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.
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.
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.
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