended off Oregon to acquire by a single, bested Oregon Point out in double extra time, mounted a comeback to set down Pacific, and held off UCLA at dwelling.
USC is 9-1 in games resolved by 5 points or much less, a mark that will still subject when the tension is at its maximum in the postseason.
Jaquez explodes, and Peterson stays silent
Very last month, when these two teams fulfilled at Galen Centre, Drew Peterson had the recreation of his daily life, scoring 27 points and reeling in 12 rebounds, and additional 5 blocks and four assists.
On Saturday, Jaime Jaquez returned the favor, torching the Trojans with his own beautiful stat line. Jaquez carried UCLA’s offense on his back much in the very same way Peterson did in their past meeting, scoring 27 to go with 6 rebounds and 4 helps.
“He hit open up shots,” USC place guard Boogie Ellis mentioned of Jaquez. “Last game, we have been beneath him and we produced every thing tough. I truly feel like this game, he had a great deal of straightforward shots. We just have to do a better task with that. We’ll see them once more, we’ll make it tougher.”
UCLA definitely built lifetime tougher on Peterson, who was swallowed up by a UCLA defense decided to restrict any excess space he could function in. He however had 13 details, nine rebounds and 6 helps, but Peterson also led the Trojans with a few turnovers.
Either Washington or Utah awaits in the Pac-12 quarterfinals. Is a rematch with UCLA and/or Arizona in the cards?
In three online games this time towards their two possible match opponents, USC has won by 10 points or additional all a few situations. None of the three games have been even especially near.
A victory is hardly confident, but an fast exit would be specifically disastrous for USC, thinking about the observe its normal time finished on. Additional than probably, we’ll get a crosstown rubber match to determine where by the period series stands.
How USC responds in that circumstance will say a large amount about wherever it is headed this postseason. In eight attempts underneath Enfield, the Trojans have received two game titles in the Pac-12 tournament only one particular time. Previous March, it took extra time just to scrape past Utah, in advance of Colorado conquer USC in the semifinals.
“We’re – now. So none of that issues,” Ellis reported. “We’ve obtained a contemporary start.”