The USC men’s basketball team will look to avenge its first conference loss of the season, as well as bounce back from its current three-game skid, when they host UCLA at the Galen Center on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
USC (10-12, 1-8 Pac-12) is coming off a pair of losses over the weekend. The Trojans suffered a 76-75 overtime loss to Oregon State (13-8, 6-4), Jan. 30 and a 78-66 loss to Oregon (15-6, 3-6) on Feb. 1. Junior guard Byron Wesley led the Trojans with a combined 42 points, but USC remains at the bottom of the Pac-12.
“We had a very frustrating few weeks,” said USC head coach Andy Enfield. “This league is very good top to bottom and I’m very proud of our players. They’ve had great attitudes and they’ve been very enthusiastic and they came out and played that way tonight.”
Wesley is averaging 16.9 points and 6.8 rebounds per game to lead USC in both categories. Senior center Omar Oraby is second on the team with 6.5 rebounds per game. Senior guards J.T. Terrell and Pe’Shon Howard are the other two Trojans scoring in double-digits, with 10.4 and 10.3 points per game, respectively. Howard also leads the team with 4.1 assists per game.
“We just need to stay consistent,” Wesley said. “Look at the film, grow from that, see our flaws, see what we did well, and continue to practice hard and prepare like we’ve been preparing.”
UCLA (17-5, 6-3) split its two games against the Oregon teams last week, picking up a 70-68 win over the Ducks, but falling 71-67 to the Beavers.
The Bruins are paced by Jordan Adams, who leads the team with 16.8 points per game and is second on the team with 5.5 rebounds per game. Kyle Anderson is averaging 15.1 points, 8.7 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game, leading the team in the latter two categories.
The last match between the two schools was on Jan. 5, when the Bruins scored a season-high 107 points en route to a 107-73 win. It was the third game of the season where the Bruins scored more than 100 points, and the most points they’ve scored against the Trojans since another 107-point outburst in 1966.
Wesley led the Trojans with 21 points and nine rebounds, Terrell added 14 points off the bench and freshman guard Julian Jacobs finished with 10 points, five assists, five rebounds and three steals.
Anderson led UCLA with 23 points and 12 rebounds, as three Bruins finished with 20 or more points. Adams finished with 21, while Bryce Alford added 20. UCLA shot 58 percent from the field, including 48 percent from three-point range, while the Trojans shot 42 percent and 26 percent from behind the arc.
The Bruins lead the all-time series 134-104 and have won five of the past six meetings against their archrival. That one loss came last January in Westwood.
“[We need to] just play more as a team and be focused,” said freshman forward Nikola Jovanovic.
After their match against the Bruins, the Trojans will remain at the Galen Center to take on Utah (14-7, 3-6) on Thursday, Feb. 13 at 7:30 p.m. and Colorado (17-6, 6-4) on Sunday, Feb. 16 at 5 p.m. The Utah game will be shown on the Pac-12 Networks, while the Colorado game will be broadcast on ESPNU.