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College basketball: UCLA thumps USC, 66-47

January 15, 2012 |  8:29 pm

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The Clippers and Lakers played Saturday night at Staples Center in a matchup some dubbed "Battle: L.A."

Just down the street a day later, UCLA and USC engaged in their own city-limits kerfuffle, but with watered-down stakes and a gaping lack of hype or outside interest.

With each team stuck spinning its wheels during down seasons that probably will end without a postseason tournament appearance, only bragging rights could be won.

UCLA took those, winning, 66-47, before a season-high 8,474 at the Galen Center.

PHOTOS: UCLA vs. USC

With Gus Johnson calling the game on television, it probably sounded exciting.

But for many in attendance, the game was a bore.

UCLA (10-7, 3-2 Pac-12 Conference) trailed 6-2 early but responded with a 22-4 run and strolled comfortably to its third consecutive win from there, with many fans filing out of the building with five minutes left and the Bruins leading by 20.

The Bruins have won eight of 10 and snapped a two-game skid at the Galen Center.

It also marked the first true road win for UCLA, which was playing only blocks from the Sports Arena, its home away from home this season.

USC (5-13, 0-5) extended its season-high losing streak to six games, its longest skid since it lost seven in a row during the 2002-03 season.

The Trojans, who have lost nine of 10, remain the only Pac-12 team without a league win. They also lost their first five league games during the 2004-05 season.

With its imposing front line, UCLA dominated the Trojans, who kept missing shots, both guarded and unguarded.

USC, led by Maurice Jones' 13 points, shot 36% (18 for 50).

UCLA didn't let USC recover many of those misses, posting a 44-19 rebounding edge. UCLA outscoring USC in the paint 30-22.

The Bruins also shot efficiently, making 51% (26 of 51) of their shots.

Three players scored in double figures for the Bruins, led by Travis Wear, who had a game-high 19.  

UCLA center Joshua Smith, whom USC Coach Kevin O'Neill had said was out of shape earlier in the week, struggled and scored six points in limited playing time.

But the Bruins didn't need much production from Smith.

Although UCLA had many highlights, USC's only memorable moment came when the Trojans weren't on the court.

At halftime, Trojans legend Harold Miner, the school's all-time leading scorer, had his No. 23 jersey retired.

As a surprise, USC brought back many of Miner's teammates and coaches from when he played for the Trojans from 1990-92, a stretch in which he scored 2,048 points.

"I want to thank my teammates for putting up with all my idiosyncrasies and quirks," Miner said, standing before a cheering standing ovation.

The former Inglewood High star had all but disappeared after his four-year NBA career was cut short in 1996 because of injuries.

"I just wanted to get away from it all," he told The Times.

Had he suited up for old time's sake, the 40-year-old Miner, once known as "Baby Jordan," probably could've scored a basket or two for USC.

And the Trojans would have welcomed it, especially as they scored fewer than 50 points for the fifth time in six games.  

More later at latimes.com/sports.

ALSO:

Oregon gets its first sweep in Arizona

For UCLA and USC, records are down but emotions are high

Terrence Ross leads Washington to win over Washington State

-- Baxter Holmes

Photo: Bruins forward Travis Wear throws down a dunk against USC during their Pac-12 game on Sunday night at the Galen Center. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

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