UCLA-USC Men's Basketball Preview

Feb. 7, 2001

LOS ANGELES - There's more to Thursday's UCLA-USC basketball game than the ever-present crosstown rivalry. At stake is precious ground in the Pac-10 race, where the second-place Bruins lead the Trojans by a game.

"Whoever wins this game has an edge for the Pac-10 (title)," UCLA's Jason Kapono said. Both teams trail first-place Stanford (8-1).

"This is big," USC center Brian Scalabrine said. "To be good, to be great, you've got to knock these guys off."

No. 22 USC (16-5, 6-3) is undefeated in 10 games at the Sports Arena, where the Trojans beat UCLA 91-79 in a series split last season.

UCLA (13-6, 7-2) has been out of the Top 25 for most of the season, but has won nine of its last 11, including a road upset of then-No. 1 Stanford last weekend.

"Sparks are going to fly as soon as we meet," said UCLA guard Earl Watson, a senior playing in the series for the last time.

"It's like two trains coming head to head and the toughest team is going to win the game," he said. "It's going to be a brawl. I love being part of games like that."

On Jan. 11 at Pauley Pavilion, the Bruins won 80-75 after letting a 19-point lead evaporate in the second half. The Trojans committed 28 turnovers.

"I guarantee that won't happen this time," said Scalabrine, who was in foul trouble most of the game.

Neither team is backing down from the kind of emotion that ignited the last game, which began with three technical fouls.

"It's going to be real emotional the first five minutes, and the team that can calm itself down and continue to execute is going to be the team that dominates the game," Watson predicted.

A month ago, UCLA center Dan Gadzuric fouled USC's Desmon Farmer hard enough to knock Farmer to the ground, and Gadzuric and Scalabrine received technicals after the play.

Watson was called for an intentional foul on USC's David Bluthenthal, who received a technical for saying something to Watson.

"It's been the best SC-UCLA game I've been a part of as far as both teams being talented and both teams having a style of play that is just fun to watch," Watson said.

A month ago, USC guard Jeff Trepagnier was just getting back to basketball.

Trepagnier came off the bench against UCLA, scoring 13 points and grabbing seven rebounds in 34 minutes. His teammates expect him to have a bigger impact this time.

"I think he turned the corner," Bluthenthal said about Trepagnier's play last weekend.

At California, Trepagnier had 19 points, 11 rebounds, five steals, four assists and a huge dunk that stunned his teammates.

"I'd like to see Jeff become aggressive like he was against Cal," said USC coach Henry Bibby, who is 1-9 against his alma mater. "He brings a lot of energy."

Sam Clancy, the Pac-10's leading scorer at 20.1 points, scored a career-high 31 points and grabbed 13 rebounds against UCLA.

"I was a little embarrassed. We had several chances to win. No one played well that night," Clancy said. "We're starting to get on a roll. That wasn't the case a few weeks ago. Now everyone is picking up their play. We're getting more guys to play every night on a consistent basis."

AP Sports Writer

UCLA Health Sponsor - Event Information
Friday, Nov 13
vs. Monmouth
Los Angeles, CA
L, 81 - 84 (OT)
Sunday, Nov 15
vs. Cal Poly
Los Angeles, CA
W, 88 - 83
Thursday, Nov 19
vs. Pepperdine
Los Angeles, CA
W, 81 - 67
Monday, Nov 23
vs. UNLV
Lahaina, HI
W, 77 - 75
Tuesday, Nov 24
vs. Kansas
Lahaina, HI
L, 73 - 92
Wednesday, Nov 25
vs. Wake Forest
Lahaina, HI
L, 77 - 80
Sunday, Nov 29
vs. CSUN
Los Angeles, CA
W, 77 - 45
Thursday, Dec 03
vs. Kentucky
Los Angeles, CA
W, 87 - 77
Sunday, Dec 06
vs. Long Beach State
Los Angeles, CA
W, 83 - 76
Saturday, Dec 12
at Gonzaga
Spokane, WA
W, 71 - 66
Tuesday, Dec 15
vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
Los Angeles, CA
W, 89 - 80
Saturday, Dec 19
vs. North Carolina
Brooklyn, NY
L, 76 - 89
Tuesday, Dec 22
vs. McNeese State
Los Angeles, CA
W, 67 - 53
Friday, Jan 01
at Washington
Seattle, WA
L, 93 - 96 (2OT)
Sunday, Jan 03
at Washington State
Pullman, WA
L, 78 - 85
Thursday, Jan 07
vs. Arizona
Los Angeles, CA
W, 87 - 84
Saturday, Jan 09
vs. Arizona State
Los Angeles, CA
W, 81 - 74
Wednesday, Jan 13
vs. USC
Los Angeles, CA
L, 75 - 89
Wednesday, Jan 20
at Oregon State
Corvallis, OR
W, 82 - 73
Saturday, Jan 23
at Oregon
Eugene, OR
L, 72 - 86
Thursday, Jan 28
vs. Washington
Los Angeles, CA
L, 84 - 86
Saturday, Jan 30
vs. Washington State
Los Angeles, CA
W, 83 - 50
Thursday, Feb 04
at USC
Los Angeles, CA
L, 61 - 80
Friday, Feb 12 - 6:00 PM PST
at Arizona
Tucson, AZ
Sunday, Feb 14 - 5:30 PM PST
at Arizona State
Tempe, AZ
Thursday, Feb 18 - 7:00 PM PST
vs. Utah
Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, Feb 20 - 8:00 PM PST
vs. Colorado
Los Angeles, CA
Thursday, Feb 25 - 6:00 PM PST
at California
Berkeley, CA
Saturday, Feb 27 - 1:30 PM PST
at Stanford
Stanford, CA
Wednesday, Mar 02 - 6:00 PM PST
vs. Oregon
Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, Mar 05 - 3:30 PM PST
vs. Oregon State
Los Angeles, CA
Wednesday, Mar 09 - All Day PST
vs. 2016 Pac-12 Men's ...
Las Vegas, NV
Thursday, Mar 10 - All Day PST
vs. 2016 Pac-12 Men's ...
Las Vegas, NV
Friday, Mar 11 - 6:00 PM PST
vs. 2016 Pac-12 Men's ...
Las Vegas, NV
Friday, Mar 11 - 8:30 PM PST
vs. 2016 Pac-12 Men's ...
Las Vegas, NV
Saturday, Mar 12 - 7:00 PM PST
vs. 2016 Pac-12 Men's ...
Las Vegas, NV
Tuesday, Mar 15 - All Day PST
vs. NCAA First Four
Dayton, OH
Thursday, Mar 17 - All Day PST
vs. NCAA First Round
Saturday, Mar 19 - All Day PST
vs. NCAA Second Round
Thursday, Mar 24 - All Day PST
vs. NCAA Regional ...
Saturday, Mar 26 - All Day PST
vs. NCAA Regional ...
Saturday, Apr 02 - All Day PST
vs. NCAA National ...
Houston, TX
Monday, Apr 04 - All Day PST
vs. NCAA National ...
Houston, TX