3/7/20 LOS ANGELES - The UCLA Bruins golden opportunity to win the Pac-12 Conference Title slipped away, and was crushed with one second left in the game when USC's Jonah Matthew's three-point shot went in just before the buzzer went off, loss to the Trojans in a hard-fought thriller 54-52.
Mathews led the Trojans in scoring with19 points, followed by Onyeka Okongwu16 points, and Nick Rakovic with 6 points and 7 rebounds. UCLA's leading scorers were Codey Riley13 points, Chris Smith12 points, and Tyger Campbel12 points.
At the start of the game UCLA led USC 5-0, after a jump shot by Jalen Hill, and a three-point basket by Chris Smith, but the Trojans responded by going on a 7-2 run, and a jump shot by Jonah Mathews tied the game 7-7. USC increase their lead to five points 17-12 after a basket by Oneyka Okongwu.
Cody Riley made a pair of free-throws that had the Bruins down by one point 20-19 with 6:41 left in the first half, but the Trojans ended the first half leading 24-22 after a basket by Okongwu in the paint.
The leading scorer in the first half was USC's Okongwu led with 8 points, followed by UCLA's Riley with 6 points. Both teams committed three turnovers, and UCLA made 8 of their 28 shots 28.6%, and USC made 10 of their 32 shots 31.3%.
In the second half, the Trojans had built a five-point lead 43-38 after another three-point shot by Mathews with 6:23 left in the game, but the Bruins were down by one point 49-48 after a basket by Riley with 2:40 left in the game.
Mathews with 2:26 left in the game, gave the Trojans a three-point lead 51-48 lead. With the Bruins now trailing by three points, Chris Smith made a jump shot with 1:15 left on the clock, made the score 51-50, sending the UCLA fans into a frenzy.
With just nine seconds in the game and USC up by one point, the Trojans Ethan Anderson fouled Riley, and tied the game 51-51 after making his first free throw, and USC's head coach Andy Enfield called a 30-second timeout.
After the timeout, UCLA got their first lead of the game 52-51 after Riley made his second free throw, and the UCLA fans were standing on their feet cheering just seconds away from a Pac-12 Title, and avenging an earlier loss to the Trojans at Pauley Pavilion.
The Galen Center was rocking and rolling as USC and UCLA fans were sreaming for their team, standing on their feet watching Mathews bring the ball upcourt with seconds left in the game waiting for the out come. With one second left on the clock, Mathews made up for his missed free throws down the stretch, nailed a three-pointer to beat UCLA in a thriller 54-52 and a dagger in the hearts of UCLA Bruins' fans.
The Bruins fans were stun, and couldn't believe just what happen, saw their victory snatch away and crush by one shot, and that shot cost them a Pac-12 Title and gave USC a sweep over their cross-town rivals.
With the win, USC secure a first round-bye as the #4 seed in the Pac-12 Men's Basketball Tournament, and UCLA will be the #2 seed behind the top #1 seed Oregon Ducks.
After the game, I had a chance to asked USC's head coach Andy Enfield does he feel that the Trojans are playing their best basketball heading into the Pac-12 Tournament, and this is what he said.
"The last three games we played our best defense, "Enfield said. "Holding both Arizona and Arizona State to under 70 points, and UCLA to 52 points, I love how we are playing now."
“We believe we can go in and compete next week,” Enfield said. “Our offense is extremely streaky for a variety of reasons. But we have 22 wins because of our defense.”
This game between the USC Trojans and the UCLA Bruins will stay on everyone's mind for a very long time, especially Jonah Mathews's game-winning shot that ended UCLA's seven-game win streak because of what was at stake for UCLA a Pac-12 Title, and the bragging right for Los Angeles.
“This is a dagger in their heart,” Mathews said. “I know it’s going to stick with them forever. It’s going to stick with me forever too. To do it in a packed house, last game in Galen it’s something you can’t even dream of.”
The Pac-12 Tournament this year any of the teams can win in the Championship. For USC to have a chance of capturing the title, they have to a better job of getting to the free-throw line and continue to play great defense. The photo gallery below is by Jerry Kelly/TGSportstv1. #UCLA #USC #NCAA #TGSportstv1