USC steals a road win over UCLA, 62-56, behind Ellis’ 24 points

The USC Trojans secure a big victory on the road against the UCLA Bruins, 62-56. Boogie Ellis led the Trojans with 24 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists.

LOS ANGELES — The USC Trojans faced off against the UCLA Bruins at Pauley Pavilion on Saturday night. After a double-overtime loss to Colorado at the Galen Center last weekend, USC hoped to bounce back with a win and that’s exactly what they did in front of a sold-out crowd.

Here are three takeaways from the game:

Up and down first half for USC

During the first half of the game, Boogie Ellis got off to a good start and put his team ahead by 13 points. Kobe Johnson scored his first three points with 5:40 left in the first half, hitting a three-pointer right in front of the Bruins’ bench. USC played well on both offense and defense, making 7 of 13 shots from beyond the arc and holding the Bruins to just 3 of 11. While the Trojans seemed to have control of the game midway through the first half, the Bruins made a comeback and went on a run of their own late in the half.

Adem Bona had a great start by scoring 10 points and grabbing 3 rebounds without missing a single shot. USC has been struggling with rebounding lately, but in the first half, they managed to grab a total of 17 rebounds, which is two more than the Bruins’ 15. However, the Trojans had a difficult time holding onto the ball, as they had seven turnovers in the beginning of the game. UCLA took advantage of these turnovers and scored 9 points. Lazar Stefanovic also played well, scoring 10 points by making 3 out of 7 shots, which helped the Bruins reduce the lead by half.

In the first half, the Bruins managed to score 16 points in the paint and earned 7 points from the bench. Berke Buyuktuncel proved to be efficient from the field, as he scored seven points in just seven minutes of playtime. After the overtime loss, USC head coach Andy Enfield was not impressed and had been rallying his players all week long for this game.

Bronny James played for just seven minutes in the first half and attempted only one shot, which he made, resulting in two points and two assists. During the first half, UCLA fans chanted “Where’s your daddy” at Bronny, but he appeared unaffected and even managed to score on a fadeaway shot from the free throw line. Isaiah Collier scored only three points and had three assists, with a 1-of-6 field goal record. DJ Rodman played exceptionally well, scoring six points with two made threes and grabbing four rebounds. Vincent Iwuchukwu and Arrinten Page both got to play in the first half, with Page scoring zero across the board, while Iwuchukwu managed to score two points and grab two rebounds.

UCLA managed to score nine points in a row, tying the game at 34-34. The atmosphere in the arena was electric, and the Bruins took advantage of it. Although USC missed five free throws, they also managed to prevent the Bruins from scoring any fast break points.

Hot start to the half and never looked back

Late in the first half, the Bruins went on a 9-0 run, but as the second half started, USC responded with a 10-0 run, taking a 44-34 lead. The Trojans’ defense rotated quickly, enabling them to make quick transitions and take control of the game. Collier scored a quick six points, and USC’s defense held the Bruins to only three points in the first ten minutes of the second half. UCLA struggled to score against the pressure that USC applied, and the Trojans continued their dominance with a 16-3 run to start the half.

Dylan Andrews was unable to score any points despite making seven attempts from the field. However, he did contribute four assists and three rebounds. Bona received his fourth foul during the second half and was called for a technical foul for pushing Page to the floor. The game got a little rough towards the end for both teams. Sebastian Mack managed to score a jumper, reducing the lead to 53-46 with 7:01 remaining in the game.

The Trojans’ big players have been struggling to stay in the game due to mistakes on the court. Coach Enfield has been subbing Iwuchukwu out for Morgan, and then replacing Morgan with Page when they continue to make errors. The three players combined for only six points in the game. However, Johnson managed to hit a three-pointer in front of his bench, giving USC a 60-49 lead with 2:54 remaining in the game. This shot brought Johnson’s points total to ten, as he had made both of his three-point attempts. Collier also played well, finishing the game with 11 points, 3 rebounds, and 4 assists in USC’s victory over UCLA.

UCLA has been performing well recently, but the Trojans managed to win against them at Pauley. This comes after the Bruins had beaten the Trojans at Galen Center a month earlier. Ellis was the top scorer for USC in the game, finishing with 24 points and five rebounds on 9 out of 18 field goals. Bona was the highest scorer for the Bruins with 14 points and three rebounds, as he was perfect in both field goals and free throws. Andrews played for 32 minutes but remained scoreless for the Bruins. USC has won 8 out of 11 games when starting Ellis, Johnson, Collier, Rodman, and Morgan.

Season coming to an end for the Trojans

The USC Trojans have four games left in the regular season, with two games to be played on the road in Washington. After that, they will come back home to play the last two home games of the season. Coach Enfield spoke about his team’s mindset before tonight’s game, and now he hopes that they can carry the momentum from the game and finish the season strong.

“Our guys had a great week of practice, they competed tonight and defensively we made a lot of improvements” said Enfield postgame.

During the game, the Trojans held the Bruins to only 22 points in the second half, which was a clear display of their excellent defense skills. Throughout the game, UCLA struggled with their shooting and only managed to shoot 33.3% from the field and 21.1% from beyond the arc. It was a memorable game for Ellis as he played his last game at Pauley and picked up his first win here as a Trojan. Enfield talked about Ellis’ 24-point performance after the game.

“Boogie has not look like Boogie Ellis until Saturday and tonight. He has played very poorly because he fought through that hamstring and was out for three weeks. Then he came back and looked older than me trying to play.” said Enfield on Ellis’ performance on Saturday night.

After the game, Ellis spoke and expressed his pride in his team for stepping up and playing great defense throughout the game. The captain took control of the game and impressed the sold-out crowd at Pauley Pavilion. Ellis also talked about his recent struggles on the court since going through his hamstring injury.

“It was really frustrating, I couldn’t beat anybody off the dribble for a long time. It was getting really frustrating for me but you know, I just stuck with it. There’s a lot of slow players in the NBA, so you don’t have to be fast to beat them off the dribble.” said Ellis on his recent performance coming off an injury.

USC has a scheduled day off on Sunday before resuming their practice sessions on Monday. They are gearing up to face the No. 21 ranked Washington State on Thursday in an upcoming game that will take place on the road.

After winning their 11th game of the season against the UCLA Bruins, USC’s performance has been inconsistent in their last six games, winning three and losing three. The team will need to bring their A-game to the court in their upcoming game against Washington State to improve their record and stay competitive in their conference.