No. 3 UCLA Looks to Rebound at USC

Jan. 11, 2007


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DATE: Jan. 13, 2007
SITE: Galen Center (10,258)
TIP-OFF: 11:35 a.m. PST
TV: FSN Prime Ticket
TV: Steve Physioc (play-by-play), Marques Johnson (analyst)
TALENT: Chris Roberts (play-by-play), Don MacLean (analyst)
SIRIUS RADIO: Channel 143
SERIES: UCLA leads 122-99

#3 UCLA vs. USC
This is the 222nd meeting between UCLA and USC with the Bruins leading the series 122-99, including winning 17 of the last 24 games. However, the Trojans have won six of the last 10 meetings. The two teams split the season series a year ago, each team winning on its home floor. The Bruins are 1-1 on the road this season while the Trojans are 9-2 at home. Last year, USC upset No. 15 UCLA 71-68 in the Sports Arena (Feb. 19, 2006) as Nick Young led the Trojans with 15 points and six rebounds. Reserve Dwayne Shackleford scored all 12 of his points in the second half. The Trojans won without second-leading scorer Gabe Pruitt, who missed his third straight game due to an injured left knee. USC had lost its last three games to UCLA including a 66-45 setback at Pauley Pavilion earlier in the year. Jordan Farmar led the Bruins with 21 points while Arron Afflalo scored 19 points in the losing effort. Bruin head coach Ben Howland sports an overall record of 3-3 against USC and 1-2 on the road against the Trojans. USC's head coach Tim Floyd, now in his second season, is 1-1 against the Bruins.

UCLA was preseason rated No. 5 (tied with Pittsburgh) in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll and No. 6 in the Associated Press poll, marking the second straight season that the Bruins were ranked in the preseason polls. The Bruins are currently ranked third in the ESPN/USA Today poll (two first-place votes) and fourth in the Associated Press poll (four first-place votes).

The Bruins are no strangers to early morning wake-up calls. UCLA is 2-1 this season in games that tip-off prior to noon. The Bruins handed then sixth-ranked Texas A&M a 65-62 loss in an 11:30 a.m. tip-off at Honda Center in the John R. Wooden Classic on Dec. 9. UCLA later crushed Michigan 92-55 with an 11:00 a.m. tip in Pauley Pavilion on Dec. 23. But the Bruins lost their last morning game 68-66 at 16th-ranked Oregon on Jan. 6. The game at McArthur Court tipped at 11:00 a.m. After the 11:30 a.m. tip-off with USC at Galen Center on Jan. 13, UCLA still has two morning games. The Bruins will tip at 10:00 a.m. (PST) at West Virginia on CBS (Feb. 10) and again at 10:00 a.m. (PST) at Arizona on CBS (Feb. 17).

One strength of this year's team has been in three-point shooting, where UCLA has connected on 40.6 percent (112-of-276) of its shots from beyond the arc. In Pac-10 play, that percentage is up slightly at 41.2 percent (35-of-85). In overall games, the Bruins rank second in the league and 32nd in the country in three-point percentage. Additionally, the Bruins have shot better than 34 percent from downtown in each of the last nine games while not allowing a single opponent to shoot better than 34 percent from three-point territory in the last 11 contests.

UCLA junior Arron Afflalo (14 games), and sophomores Josh Shipp (11 games) and Darren Collison (nine games) are first, second and third, respectively, with the longest double-digit scoring streaks in the Pacific-10 Conference.

In addition to its basketball team, UCLA is also off to a fast start in the 2006-07 Lexus Gauntlet challenge. The Bruins lead 30-5 in the cross-town all-sports competition with USC. Saturday's men's basketball game is worth five points. An additional five points is also up for grabs later in the day when the UCLA women's basketball team hosts USC at Pauley Pavilion. It takes 57.5 points to clinch the Lexus Gauntlet. In the five years of the Lexus Gauntlet competition, the rival schools have alternated winning the trophy. USC won the inaugural trophy in 2002, then in 2004 and again in 2006. UCLA captured the rivalry's crown jewel in 2003 and 2005. The Lexus Gauntlet is presented by the Southern California Lexus Dealers, the leading sponsors of both UCLA and USC athletic departments as well as the exclusive title sponsor of every USC-UCLA athletic competition.

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