for this game

Defense, balance attack help UCLA coast by USC

Feb 5, 2009 - 7:28 AM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- UCLA may be starting to hit its stride in the Pac-10 Conference.

Josh Shipp scored 19 points and Alfred Aboya had 14 and 12 rebounds as No. 12 UCLA rolled past intra-state rival Southern California, 76-60, on Wednesday.

Freshman Jrue Holiday had 13 points and seven assists and Nikola Dragovic scored 12 for the Bruins (18-4, 8-2 Pac-10), who never trailed.

UCLA, which currently sits atop the conference standings, was coming off a 97-63 thumping of Stanford on Saturday and blew this one open midway through the first half.

"If we can keep playing like this the rest of the way, we're going to win a lot of games," UCLA coach Ben Howland told the Los Angeles Times.

Dragovic had consecutive 3-pointers and freshman Drew Gordon followed with a jumper, capping a 17-2 run as the Bruins opened up a 36-13 bulge with 5:39 left in the first half.

Dragovic was 4-of-5 from the arc in the opening 20 minutes and UCLA shot 58 percent (14-of-24) as a team, taking a 44-21 lead into the locker rooms. USC committed 14 turnovers in the first half.

The Bruins never let the Trojans back into the contest, maintaining a lead of at least 16 throughout the second half.

"I've come here a lot of times," USC forward Taj Gibson told the newspaper. "And it's never been like this."

Gordon threw down an alley-oop dunk on a feed from Holiday and Shipp followed with a dunk in transition to give UCLA a 63-41 lead with 7:55 to play.

The three-time defending Pac-10 champions, UCLA turned 23 USC turnovers into 28 points as it cruised to its third straight win overall.

"That was the story of the ballgame," USC coach Tim Floyd told the Times about his team's mistakes.

Dwight Lewis scored 20 points to pace the Trojans (15-7, 6-4), who had their three-game winning streak snapped. The Trojans were just 1-of-7 from the arc.