Sunday, 04 March 2018 15:39

Bruins Sack Troy, Again

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Holiday A USC030318UCLA (20-10, 11-7) hanging on the edge of the bubble, did what they had to do, and kept their hopes alive for a bid in the NCAA tournament, by conquering Troy for the second time this season, securing a sweep over USC (21-11, 12-6) with a double-digit victory, 83-72.

The game, however, was closer than the final outcome. The lead changed hands 10 times. Similar to the first game between these two rivals, the Trojans led in the contest for the majority time logging 26:39 minutes and seconds of the clock. The Bruins led for only 8:05 and the game were tied for 1:47.

Without the services of freshman, Jaylen Hands, the shorthanded Bruins, relied on the stellar play of junior point guard, Aaron Holiday, who put the team on his back and willed the Bruins to victory.

Holiday, who has been superb all season long, saved the best for last, scoring a career-high and game-high, 34 points. He also had a game-high seven assists while playing the entire 40 minutes.

What can be said about Holiday’s performance this season, if he doesn’t win Pac-12 Player of the Year then something is definitely wrong. Not only is Holiday the team’s lead scorer, assist man, and minutes played, plus he takes on the opposing team’s best backcourt scorer on defense.

The only other Bruin to score in double-figures was true freshman guard, Kris Wilkes who dropped in 22 points.

The Bruins shot 50.8 percent from the floor, 48.1 percent from beyond the arc and 71.9 percent from the foul line.

UCLA’s defense was much better this game than they have been recently. The Bruins held the Trojans to shooting 40 percent from the floor. An icy 26 percent from the three, but USC did a good job from the charity stripe hitting 78.9 percent of their foul shots.

All in all, it was an impressive victory for the Bruins who were down by 10 in the second-half and found the temerity to go on an 18-3 run to take control of the game.

UCLA’s win allows the Bruins to get some much-needed rest and a first-round bye in the upcoming Pac-12 Tournament. UCLA will head to Las Vegas to play either Stanford or Cal in the second-round.

Tipoff is scheduled for 2:30 PM PST on Thursday, March 8, 2018.

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