USC barraged UCLA from long distance – hitting four of their first five 3-pointers – but the Bruins eventually buckled down on defense. The Trojans only made five of their last 16 shots, but entered halftime with a 41-40 lead.
Both USC and UCLA sprinted out of the gate following the opening tip, shooting above 50 percent from the floor for the first ten minutes of the game, before cooling off toward the end of the first half.
The Trojans jumped out to an 11-point lead following a Jonah Mathews’ 3-pointer, but the Bruins held their opponents scoreless for the next four minutes during a 10-0 run for the hosts.
USC guard Shaqquan Aaron sunk his first four shots – including three 3-pointers – for 12 points in the first eight minutes, but he didn’t score the rest of the half.
Junior guard Aaron Holiday led UCLA with 10 points and four assists, as he frequently found his teammates leaking out and streaking down the floor in transition. Senior center Thomas Welsh added 9 points and five rebounds.
The Bruins finished the half shooting 54.8 percent from the field.