January 12, 2020 / 5:40 AM / 9 days ago

Rakocevic, USC ease by UCLA

Nick Rakocevic tallied 17 points and 14 rebounds, and Ethan Anderson added a career-best 14 points as Southern California earned a 74-63 Pac-12 Conference victory Saturday over cross-town rival UCLA.

Jan 11, 2020; Los Angeles, California, USA; Southern California Trojans guard Ethan Anderson (20) attempts a shot during the first half against the UCLA Bruins at Pauley Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

With USC’s leading scorer and rebounder, Onyeka Okongwu, neutralized by foul trouble, the Trojans still had plenty to overcome the Bruins after a rough defeat last weekend at Washington.

The Trojans (13-3, 2-1) scored just 40 points in a 32-point defeat to the Huskies last Sunday, their fewest points in a game since 2015. They shot just 20 percent from the field in that game, their lowest in a contest since 1956.

Against the Bruins, USC came back to shoot 57.4 percent from the field, including 69.6 percent in the second half. Jonah Mathews added 16 points for the Trojans.

Chris Smith scored 16 points as the Bruins (8-8, 1-2) lost for the fifth time in their last six games. UCLA has not won a home game since Dec. 8.

Daniel Utomi scored 13 points for USC, which opened conference play with three consecutive road games for the first time since 2003. Okongwu scored four points with two rebounds after entering averaging 17.8 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. He made a difference on the defensive end, blocking three shots as UCLA shot 37.9 percent from the field.

The game was tied 26-26 with 3:16 remaining in the first half before the Trojans started to take over. USC held a slim 33-31 lead at halftime but grabbed a 45-38 advantage just over five minutes into the second half on a dunk by Rakocevic.

The Trojans extended the advantage to 58-44 with 9:03 remaining after a jump shot from Mathews, capping a 7-0 run. After UCLA cut the deficit to 63-57 with four minutes remaining, Utomi hit a 3-pointer with 3:41 left as the Trojans regained control and held on from there.

Jalen Hill scored 14 points, and Smith added 10 rebounds for the Bruins, who still hold a 143-110 advantage in the all-time series between the rivals. Prince Ali had 10 points for UCLA.

USC won for just the third time in the last eight games between the teams.

—Field Level Media

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