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Eaddy Stuns Bruins With Game Winning Three; USC defeats UCLA 64-63
By Jarred Davis, Contributing Writer
Published March 9, 2021

USC teammates celebrate after getting a 64-63 win against UCLA on Saturday, Mar.6 at Pauley Pavilion in Westwood (Courtesy Photo)

For the second consecutive year, Southern California stunned its crosstown rival in dramatic fashion in Westwood as time expired in the closing moments.

Senior transfer Tahj Eaddy drained the game-winning three-pointer with 1.4 seconds remaining for the Trojans and USC overcame a 13-point deficit to defeat the Bruins 64-63 on Saturday afternoon at Pauley Pavilion, sweeping the season series.

It was unfortunately Deja-vu for the Bruins as they saw a familiar ending when former Trojans guard Jonah Matthews hit a 3-pointer with 1 second to go for USC at the Galen center last March.

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“We just had to find a way to get it done,” Eaddy said.

“We’re only down two, so we were just trying to extend the play, but they did a good job of guarding that,” Eaddy added. “I was just trying to get a catch before there was a 5-second call. We were getting close.”

Freshman center Evan Mobley led USC (21-6, 15-5) with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Eaddy and Chevez Goodwin added 12 points each, while Drew Peterson had 10 points for the Trojans.

Both teams struggled to convert free throws over the course of the game with neither team being able to shoot over 55 percent.

However, it was UCLA (17-8, 13-6) who missed a pair of one-and-one opportunities at the charity stripe that allowed USC to get the ball back with nine seconds left and make its biggest play of the season.

“We had three or four offensive trips that were just awful — God-awful — that resulted in a layup at the other end,” said UCLA coach Mick Cronin.

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UCLA saw its 18-game home winning streak dating back to last season get snapped, along with losing a third consecutive game.

“At some point, you can’t keep repeating some of the same mistakes with some of the turnovers and breakdowns we’re having,” said Cronin.

USC senior guard Tajh Eaddy (2) recorded 12 points and made the game-winning three-pointer in an 64-63 win against UCLA on Saturday, Mar.6 (Courtesy Photo)

Jaime Jaquez Jr. led the Bruins with 12 points. Jules Bernard and David Singleton added 11 points each.

UCLA was without its leading scorer in Johnny Juzang, who tweaked his right ankle in practice on Friday.

The Bruins shot 60 percent from the field (15 for 25) and led 36-25 in the first half but struggled to put consecutive possessions with points together down the stretch.

USC responded after a poor shooting half and shot 51.7% in the second half, making four of 10 three-pointers even after never leading until the final shot of the game.

“It’s extremely hard to take,” Bernard said, “but I feel like this loss was self-imposed. Eaddy made a huge shot at the end of the game but leading up to it there were a lot of mistakes that let them back in the game.”

Cody Riley helped the Bruins take a 63-60 lead on a mid-range jump shot with just under two minutes to play after USC looked to complete its comeback.

Goodwin split a pair of free throws with 19 seconds remaining in the game for the Trojans. Bernard then drew a foul on Mobley and missed the back end of a 1-and-1 free throw to give the Trojans life.

Ethan Anderson then found Eaddy in the left corner for the contested game-winning 3-pointer and USC stormed the court in celebratory fashion with a 64-63 victory.

“We’ve got to have a short memory — that’s kind of a phrase I’ve been using — and go into this tournament and you know, give it everything we got and then try to come out with a championship,” said Jaquez Jr.

Up next, both teams will play in the Pac-12 Conference tournament quarterfinals in Las Vegas on Thursday at T-Mobile Arena.

UCLA will take on Oregon State at 2:30 PM, while USC will face the winner of Washington vs Utah at 5:30 PM pacific time.

Categories: Basketball | Sports
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