UCLA at USC: What to Watch

UCLA (19-7, 9-4) at USC (12-14, 7-6)
12:30 p.m., Galen Center
TV/Radio: Fox Sports Net/AM 570

At a glance: Ben Howland is just 13-9 against USC, and another loss would mark the third time he’s suffered a season sweep against the Trojans. USC has only swept the Bruins six times in the past 52 years.

Also at stake is UCLA’s chance at a Pac-12 championship. Should they lose on Sunday, the Bruins would fall into fourth place in the conference — trailing Oregon and Arizona (tied at 11-4) as well as Cal (10-5).

USC’s upset at Pauley Pavilion last month set the team on a four-win streak. That ended last weekend when the Trojans choked away a 15-point second half lead at Cal. Interim coach Bob Cantu is fighting for a shot at the full-time job, but his team’s defense is slipping. USC’s field-goal percentage defense has inched up every game since beating the Bruins (held to 38.2 percent); the Trojans allowed the Bears to shoot 46.4.

Players to watch: Forward Travis Wear is doubtful with a right foot injury, so his twin brother David will likely start in his place. David filled last filled in when Travis (concussion) sat out a loss to ASU on Jan. 26, but shot just 2 of 12 for five points.

David Wear hasn’t scored more than six in a game since then, so the Bruins’ best for offense outside of its three freshmen may be Larry Drew II. The senior point guard shot 3 of 11 against the Trojans last time, but has made at least half his field goal attempts in each of the four games since. He’s shown the ability to hit big shots, and swore after the loss to USC that the rematch would be “war.”

USC guard J.T. Terrell has scored in double digits in 10 of his last 11 games, but it was forward Eric Wise who gave UCLA the most trouble last time out with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Wise, a UCI transfer, has grabbed multiple offensive boards in all but two conference games. Also expect a larger role for 7-footer Dewayne Dedmon; he played just 16 minutes at Pauley Pavilion (flu) and grabbed one rebound.

F – Dewayne Dedmon, 7-0, 255, Jr., 6.7 pts, 6.8 reb, 2.1 blk
F – Eric Wise, 6-6, 240, Sr., 12.0 pts, 5.8 reb, 1.9 ast
G – Byron Wesley, 6-5, 210, So., 10.3 pts, 4.5 reb, 1.9 ast
G – J.T. Terrell, 6-3, 185, Jr., 10.9 pts, 2.0 reb, 0.8 ast
G – Jio Fontan, 6-0, 175, Sr., 9.8 pts, 1.8 reb, 5.1 ast