The Trojans withstood a late UCLA rally and hit free throws late for a 10-point win and a chance to go to the NCAA Tournament with one more win -- over Arizona State. This was an intense battle and the atmosphere was amazing and there was even a fight in the stands to display the bitterness. The Staples Center, which had been pretty quiet all weekend, was rocking and the Trojans never relinquished the lead.
(USC freshman DeMar DeRozan talks with a television reporter after the victory while the UCLA players walk off the court after the defeat).
UCLA's performance is disturbing, considering the Bruins were rather flat against Washington State and haven't been dominating since the middle of the Pac-10 season. Josh Shipp led the Bruins with 19 points and Nikola Dragovic added 12 but besides Shipp, the Bruins were 9-for-54 from the field (16 percent).
USC is playing like it was expected to in the beginning of the season, DeMar DeRozan was sparkling with 21 points and 13 rebounds and outclassed buddy Jrue Holiday in front of a bevy of NBA scouts.
Dwight Lewis hit some big shots early and helped the Trojans race out to a first-half lead while USC won the game in the second half with defense, taking 20 fewer shots than its opponents.
We will have more on this game and a preview of the ASU-USC game upcoming.