USC Takes Down the Bruins To Officially Take Over LA

Long before tip off at Pauley Pavilion on Wednesday night, five UCLA students took the court bearing signs that had messages ranging from mocking USC for “not going here” to calling the Trojans irrelevant.

Forty game minutes later, USC was far from irrelevant after laying an emphatic 89–75 smack down over UCLA in Westwood. While USC students and athletes surely don’t go to UCLA—as the signs mockingly indicated—you’d have thought that the Bruins’ student body didn’t either with how quickly they left the game early. But this game was about the players, not the fans.

Los Angeles’ two college basketball teams traded buckets for the opening minutes, unable to put together a lot of stops. Then Chimezie Metu started to come into his own and had his best game to date.

Following a three pointer from Elijah Stewart the Trojans led 21–17. Metu then sprung from the floor to swat a shot off the backboard with the utmost ferocity. Afterward, he took his trade to the offensive end and the Trojans soon exploded to a 48–30 halftime lead.

Metu would go on to score 14 points in the half, en route to a career high 21 points on the night to go along with eight rebounds. “Mezie” was hitting the Bruin defense with jump shots, spin moves and clutch free-throw shooting. He did it all while anchoring the Trojans’ defense that was plagued with foul trouble.

UCLA had no answers all night to stop Metu and USC, and couldn’t even get good looks of their own. The Bruins shot 44 percent for the game, but if you took out Tony Parker’s monster 27 points, they shot only 36 percent form the field.

“They have a lot of confidence and they played that way tonight. We couldn’t take away a thing.” — UCLA coach Steve Alford on USC.

While UCLA struggled offensively, Jordan McLaughlin and the Trojans got just about anything they wanted. McLaughlin paced the team with 23 points, including a scorching 5–8 from deep.

USC impressively dominated the boards, the three-point arc and the charity stripe. It was a recipe for success.

That recipe, along with depth, confidence and camaraderie, has USC off to its best start (15–3) since 1992, long before any current Trojan was shooting hoops on their own backyard or nearby blacktop.

Wednesday night the Trojans were fearless. Wednesday night USC knew they could beat UCLA. On Wednesday night, USC did just that and broke a streak of 10 losses in 11 against UCLA.

They can relax now. They can celebrate. They can sleep and rest. USC has a week off until a road trip up to Oregon against the Beavers and Ducks.

The new AP men’s basketball poll had USC at No. 26 on Monday. As the Trojans won’t play (and can’t lose) until next week, USC will be back in the Top-25 for the first time since 2008, and could even be closer to No. 20.