Asked this week what it was like watching film of his team’s loss to USC, Ben Howland didn’t mince words.
“It’s depressing,” the UCLA coach said.
The Trojans stunned the Bruins at Pauley Pavilion three weeks ago, debuting in the new stadium with a 75-71 overtime upset. It marked UCLA’s only consecutive loss this season, and sent USC on a four-game winning streak that made interim coach Bob Cantu a legitimate candidate for the full-time job.
Point guard Larry Drew II had the most pointed words that night: “When we play SC again, it’s going to be war.”
The Bruins still have three full days until Sunday’s 12:30 p.m. rematch at the Galen Center — an unusually long layoff after the their win at Stanford last Saturday. The team will see film edits from the loss after taking Wednesday off from practice, but it’s not as if they need any reminders of what happened.
“Seeing how they beat us here, everyone’s a little pissed,” junior forward Travis Wear said. “More intense and angry. We want to go over there and we want to beat them. Simple as that.”
For at least one freshman, it helped sell the scale of the crosstown rivalry. Point forward Kyle Anderson still vividly remembers watching the Trojans celebrate, commenting on Twitter after the loss that he may hate losing more than he enjoys winning. Now, he’s just eager to return the favor.
“Just as a team, how excited they looked when they beat us,” he said. “They did all that extra stuff in the middle of our court. I’m sold on it now. I’m looking to go do the same thing (there).”