Southern California guard Boogie Ellis (5) drives to the basket as UCLA guard Dylan Andrews (2) defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Arrinten Page knocked down Adem Bona going for a rebound early in the game. That’s when Boogie Ellis knew Southern California was playing to win.

“I feel like A.P. set the tone. That’s how we have to play,” said Ellis, who scored 18 of his 24 points in the first half of a 62-56 victory over UCLA on Saturday night.

The Trojans gained a split in the crosstown rivalry between teams whose seasons have been rocky. It was Ellis’ first win at UCLA in his five-year career.

Isaiah Collier added 11 points in a win that provided some salve for the slumping Trojans (11-16, 5-11 Pac-12), who had lost three of their previous four.

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It was a messy game, with the teams combining for 28 turnovers and numerous botched possessions that often ended with players sprawled on the court.

“We were awful,” a somber UCLA coach Mick Cronin said.

The Bruins (14-13, 9-7) were denied a chance to move into a third-place tie with Oregon in the Pac-12. They had won eight of 10 but endured a poor shooting night, going 7 for 25 in the second half.

“It’s a simple game, the team that plays harder usually wins. They played much harder than us,” Cronin said. “We had our worst week of practice of the season. I failed miserably to get my team ready for the fight that was coming and I’m thoroughly embarrassed.”

Sebastian Mack hit a 3-pointer with eight seconds remaining, drawing the Bruins to 62-56. The Trojans missed 3 of 5 free throws down the stretch, but they held on to silence 13,659 at Pauley Pavilion.

UCLA was led by Adem Bona with 14 points. Mack finished with 12 points and Lazar Stefanovic had 10 points and six rebounds. Aday Mara scored all of his 10 points in the second half.

“We knew they were going to be motivated, but we didn’t respond the way we should have,” Stefanovic said.

Starting guard Dylan Andrews had a horrendous night for the Bruins. He scored 20 points in their 65-60 win over the Trojans at Galen Center last month and had averaged 14.8 points in their last five games, but was scoreless. He was 0 for 7 and missed all four of his 3-point attempts to go with five turnovers.

Tied at halftime, the Trojans outscored the Bruins 16-3 for a 50-37 lead. The Bruins missed all nine of their shots while USC scored 10 points in a row during its spurt.

“We just came out flat with no energy,” Bona said.

Kobe Johnson’s 3-pointer — the Trojans’ first of the second half — extended their lead to 60-49. Johnson finished with 10 points.

The Trojans ended a seven-game road losing streak and improved to 2-8 away from home.

Coach Andy Enfield earned his 216th victory at USC, tying him with Bob Boyd for third on the program’s all-time coaching win list.

Ellis scored 18 points in 18 minutes of the first half. The Trojans made seven 3-pointers — three by Ellis — to take their largest lead of the half, 33-19.

After going cold with their shooting to start the game, the Bruins rallied with a 15-1 run, including six points by Bona, that tied it 34-all at the break.


USC: The Trojans’ hope to make March Madness rest on how they fare in the Pac-12 Tournament. Mired in next-to-last place, they’ll have to win out in Las Vegas to earn the automatic berth. But before they get there, they still have to face ranked Washington State and Arizona.

UCLA: The Bruins’ shot at landing a top-four seed in the Pac-12 Tournament took a major hit. They also have to play the same two ranked teams as USC.


USC: Visits No. 21 Washington State on Thursday.

UCLA: Visits Washington on Thursday to open the final road trip of the regular season.