USC men’s basketball loses 60-58 heartbreaker to No. 10 UCLA

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LOS ANGELES — Despite overcoming an 18-point halftime deficit, USC’s 60-58 road loss to No. 10 UCLA on Thursday will sting. 

The Trojans (11-5, 3-2 Pac-12 Conference) battled all the way back to take a 58-56 lead with 28 seconds left courtesy of a hook shot from Reese-Dixon Waters, but the Bruins (14-2, 5-0 Pac-12 Conference) scored the game’s last four points to secure the victory.

Following Dixon-Waters’ basket, UCLA’s Jaylen Clark hit a three-pointer to go up 59-58. Clark missed a three earlier in the possession, but David Singleton grabbed the offensive rebound and threw it back to Clark who connected from the exact same spot, just to the right of the top of the arc, with 15 seconds left to give the Bruins a one point edge. 

On USC’s next possession, Boogie Ellis was whistled for a moving screen. Singleton was then fouled and made one of two free throws to put UCLA up 60-58. On the game’s final possession, Ellis dribbled the length of the floor and floated up a two-point shot from the right side of the floor that missed just short as time expired.

“We don’t take any moral victories by losing, but that’s the effort they have to give if they want to compete this year,” USC head coach Andy Enfield said. 

The game was a tale of two halves. After trailing 44-26 at the break, USC outscored UCLA 32-16 in the second half, which included an eight minute scoring drought for the Bruins. 

“That was embarrassing in the first half,” Enfield said. “It embarrassed me as a head coach to come out in a rivalry game and be down 18 at halftime. The effort that we gave was embarrassing for all of us. At halftime, we didn’t yell and scream, but they made their minds up that they were going to go compete and they did. I’m very proud of our guys for the second half.”

Dixon-Waters led all scorers with 16 points on 7 of 7 shooting. Clark paced UCLA with 15 points. 

USC returns to the court next week at home against Colorado. 

“We’ve got a week off,” Dixon-Waters said. “We’ve just got to lock in and practice.”

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