|Aaron Holiday (photo by Katie Meyers)|
By: UCLA Athletics
LAS VEGAS - Thomas Welsh scored 12 points and grabbed a team-high six rebounds as the UCLA basketball team dropped a 95-71 decision to USC in a first-round game of the Pac-12 Tournament on Wednesday evening.
No. 10-seed UCLA (15-17) fell behind by a 48-29 margin by halftime and could not close the gap to fewer than less than 15 points in the second half.
Bennie Boatwright scored a team-leading 19 points for No. 7-seed USC (21-11), as six Trojans scored in double figures to advance to a Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinal meeting against No. 2-seed Utah.
Jordan McLaughlin finished with 18 points for the Trojans and Nikola Jovanovic added 16 points.
USC raced away from the Bruins from the opening tip, claiming an 11-0 lead in the game’s first 3:16. UCLA closed the gap to 16-12 with 12:31 left before halftime after Aaron Holiday nailed a 3-pointer.
From that point, the Bruins never were able to get closer than four points. USC’s Katin Reinhardt answered with a 3-pointer before Jovanovic made a layup to give the Trojans a 21-12 cushion.
Boatwright made 5 of 9 shots from 3-point range, helping USC finish the game going 11 for 23 from beyond the 3-point arc to earn a third consecutive win this season over UCLA.
Leading by a 35-25 margin with 3:08 to play before halftime, the Trojans used a 9-0 scoring run to claim a 44-25 cushion with 1:51 remaining.
UCLA finished with four players having scored in double figures – Welsh with 12 points and Holiday, Bryce Alford and Jonah Bolden each with 11.