Trojans March Through UCLA, 65-55

USC hung on to defeat crosstown rivals UCLA in a Pac-10 Tournament semi-final match at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The Trojans halted a late surge by the Bruins and hung on to a 10-point victory, 65-55. With the win the Trojans advance to the championship game on Saturday at 3 p.m. PST.

In a game that mattered to the Trojans, USC hung on to defeat crosstown rivals UCLA in a Pac-10 Tournament semi-final match at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The Trojans halted a late surge by the Bruins and hung on to a 10-point victory, 65-55.

Super Freshman, Demar Derozan led the Trojan attack with 21 points and 13 rebounds. Derozan made two statement buckets, slamming home open dunks, serving notice to the Bruins, who never held the lead in the game. Taj Gibson, the heart of this team, contributed 13 points and 11 rebounds, but was denied the floor at the end of the game, as he fouled out with two quick fouls with 1:55 and 1:46 remaining on the game clock.

The game ball could be given to Marcus Simmons, who's stellar defense helped limit Bruin guards Jrue Holiday and Darren Collison to 1-17 shooting on the night.

USC seemed bent on winning this game from the start, getting off to a quick 20-9 lead, before the offense sputtered a bit, going into the locker room leading 33-29 at the end of the first half.

The Bruins came back strong to start the second half, melting the Trojan lead to 33-31. But that would be as close as they would get, as USC mounted a second assault which gave them a seemingly unsurmountable lead, 57-42 with just 2:44 left in the game.

UCLA mounted one last attack in the last two minutes of the game, getting as close as 60-55 with a tenacious defense, but that wasn't enough. USC finally pulled away in the last minute to ink the 10-point victory over the Bruins.

The victory marked the first time in USC history that the team recorded three 20-win seasons in-a-row. A victory over the Sundevils in the championship game would ensure three NCAA tournament appearances in-a-row for the Trojans as well. The winner of the tournament receives an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

USC faces the ASU Sundevils in Pac-10 Championship game Saturday, 3:00 pm PST at the Staples Center. The game will be broadcast on CBS television.


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