Tahj Eaddy lifts No. 24 USC to dramatic win over rival UCLA with 3-pointer in final seconds
LOS ANGELES – Tahj Eaddy hit a 3-pointer with 1.4 seconds remaining, giving No. 24 Southern California its only lead of the game and a 64-63 victory over UCLA on Saturday to keep alive the Trojans’ chance to win their first outright Pac-12 regular-season title since 1960-61.
First-place Oregon leads the league by percentage points and would have to lose to Oregon State on Sunday night for USC (21-6, 15-5) to claim the title by one game.
Eaddy took a pass from Ethan Anderson and was nearly falling out of bounds on the left baseline when he launched a well-contested 3-pointer – just the fourth made by USC. He was mobbed by his jumping teammates. The players could be heard celebrating in their lockerroom as empty Pauley Pavilion immediately went quiet.
Eaddy was sliding on the court seconds earlier trying to hold onto the ball, but wasn’t called for traveling.
Standout freshman Evan Mobley led USC with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Eaddy and Chevez Goodwin added 12 points each, and Drew Peterson had 10 points.
The Bruins (17-8, 13-6) were led by Jaime Jaquez Jr. with 12 points. Jules Bernard and David Singleton added 11 points each. They were without leading scorer Johnny Juzang, who tweaked his right ankle in practice on Friday.
USC completed a season sweep of the rival Bruins, having beaten them by 18 points last month.
Peterson sandwiched a pair of 3-pointers around a free throw by Goodwin to draw the Trojans to 61-60. Cody Riley scored to keep the Bruins ahead 63-60.
Goodwin was 1 of 3 from the free-throw line in the closing seconds. But the Bruins were hardly any better. Jaquez and Bernard both missed the front end of free throws that could have provided some breathing room.
After trailing by 13 in the first half, the Trojans kept their deficit to single digits over the final 20 minutes. They got within two on a three-point play by Goodwin midway through the half.
The Bruins led 61-53 with 3:50 to play, but got just one field goal over the final 2 minutes.
Eaddy hit USC’s first 3-pointer of the game early in the second half after they missed six attempts in the first 20 minutes. Goodwin scored five points in a 7-0 spurt that drew the Trojans to 47-45.
The Bruins raced to a 20-7 lead to start the game, including a 13-1 run. The Trojans committed three traveling turnovers in the first five minutes and missed 10 of 13 shots.
After a timeout, in which angry yelling from USC’s huddle drowned out music in the empty arena, the Trojans outscored UCLA 12-4, including seven straight, to trail 24-19.
UCLA had the half’s last run, scoring seven in a row as part of a 12-6 spurt, capped by Singleton’s 3-pointer that sent the Bruins into the break leading 36-25.
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USC: The Trojans hardly resembled the team that was atop the Pac-12 for a good part of the season, and in the Top 25 at times through the first half. But they stayed persistent and pulled out a quality win on national TV.
UCLA: The Bruins finished the regular season with an 11-1 mark at home. Their 18-game home winning streak dating to last season got snapped. They’ve lost three in a row for the first time this season.
Both teams play in the Pac-12 Conference tournament quarterfinals in Las Vegas next Thursday.