for this game

Jefferson steals show as Southern California stuns UCLA

Jan 20, 2008 - 1:25 AM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Davon Jefferson turned out to be the best freshman on the court on this day.

In a much-anticipated matchup between O.J. Mayo and Kevin Love, Jefferson scored a season-high 25 points to lead unranked Southern California to a 72-63 victory over No. 4 UCLA on Saturday in a Pac-10 Conference showdown.

In a hotly contested game, Jefferson led a 21-6 run over the final 7 1/2 minutes to help end the Bruins' nine-game winning streak.

"Our emotion clearly affected our play," UCLA coach Ben Howland said. "Davon Jefferson had a great game. I thought we did a good job on Mayo in the first half. USC is a tough team with tournament aspirations. We tried to make fantastic plays instead of being solid. We really need to learn from this defeat and find a way to work and execute better."

It was the first of what may be only two meetings between two top-notch freshman, USC's Mayo and UCLA's Love.

Both entered the season as highly-touted recruits and could be NBA lottery picks during the summer. Mayo scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half, while Love recorded 18 points and 12 rebounds.

Love and Mayo are good friends and now rivals. The two first met when their AAU teams played as eighth graders and roomed together while competing in various All-Star games as high-school standouts.

"I didn't expect us to lose," Love said. "I thought we should've come out with more fire in our heart, but we play them in a couple of weeks and I think the outcome will be different."

But in this one it was a less heralded first-year player that stole the show. Jefferson scored 11 of his team's final 14 points as the Trojans (11-6, 2-3 Pac-10) posted their biggest win of the season.

The Trojans did so by holding the low-scoring Bruins to an anemic 33 percent (22-of-66) from the floor, while shooting 60 percent (28-of-46) on their end.

"I thought defensively, we played exceptional," USC coach Tim Floyd said. "We have a lot of respect for UCLA. We shared the ball. Davon Jefferson was terrific and we couldn't have played this game without Taj Gibson."

"We have to really credit USC," Howland said. "They had a great game plan and they executed well. I thought we came out too emotional which led to us making bad choices and decisions."

Southern California tied the game at 57-57 with 5:21 left as Mayo threw down a two-handed jam off an outlet pass.

The teams traded baskets until Jefferson snapped a 60-60 tie with a jumper and Daniel Hackett stretched the lead to 64-61 with 2:25 remaining with a basket.

UCLA (16-2, 4-1) cut the lead to one as Darren Collison, who scored 11, hit a layup. But the turning point came when another layup attempt by Collison was blocked after Mayo missed the front end of a 1-and-1.

After the block, Hackett sent an outlet pass to Jefferson, who was fouled and completed a three-point play to put USC up 67-63 with 58 seconds left.

Jefferson sealed the win by hitting three straight free throws and then completed a three-point play for the final margin.

Josh Shipp scored 11 of his 21 points in the first half to lead the Bruins to a 32-31 lead at intermission after 20 minutes.

Jefferson scored 11 first-half points for Southern California, which had to be thrilled with the outcome after getting next to nothing from Mayo.

Mayo, who leads the team with 19.9 points, mustered just two points in the first half. However, he opened the second half with 10 points in the first six minutes to give the Trojans a 47-41 lead with 13:28 remaining.

Love got his chance to answer during a 7-0 UCLA run. The 6-11 forward grabbed a rebound off a wild miss at one end and fired a chest pass to Russell Westbrook for an uncontested layup for a 48-47 lead with 11:59 remaining.

It was tightly contested the rest of the way with neither team leading by more than four points.