INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) -- UCLA recruited twins Errick and Derrick
Craven, but didn't want them at the same time.
Freshman Errick Craven proved that decision a mistake Thursday
night, scoring seven of his 13 points in the final 3:18 and
Southern California upset UCLA (No. 14 ESPN/USA Today, No. 11 AP) 81-77 to take sole possession of first place in the Pac-10.
"I don't have any grudges," said Craven, whose brother is recovering from a stress fracture in his right leg.
The Trojans (13-2, 5-0) won their ninth game in a row and are off to their best start since 1975. Coach Henry Bibby improved to 2-9 against his alma mater, where he starred on three national championship teams.
"The whole team was confident we could win," said Sam Clancy,
who led USC with 19 points. "This is good for us, and more
importantly it's for first place in the Pac-10."
At the buzzer, screaming, dancing fans mobbed center court at the Forum to celebrate the end of USC's three-game losing skid against its crosstown rival.
"I told our team afterward that you're not going to win every game," said UCLA coach Steve Lavin, whose team plays host to No. 1 Kansas on Saturday. "It's tough to lose to your crosstown rival, but we'll bounce back."
The Bruins (11-3, 4-1) had their nine-game winning streak snapped in front of a rowdy, pro-USC crowd of 15,903. The game was moved to the Forum from the Trojans' usual home court at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, which is being used as a practice rink for the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.
The Trojans won the game on the glass, outrebounding UCLA 46-33,
including a whopping 24-11 offensive edge. David Bluthenthal had 18 rebounds and Clancy 12.
"They had a big hole in the back of their zone and we were just killing them," Clancy said.
USC shot just 25 percent in the first half, but led by eight at the break.
"We were in the lead because we were getting four shots probably to their one, and we were making 1-for-4, and that's 25 percent," Bibby said. "As long as you can take as many shots as you have to take and you make one or two in the same possession, you're going to be ahead."
After UCLA's Rico Hines tied the game at 64, Craven scored seven
in a row to put USC ahead for good, 71-66, with 2:14 remaining.
"He's a very, very good freshman. He can do so many things for us," Bibby said. "With under a minute to go, he goes up and gets the big rebound. He just goes above everybody. He can do whatever he wants to do out on the floor."
The Bruins fought back with 3-pointers by Matt Barnes, Billy
Knight and Jason Kapono, but were hurt by key errors. Knight was
called for traveling, Hines committed an intentional foul and
Barnes tossed a bad pass.
"USC was hitting the offensive glass," Knight said. "We knew coming in they were going to rebound real hard and that was definitely a major factor."
Barnes led UCLA with career-highs of 34 points and seven
3-pointers, including three in the final 4:56. The Bruins had won
13 of the previous 14 meetings. His 3's tied the school record
shared by Ed O'Bannon in 1995 and Reggie Miller in 1986.
USC's Brandon Granville had 18 points, including 3-of-4 free
throws in the final 17.9 seconds, and Bluthenthal had 16.
The Trojans maintained their eight-point halftime lead for the first five minutes of the second half.
Then UCLA outscored USC 11-5, getting three consecutive
3-pointers, to cut its deficit to 52-50 with 12:03 remaining.
Although the Bruins tied the game twice, they never led in the