GAMES NOTES: The UCLA Bruins wrap up a three-game road trip on Sunday with a game not too far from home against the cross-town rival USC Trojans in Pac-12 action at the Galen Center.
The Bruins split the first two tilts of the trip with an 88-80 win over Stanford being the most recent decision. UCLA has now won three of its last four games as it guns for win No. 20 on the season. In league play the Bruins have a 9-4 mark which has them two games back in the win column from No. 12 Arizona and No. 23 Oregon for the top spot in the Pac-12 standings. UCLA plays two straight at home next beginning against Arizona State on Wednesday.
USC has been off since last Sunday when it had a four-game winning streak snapped in a 76-68 loss on the road to California. This contest begins a three-game homestand for the Trojans who are 8-5 at the Galen Center this season. USC is hovering below .500 overall on the season (12-14), while sitting in seventh in the Pac-12 standings with a record of 7-6 against league foes. In the next contest the Trojans will host No. 12 Arizona.
Less than a month ago USC took a 75-71 victory against UCLA at Pauley Pavilion. UCLA had won four straight battles with the cross-town Trojans and now have a 132-105 edge in the all-time series.
Though it had more than twice as many turnovers as Stanford, (14-6), UCLA shot 54.4 percent from the field to earn a victory last Saturday. In the victory the Bruins held Stanford to just 38.5 percent shooting, while four players scored in double figures.
Strong offensive showings have been commonplace for the Bruins. UCLA is the top team in the Pac-12 in scoring (76 pg), assists (17 pg) and field-goal percentage (.464). All three of those marks are among the 40 best in the country. Freshman Shabazz Muhammad (18.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg) leads the way as the team's top scorer as well, ranking second in the Pac-12. Jordan Adams (14.9 ppg) shoots a solid 45.5 percent from the field as a potent second option. Travis Wear (11.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg) is also scoring in double figures, while versatile Kyle Anderson (9.6 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 3.7 apg) and Pac-12 assists leader Larry Drew II (7.0 ppg, 7.7 apg) are also important contributors.
Facing off with one of the hottest teams in the conference against California, USC let a halftime lead slip away. The Trojans got a combined 49 points from Jio Fontan, J.T. Terrell and Byron Wesley, but the Trojans were outscored 18-8 from the free-throw line.
USC doesn't boast the same type of offensive success as the Bruins. The Trojans are among the three worst teams in the Pac-12 in both points (66.2 pg) and field-goal percentage (.429), while eighth in assists (12.8 pg). USC has kept opponents in range, holding them to 67.1 points per game on 41.8 percent shooting. Terrell (10.9 ppg), Wesley (10.3 ppg) and Fontan (9.8 ppg, 5.1 apg) are a solid backcourt trio that quite often carries the Trojans. Eric Wise (12.0 ppg, 5.8 rpg) is the leading scorer for the team though he has failed to score in double figures in three of the last four games.
In this battle for Los Angeles the offensive firepower of the Bruins should power UCLA to its 20th win of the season.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UCLA 74, USC 68
02/24 10:32:27 ET
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