Jaime Jaquez Jr. scored 27 points and No. 17 UCLA defeated 16th-ranked Southern California 75-68 on Saturday night to claim the No. 2 seed in next week’s Pac-12 Tournament.
Jules Bernard added 19 points for the Bruins (23-6, 15-5 Pac-12), who came into the teams’ regular-season finale tied for second in the league with their crosstown rival. They snapped a five-game skid against the Trojans with their first win in the series since Feb. 28, 2019.
Johnny Juzang returned for UCLA after missing two games with a sprained right ankle. He finished with eight points, missing two free throws with 30 seconds left and the Bruins clinging to a four-point lead.
Bernard went 3 of 4 at the free-throw line over the final seconds to close out the win.
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The Trojans (25-6, 14-6) were led by Isaiah Mobley with 20 points and eight rebounds. Boogie Ellis and Drew Peterson added 13 points each. Except for scoring the game's first basket, the Trojans trailed the rest of the way. But they made it close at the end.
Fueled by a raucous, profanity-chanting student section, the Bruins' defense forced 15 turnovers in avenging a 67-64 loss to the Trojans last month at Galen Center.
USC tied the game at 47-all on a four-point play by Ellis that capped a 12-6 run to open the second half.
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Jaquez dunked one-handed to spark six straight points by UCLA before Peterson scored five straight points to draw the Trojans within one.
Jaquez took over, scoring on three straight possessions in a 16-4 run that gave UCLA its largest lead, 69-56. The Trojans committed four turnovers in short order and Ellis picked up his third foul.
But USC regrouped and closed to 70-68 with a 12-1 spurt, including seven points by Mobley, as the Bruins went cold.
Cody Riley hit a turnaround jumper in the lane that kept UCLA ahead 72-68.
Max Agbonkpolo committed USC's final turnover with 31 seconds to play. Reese Dixon-Waters and Ellis missed 3-pointers and Ellis missed an easy layup over the final 16 seconds.
USC: The Trojans won a school-record 25 games in the regular season and are poised to make another postseason run. They reached the Elite Eight last year.
UCLA: The Bruins went 5-1 in making the Final Four at last year's NCAA Tournament and they are eager to go a step further with their talent-laden roster.
Both teams earned first-round byes for the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas and will open play on Thursday.