LOS ANGELES — Boogie Ellis scored a career-high 31 points and led USC men's basketball's second-half comeback as the Trojans defeated rival No. 8 UCLA 77-64 at home on Thursday night.
USC (15-6, 7-3 Pac-12) extended its home winning streak against UCLA to five games and has won six of the last nine meetings at Galen Center. The Trojans have won 10 straight home games since their season-opening loss to Florida Gulf Coast.
"This is a typical USC-UCLA rivalry game, very physical," said USC head coach Andy Enfield. "Both teams played extremely hard. (UCLA is) an outstanding team, very well coached. Coach (Mick) Cronin does a great job, and their players are really hard to guard."
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Ellis tallied 27 points in the second half as the Trojans — which trailed by 12 points at halftime — outscored the Bruins 52-27 in the final period. Ellis was 10-of-10 from the free throw line, dished six assists and grabbed four rebounds.
Drew Peterson had 16 points and recorded six rebounds. Kobe Johnson scored 10 with five boards and five dimes.
Much like the first meeting in Westwood on Jan. 5, the Trojans found themselves in a double-digit deficit at halftime before storming back in the second half.
The Trojans went on a 9-2 run early in the first half but immediately went scoreless for over seven minutes. The Bruins controlled the rest of the period and went into halftime with a 37-25 lead.
"Me and Drew told the guys that we've been in this position before," Ellis said. "We're the leaders. So we told them, 'We can't panic, you know, we're going to come out, we're gonna hit him in the mouth in the second half. You know, forget it. Forget what happened in the first half.'"
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USC roared back with a 25-3 run boosted by Ellis' 10 points in the stretch that erased the UCLA's lead. The Trojans were 6-of-9 from the 3-point line in the second half.
BOOGI3 makes it a one-point game!— USC Men's Basketball (@USC_Hoops) January 27, 2023
📱: https://t.co/TCIWqDLdwJ pic.twitter.com/Vt3GKRNHoa
The Bruins cut the Trojans' lead to two points with 3:11 remaining. After Peterson responded with a pull-up jumper, Ellis blocked Tyger Campbell's stepback that led to two made free throws from Johnson. USC stopped UCLA's next possession and Ellis hit another 3-pointer at the 1:25 mark to effectively end the game.
.@BoogieEllis from D33P and Galen goes wild!— USC Men's Basketball (@USC_Hoops) January 27, 2023
📱: https://t.co/TCIWqDLLmh pic.twitter.com/dDtwblDfBi
USC, which shot a perfect 14-of-14 from the free throw line in Saturday's win at Arizona State, made all 16 of its foul shots in the second half.
Jaime Jacquez Jr. scored a team-high 15 points for UCLA, which still leads the Pac-12 standings.