USC beats crosstown rival UCLA 74-63 for 7th win in 8 games

NCAA Men's Basketball

LOS ANGELES (AP)Nick Rakocevic had 17 points and 14 rebounds, Jonah Mathews added 16 points and Southern California defeated crosstown rival UCLA 74-63 to win for the seventh time in eight games on Saturday night.

Freshman Ethan Anderson had a career-high 14 points despite rolling his left ankle and briefly leaving the court midway through the second half for the Trojans (13-3, 2-1 Pac-12). They bounced back from a 32-point loss at Washington last week in which they scored a season-low 40 points.

Chris Smith scored 11 of his 16 points in the first half and grabbed 10 rebounds, and Jalen Hill added 14 points for UCLA (8-8, 1-2), which never got a sustained run going in front of 13,659, their first sellout and most spirited crowd of the season.

After being limited to six points in the first half, Rakocevic contributed to a dominant stretch when the Trojans extended their lead to double digits for the first time. He twice had back-to-back baskets, including a dunk, before Mathews hit a 3-pointer that gave USC a 58-44 lead.

UCLA stepped up its defense over the final four minutes, going to a full-court press and man-to-man, but the Trojans were undeterred. Anderson passed along the baseline to Daniel Utomi in the left corner and he connected on a 3-pointer for a 66-57 lead.

Mathews hit a 3-pointer under pressure for a 71-61 lead.

The Bruins went 13 of 18 from the free throw line in the second half, when they were 9 of 25 from the field in front of former UCLA greats Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Sidney Wicks, Jamaal Wilkes and Earl Watson.

The Trojans led by as many as five points in the first half when the Bruins were ahead just once.

BIG PICTURE

USC: The Trojans went 2-1 on the road to open league play and showed poise under late pressure by the Bruins.

UCLA: The Bruins have lost five of six and are mired near the bottom of the Pac-12. They lack a big-time scorer and continue to have to rely on a variety of players for offense.

UP NEXT

USC: Hosts California on Thursday after three straight road games to open Pac-12 play.

UCLA: Hosts Stanford on Wednesday in the middle of a three-game homestand.

More AP college basketball coverage: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and http://twitter.com/AP-Top25

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Now Trending on KRQE.com

Video Forecast

Grant's Thursday Evening Forecast

Thumbnail for the video titled "Grant's Thursday Evening Forecast"
More Weather Video Forecast

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss

The Series Ep2: Social Pressure ➞