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Biggest takeaways from USC’s upset of UCLA

Recently, No. 21 Southern California handled the No. 12 UCLA Bruins at home in a 67-64 win. It has now almost been three years since the Bruins have beat the Trojans; their last win dates back to Feb. 28 of 2019. This result marked five losses in a row for the Bruins in the rivalry, which is their longest losing streak in the head-to-head series in over 60 years.

The battle of LA came down to a 3-pointer at the buzzer, in which UCLA guard Tyger Campbell’s deep three clanked off the back rim. 

USC’s student section, the largest attendance at a game since its opening in 2006, then stormed the court and mobbed the players and coaches. 

“I don’t know why anybody would storm the court for beating us,” said coach Mick Cronin.

“The whole time I was just worried about winning and keeping us in the game and doing what coach needed us to do,” said Campbell after the game with his head up high. “It was a tough one, all credit to USC, but we got to be on to the next one.”

Here are some key takeaways from the Saturday thriller.

Boogie Ellis needs to step it up in crucial games

With USC’s leading scorer Isaiah Mobley absent, Junior Boogie Ellis was expected to take on a hefty load on the scoring end of this game. But as the game began, his presence was minimal. Ellis went 0-7 from the field, including four missed threes. He recorded four rebounds and five turnovers (a team-high). Although the team was able to sneak away with a win due to a stellar bench performance, it’s evident that without Ellis, this team will not be able to go far in March.

Throughout the season, the guard has been averaging 12.2 points, 3.4 boards and 2.7 assists. He’s had some great games recently including back-to-back 21-point game show outs. In tough matchups like these, Ellis needs to step it up as a leader and playmaker and be the offensive threat he is.

Look out for Drew Peterson

Senior Drew Peterson had the game of his lifetime, as he recorded his first double-double of the season with a career-high 27 points and 12 rebounds, leading USC to victory. The 6-foot-9, 195-pound Rice transfer completely took over this game. With Mobley out and Boogie Ellis’ mere impact, Peterson’s performance was vital to the team’s win. His shooting from behind the arc helped get the offense going to start the game. Even more impressive was his defensive efforts, as he dived after every loose ball, protected the rim with 5 blocks, and boxed out to grab key rebounds. 

Trojans have depth

The Trojans’ bench came to life against the Blue and Gold. Reese Dixon-Waters had 10 points and Max Agbonkpolo dropped eight as the bench combined for 21 points. The bench accounted for more than the four starters, besides Peterson, put together.

Dixon-Waters flashed his potential, as the freshman got to see the court for the first time with substantial minutes. He’s been averaging 11.6 minutes per game thus far, but that night, he played 24. During his time on the court, he knocked down two big threes and two free throws. The 6-foot-5, 210-pound athletic guard has great basketball instincts and has the ability to help the Trojans both offensively and defensively. Be on the lookout for him through the rest of the season and future ones with USC.

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