LOS ANGELES (AP) — Thomas Welsh scored five of his 21 points in the final 51 seconds, giving UCLA an 82-79 victory over crosstown rival Southern California on Saturday and snapping the Trojans’ season-high six-game winning streak.
Welsh hit a 3-pointer to put UCLA ahead for good at 80-77 and calmly sank two free throws with 11 seconds to go on his 22nd birthday that helped the Bruins (16-7, 7-4 Pac-12) win their third in a row.
Aaron Holiday led the Bruins with 23 points, including five 3-pointers, and nine assists. They improved to 12-2 at home.
The Trojans (17-7, 8-3) were led by Elijah Stewart with 20 points.
After Welsh’s go-ahead 3-pointer, Stewart got fouled and made both, leaving USC trailing 80-79.
Shaqquan Aaron missed a jumper for the Trojans and Welsh got fouled while grabbing the rebound. The 7-foot senior made both, allowing UCLA to end the game on a 22-10 run.
Jordan McLaughlin missed a 3-pointer for USC.
Nick Rakocevic scored 10 of USC’s first 14 points to open the second half, extending the Trojans’ lead to 55-53. The Bruins answered with a dunk by G.G. Goloman and a 3-pointer from Holiday for a 58-55 lead.
USC outscored UCLA 14-2 to go back in front 69-60. Stewart had five points and Chimezie Metu four in the spurt.
The Bruins took a 71-69 lead with 11 straight points that included two 3-pointers by Holiday, who converted two free throws after Rakocevic got two fouls, including a technical for a tie-up involving Alex Olesinski.
USC built an 11-point lead midway through the first half before UCLA erased most of it with a 14-2 run. Chris Smith came off the bench to score four points and Holiday sandwiched 3-pointers around a free throw by Smith that put the Bruins ahead 30-29.
The game was tied twice more before USC got four straight points by Stewart to lead 41-40 at halftime.
UCLA: The Bruins have seven regular season games remaining, with just two of those at home. The victory gives their NCAA Tournament hopes a much-needed boost.
USC: The Trojans were 7-1 in January for their most wins in the month since going 7-2 in 1982.
USC: At No. 25 Arizona State on Thursday in the second of three straight road games. The Trojans have lost five in a row in Tempe by an average of 4.4 points.
UCLA: At No. 9 Arizona on Thursday in the teams’ only regular season meeting.
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