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Boogie Ellis starts hot but can’t repeat 2023 heroics vs UCLA in USC’s fifth straight loss

Hoping for a revival of their stagnant offense, the USC Trojans entered the Galen Center on Saturday with a plan. They pinned their hopes against UCLA on the comeback of Boogie Ellis. When Ellis was unable to play in recent road games, along with freshman sensation Isaiah Collier, the simple fact of the matter is that USC’s offense collapsed. Missing their two primary ball-handlers and leading scorers has been disastrous for the Trojans’ hopes of making the NCAA Tournament.

Boogie, who was sidelined for three weeks due to a hamstring injury, came out against UCLA on fire. In the opening seven minutes of the game, he contributed eight of USC’s initial 10 points by making two 3-pointers and hitting a contested jump shot from the elbow.  However, this initial burst faded quickly, as he struggled to shake the rust off after missing the previous three games. Ellis finished the night going 3-10 from the floor and 2-5 beyond the arc. His eight points fell well short of his season average of 18.7 points per game. USC’s offense bogged down in a dispiriting 65-50 loss to UCLA.

Last year when UCLA visited the Galen Center, USC trailed by double digits in the first half as well, but the Trojans came back to win the game on Boogie Ellis’s 31 points, 27 coming during the second-half comeback.  The stage was set for an encore, but Ellis couldn’t get his sea legs back, which derailed any hopes of a Hollywood ending.

Andy Enfield’s squad has averaged 18.3 turnovers per game with Collier and Boogie out. Ellis’s return saw that number drop to eight against an aggressive Mick Cronin defense. Unfortunately, poor shooting in the paint, a 22-2 run by by the Bruins late in the first half, and giving up 17 second-chance points to the Bruins squandered that improvement.

The Trojans have now lost five straight games, dropping their record to 8-12 (2-7 in conference) and they are now in sole possession of last place in the Pac-12. Ellis and the Trojans hope to get back on track this Thursday at the Galen Center against the Oregon Ducks.

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Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire