UCLA coach Steve Alford, second from left, speaks with his players during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Southern California in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 conference tournament Thursday, March 12, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Ph
John Locher
March 12, 2015

LAS VEGAS (AP) UCLA lost starting forward Kevon Looney to a facial injury in the first half and leading scorer Norman Powell was saddled with foul trouble.

It didn't slow the Bruins down. Not with the way they've been playing or the way Isaac Hamilton was shooting.

Hamilton hit seven 3-pointers and scored 36 points, helping UCLA rout rival Southern California 96-70 in the Pac-12 quarterfinals on Thursday.

''He started feeling it and when he was feeling it, everything went in,'' USC's Katin Reinhardt said about Hamilton. ''We tried to do our best job guarding him and he was in a rhythm tonight. We just couldn't stop it.''

UCLA (20-12) stepped on the Trojans from the start and didn't let up to rout USC for the third time this season. The Bruins shot 60 percent and made 12 of 20 3-pointers to earn a spot in Friday's semifinals against No. 5 Arizona.

Powell and Tony Parker added 14 points each for the Bruins.

Hamilton, who's grandmother died this week, made 13 of 17 shots and was 7 for 9 from the 3-point arc to blow past his career high of 21 points set earlier this year.

''For him to have a game like this on the heels of her passing, that's a pretty special situation to be in,'' UCLA coach Steve Alford said.

USC (12-19) had a nice upset in the first round, but was no match for the fresh Bruins.

Reinhardt led the Trojans with 20 points, hitting 5 of 9 from 3-point range. Nikola Jovanovic added 17 points.

''We need to play better defense,'' USC coach Andy Enfield said. ''They really made perimeter shots.''

The Trojans became the first No. 12 seed to win a Pac-12 tournament game after rallying from a 14-point second-half deficit to beat Arizona State 67-64 in the first round.

That earned USC a rematch with its biggest rival, who lost the first two times by a combined 38 points.

The Bruins quickly took control of Round 3, soaring in for dunks in transition and pouring in 3-pointers with its quick-hitting offense.

UCLA raced out to a 24-13 lead with a 14-0 run, including a windmill dunk in transition by Powell that brought the crowd to its feet, and didn't let up even after Looney was hurt.

The Bruins made 18 of 31 shots, including 6 of 11 from 3-point range, to build a 47-29 lead by halftime.

Hamilton, a sophomore guard, spearheaded UCLA's offensive onslaught, scoring 18 points on 6 of 9 shooting in the first half.

Hamilton kept firing and making, surpassing his previous high by hitting a pair of 3-pointers in the opening 90 seconds of the second half.

All that was in question after that was whether Hamilton would break Klay Thompson's tournament records for points and 3-pointers. He fell short of the Washington State star's 43 points and eight 3-pointers in the 2011 tournament, but it was a special day regardless.

''Coach emphasized taking good shots and that's what I tried to do,'' Hamilton said. ''And they were falling for me.''

TIP INS

USC: The Trojans hit 8 of 22 from 3-point range. ... Elijah Stewart had 12 points.

UCLA: The last UCLA player to score at least 35 points was Dijon Thompson against Arizona State on Feb. 10, 2005. ... The Bruins lost to Arizona 57-47 on Feb. 21. ... UCLA had a 50-34 advantage in the paint against USC.

UP NEXT

USC's season is over.

UCLA face top-seeded Arizona in Friday's semifinals.

You May Like