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Men’s basketball defeats Trojans with career-best performances

David Wear scored 11 rebounds in UCLA’s win over USC on Sunday. The Bruins defeated the Trojans in the teams’ second meeting of the year

By Jacob Ruffman

Feb. 24, 2013 5:28 p.m.

Larry Drew II had that look in his eye. Right after he hit his second 3-pointer less than four minutes into the game, it was clear that he wasn’t going to leave UCLA without beating USC.

Drew scored eight of UCLA’s first 14 points as the Bruins (20-7, 10-4 Pac-12) dominated the USC Trojans (12-15, 7-7) early en route to a 75-59 victory over their crosstown rivals.

“The fact that it was beating USC while I had this UCLA jersey on means a little bit more,” said the redshirt senior point guard, who is playing in his one and only season at UCLA after transferring from North Carolina. “That being said, all I care about is winning.”

Drew finished with 11 points, six assists and three steals in the two teams’ second meeting of the season. In the first contest earlier this year, USC came away with a 75-71 overtime victory on UCLA’s home court.

That loss left a sizable impact on the Bruins, and after a week of preparation and film study, the 16-point win over their rival was that much sweeter.

“It feels good to beat a team that we know we’re capable of beating, especially after we lost to them earlier this season,” said redshirt junior forward David Wear. “It was a tough feeling to lose on our home floor and we wanted to come in here and execute. We knew we were the better team and we knew we were better prepared.”

Wear had a season-high 11 rebounds to go along with 10 points and three assists as he started in place of his brother, who sprained his foot during practice on Saturday.

“I commend Dave for getting a double-double,” coach Ben Howland said. “He really stepped up in the absence of Travis today and played great. It just shows that we have a lot of good players.”

Along with Wear’s performance, freshman center Tony Parker played one of his best games of the season as he scored eight points and grabbed three rebounds in 17 minutes. Those were all career bests within conference play.

“I was really pleased with Tony Parker’s play today; he was huge for us,” Howland said. “And I couldn’t be happier for a guy. There’s not a nicer kid I’ve ever coached.”

UCLA was able to build up a lead that topped out at 25, but USC pulled within 11 with 5:22 left in the game behind a strong performance by J.T. Terrell, who scored nine points over a two-minute stretch.

The Bruins have made a habit of letting teams back into games, but Saturday night was a different story, as UCLA went on a 7-2 run to close out the game.

“When they started making that run, guys were taking rushed shots and trying a little too hard,” Wear said. “But in those situations we have to slow down and get our composure and that’s exactly what we did.”

The victory pulled the Bruins within half a game of first place in the Pac-12, but according to Howland, the significance of the win did more than just help in the standings.

“To win here on the road without Travis available was absolutely a significant statement by our young guys,” Howland said. “This is a huge win and I’m excited for our team.”

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Jacob Ruffman
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