USC and UCLA face off in massive hoops showdown on Thursday; Bruins are on a roll

The USC Trojans and UCLA Bruins both saw their football seasons end in heartbreak. Both teams blew leads and lost on last-second scores.

Now, fans can begin to turn their full attention to the hardwood.

What better way to begin the 2023 calendar year than an L.A. battle at Pauley Pavilion?

The Trojans hit the road to face UCLA on Thursday night, and the 10th-ranked Bruins are no easy task for Andy Enfield’s team.

The Trojans just lost by 10 to Washington State on New Year’s Day despite four starters scoring in double digits.

However, the bench scored a grand total of 11 points (Reese Dixon-Waters had seven) and the Trojans still need help from their reserves. USC also got lit up by Wazzu for 14 3-pointers. USC’s 3-point defense has to get a lot better.

The Cougars shot a blistering 48.3% from downtown and 49.1% from the field as the Trojans went just 3-18 from 3-point land in an ugly loss.

UCLA has responded with 10 straight wins since the Bruins lost back-to-back games to Illinois and Baylor (a pair of ranked teams). They have defeated Maryland and Kentucky since then.

Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Tyger Campbell always give USC a hard time, and the Trojans’ defense — which is their calling card once again — will be tested in this showdown.

The last time these teams met, UCLA ended the Trojans’ hopes of a Pac-12 Tournament title, so USC will seek some revenge.

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It won’t be easy, and the Trojans need to find a way to get Boogie Ellis and Drew Peterson some help.

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Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire