Photo by © Kirby Lee-USA TODAY
USC Basketball

Jaylen Hands' late 3-pointer the dagger as UCLA edges USC in overtime, 93-88

February 28, 2019

LOS ANGELES - With the shot clock winding down and UCLA floundering on offense, it looked as if USC was going to get the ball back down just 1 point and take the final shot with about 20 seconds remaining in overtime.

Unfortunately for the Trojans, Jaylen Hands had other plans.

The sophomore guard, who finished the night with 21 points and 10 assists, nailed a deep three pointer as the shot clock expired to give the Bruins a 92-88 lead, and ultimately, the win.

When asked about the shot after the game, Bennie Boatwright, who poured in 25 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, could do nothing but tip his cap to Hands.

“First thing I did was just smile,” said Boatwright. “You have to give him credit for it and just move on.”

In a year filled with disappointing moments for the Trojans, this loss could be among the toughest. USC did many things right in this game, including distributing a season-high 28 assists, and played well enough to have a chance to win the game in regulation.

Tied at 82 with 18 seconds left in the game, the Trojans came out from a timeout to take the final shot. What ensued was a discombobulated possession that ended in Bennie Boatwright being forced to take a contested 3-pointer that missed.

“We were trying to get Bennie and Jonah on the same side of the floor,”said Coach Enfield. “Jonah was open in the corner but Bennie decided to take the shot for himself.”

Aside from Hands’ dagger, the free throw disparity between the Trojans and the Bruins also played a big role in the loss for USC. Andy Enfield’s team shot just 1-for-7 from the charity stripe while the Bruins went 18-for-28. And with Nick Rakocevic dealing with foul trouble once again, UCLA also dominated the glass, winning the rebounding battle 41-29, including 15 offensive rebounds that led to 16 second chance points.

“Some seasons you have a lot of so-called lucky bounces at the end of games,”Enfield said. “We’ve had a lot of unlucky things happen to us at the end of games.”

Despite the loss, the play of the USC’s three freshman was encouraging and an important development as the Trojans as they finish out the regular season and prepare for the Pac-12 Tournament in a two weeks. J’Raan Brooks scored a career-high 11 points, Elijah Weaver dished out 7 assists without committing a turnover, and Kevin Porter Jr. had 10 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists before exiting the game in the 2nd half with a sprained right ankle injury. Although he returned a few minutes later, he was clearly not himself and was subbed out promptly.

Porter Jr. is currently listed as day-to-day.

To close out the regular season, the Trojans will travel to Salt Lake City next week to play Utah on Thursday and then to Boulder to take on Colorado on Saturday.

Tags: Basketball
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