LOS ANGELES – Maybe there’s a reason Tahj Eaddy is Jonah Mathews’ No. 2 wore for USC.
Like Mathews a year ago, Eaddy struck UCLA in the final of the regular season with the breathtaking blow at the last second by emptying a corner 3 pointer with one second of play time and giving the Trojans the only lead in the game.
It was the only thing they needed as UCLA failed to complete their trial in court and the Trojans escaped the Pauley Pavilion with a 64-63 win on Saturday.
USC guard Tahj Eaddy (left) asserts his 3-pointer in the last second while UCLA guard Jaylen Clark defends to give the Trojans a 64-63 win at the Pauley Pavilion on Saturday March 6, 2021. (AP Photo / Mark J. Terrill)
The win keeps USC’s dreams of a Pac-12 regular season title alive. With 21: 6 in the overall ranking and 15: 5 in the Pac-12, the Trojans got at least number 2 in the conference tournament next week. If Oregon lost to the State of Oregon on Sunday, the Trojans would win their first regular season conference crown since 1985.
When the Trojans were bullying Eaddy on the pitch, the Bruins went to the locker room after watching another game they had missed in the past few minutes. UCLA missed two front ends of one-and-one in the last two minutes to leave four points on the board and give the Trojans a chance.
At the start, the USC offensive didn’t have the same boast it did when it beat Stanford on Wednesday. The Trojans flipped the ball three times in the first five minutes and missed nine baskets in a row as the Bruins built a 13-point lead.
The Trojans kept mini-runs to get into two possessions, but the Bruins responded every time until David Singleton hit his second 3-pointer of the half to make it an 11-point game in the To take a break.
USC got their offensive going in the second half and shot 51.7% off the ground. For the third time in four games, however, Trojan defense did not meet USC standards set that season.
Every time the Trojans reduced the lead to a single possession, the Bruins responded with a couple of buckets and a couple of stops to keep USC at bay.
Chevez Goodwin, who ended up with 12 points and four rebounds for USC, made a three-point game to make it a two-point game with 11:49. Jaime Jaquez and Tyger Campbell responded with successive midfielders jammed for one of USC’s 10 sales.
But in the last few minutes the Bruins couldn’t get the stops or points they needed. The Bruins made only one basket in the final 5:01.
The loss drops UCLA to number 4 in the Pac-12 tournament. The Bruins will face the fifth Oregon State in the quarterfinals on Thursday.
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