Boogie Ellis, USC make NCAA match case in upset over UCLA
There wouldn’t be many extra photographs like this. For USC, a staff simply rounding into type, alternatives to state its case to the NCAA match choice committee had been so sparse from right here it couldn’t afford to squander any left. Least of all towards its bitter rival, UCLA, one of many few Pac-12 groups able to catching the committee’s consideration.
It was with these stakes on his shoulders that Boogie Ellis stepped again from the highest of the important thing Thursday evening and let a final-minute three-pointer fly. Only a few weeks in the past, when the 2 crosstown rivals final met, it was Ellis who unraveled down the stretch, committing an inexplicable offensive foul that turned the tide late.
This time, the Trojans level guard could be his personal one-man tidal wave, sweeping away UCLA with a second-half effort that may rank among the many most memorable within the latest historical past of the rivalry. This time, with Ellis searching for redemption and USC searching for an announcement, the livid comeback wouldn’t fall quick in a 77-64 victory over UCLA.
“We needed a big statement win,” USC coach Andy Enfield stated.
USC received simply that on Thursday, handing UCLA its second consecutive defeat and its fifth straight loss at Galen Middle. The Trojans sit only a recreation behind the Bruins within the Pac-12 race, a chance that appeared unlikely just a few quick weeks in the past.
UCLA stays within the driver’s seat in that regard, having gained 14 straight earlier than its present dropping streak. However the Bruins’ lackluster effort within the second half left loads of questions of their wake. Specifically why their offense has deserted them in back-to-back second halves towards USC.
“We’re no juggernaut,” UCLA coach Mick Cronin stated. “I didn’t harbor any illusions about going undefeated in the Pac-12.”
For David Singleton, there a easy reply as to why UCLA as soon as once more fell aside after halftime.
“In my opinion, I think they wanted it more than us,” stated Singleton, who scored 14 factors. “I think they played harder, they wanted it more, they got their job done.”
By the point Ellis fired off that closing three on Thursday, USC was already properly into unleashing a second-half barrage on UCLA, burying the Bruins with deep photographs and suffocating them on ball screens.
UCLA had been in full management at halftime, clinging to a wholesome lead, seemingly one extended run from placing the Trojans away.
However this time, it waited too lengthy. This time, Drew Peterson hit a 3. Then freshman Tre White. Then Ellis. And Ellis. And Ellis once more.
Over the ultimate 17 minutes on Thursday, USC hit 13 of its closing 20 photographs, seven of which got here from its level guard, who went off for 27 factors within the second half.
“That’s a pretty special game,” Enfield stated.
There was little UCLA may do to decelerate Ellis. His 27 second-half factors matched the Bruins’ total staff whole after halftime, as Enfield referred to as one isolation play after one other for his level guard.
“When he gets it going, he’s really hard to guard,” Enfield stated. “He played like a first-round draft pick tonight. It was very impressive.”
He wasn’t precisely as awe-inspiring earlier than halftime, having missed his first 5 three-point makes an attempt of the sport.
Each he and Peterson had been a mixed 4 of 12 earlier than the half as UCLA sailed to a commanding early lead. They’d end with a mixed 47 factors.
USC had no reply within the first half for freshman ahead Adem Bona’s energy on the inside.
Nor may it decelerate Singleton’s capturing stroke from past the arc, the place he contributed 4 three-pointers.
“We were getting killed at halftime, just like the first half at Pauley last time,” Peterson stated.
However as soon as once more, the Trojans regrouped on the break. They shut down Bona, holding him to a single shot.
They closed down the lane, clogging up any drives for level guard Tyger Campbell, who didn’t make a subject objective after half.
They expelled extra effort on the boards. Then, Ellis went nuclear, firing away till lastly only one final basket was required.
That’s when the purpose guard pulled up, with freshman Amari Bailey in his face. The shot discovered solely internet, handing USC its largest win of the season — and a serious assertion forward of March.
“This is a start,” Ellis stated. We nonetheless have extra to show. Profitable one recreation towards UCLA, it’s nice. It’s nice for the rivalry. However we nonetheless have extra to show.”