UCLA men’s basketball trailed by double-digits, and then it started playing like a team whose NCAA Tournament hopes were on the line.
A subsequent 11-0 run got the Bruins (19-10, 10-7 Pac-12) back in the game, although they still trail the USC Trojans (21-9, 12-5) heading into halftime.
Freshman guard Kris Wilkes and junior guard Aaron Holiday led UCLA with 15 and 14 points respectively, as coach Steve Alford’s team shot 47.1 percent on 3-pointers.
The third member of the Bruins’ starting backcourt, freshman guard Jaylen Hands, sprained his ankle earlier in the week and didn’t dress for the game. Redshirt sophomore guard Prince Ali took his spot in the starting lineup but only shot 1-of-8 from the field for 2 points.
USC scored 24 of its points in the paint behind guard Jordan McLaughlin’s 9 points and forward Chimezie Metu’s 8 points. UCLA’s frontcourt players, on the other hand, combined for 2-of-7 shooting and 4 points. Senior center Thomas Welsh, who scored 21 points when the two teams faced off last month, was held to only 2 in the first half.
Rarely used senior guard Alec Wulff, who has only played 15 minutes the entire season prior to tonight, saw six minutes in Hands’ absence. Wulff hit his only shot attempt – a wing 3-pointer.