UCLA builds early lead in win over USC

UCLA builds early lead in win over USC

Published Jan. 15, 2012 7:21 p.m. ET

LOS ANGELES — In the grand scheme of things, UCLA's 66-47 demolition of Southern California on Sunday night didn't mean much.

An unranked team with a losing record and no chance of making the NCAA Tournament facing an unranked team with a mediocre record and a minimal chance of making the Big Dance is far from a must-see.

Which might be the reason UCLA cares so much right now. USC seems to have accepted its circumstances.

"We've obviously been bit by this injury bug and combined with losing a couple recruiting classes, we are who we are," USC head coach Kevin O'Neill said after his Trojans fell to 5-13, 0-5 in the Pac-12 Conference. 

But the Bruins (10-7, 3-2) are still trying to save face. And beating USC is about all they have right now.

The 19-point margin of victory at the Galen Center was the Bruins' largest at USC since 1999. It was the largest margin of victory at either location since 2006.

UCLA shot 51 percent from the field and had three players score in double figures, led by Travis Wear's 19 points and eight rebounds. USC shot 36 percent and had one player in double figures — Maurice Jones with 13 points.

"UCLA obviously took the game right to us in every respect," O'Neill said. "It would appear to me that these guys are starting to move in the right direction as a group."

Talk all you want about the history. Point to the skyline of downtown LA that's visible from the picture window on the north side of the Galen Center.

College supremacy in a city doesn't matter elsewhere when the basketball just isn't that good.