March 14, 2008
UCLA to take on USC in rubber game
Just when you thought it was safe to put away your gift horse after sacking Troy in February, they're back for a rubber game and the winner will advance to the championship round of the Pac 10 tournament. There is Bruin pride at stake as they want to quiet their critics and the Trojans need this game for a better seed in the NCAA's.
When USC beat UCLA the first time around the Bruins were without the services of Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Lorenzo Mata-Real for the second half severely depleting their bench.
The Bruins were leading by one point at the half, but ran out of gas in the second stanza when Trojan took command of the game outscoring the Bruins by ten points to take home the victory 72-63 on UCLA's own floor at Pauley Pavilion.
Freshman Davon Jefferson went off for a career high of 25 points and USC's other primetime freshman O.J. Mayo chipped in 16 points in the win.
In the rematch at Galen Center on February 17th things didn't go quite as well for the Trojans. For this game they were the team that wasn't at full strength as point guard Daniel Hackett was nursing an injury.
While Hackett's stats aren't that gaudy, his presence on the floor is very important. USC has lost five of their ten games without Hackett in the lineup.
In the second contest the Bruins played their usual lockdown defense and let that side of the floor control the game.
Pac 10 Defensive Player of the Year Russell Westbrook put the clamps on Mayo holding him down to only eight shots and forced him into 10 turnovers. Mayo was playing with a pulled groin, but refused to use that as an excuse.
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