LOS ANGELES — Three of out of four isn't bad. In fact, it was rather good for UCLA in this town.
UCLA and USC have played four halves of basketball this season, and the Bruins had clear control of all but one of them. The cross-town showdown, the verbal battle between coaches Andy Enfield and Steve Alford, never really amounted to much on the court in two comfortable UCLA victories.
The Bruins were out of sorts for a while Saturday, and trailed by 10 points in the first half, but completely turned the game after halftime and ran away with a 83-73 victory in front of a season-high 9,216 at Galen Center.
UCLA (18-5, 7-3 Pac-12) shook off last week's road loss to Oregon State and remained in second place in the conference.
"Any time you lose or have a setback, it's not easy getting back up," Alford said. "I just thought in the first half, we just kind of had that demeanor. In the second half, we came out with a much different demeanor."
Credit the Bruins with patience. They trailed by double digits in front of a surprising raucous crowd against USC (10-13, 1-9), which showed genuine interest in passing the ball, and being aggressive offensively, for one of the few times this season.
Byron Wesley, USC's most talented all-around player, had 18 points at halftime, and the Trojans took a 41-35 lead into the break. But UCLA forced a turnover on the first possession of the second half and didn't take long to flip the game.
UCLA outscored a suddenly timid USC, 27-6, over the first 7:11 of the second half, and that allowed UCLA to follow up its 37-point victory over USC last month with another going-away win.
The Bruins made 6 of 8 attempts from 3-point range in the second half and led by 16 points.
UCLA's Norman Powell scored 17 of his team-high 21 points in the second half. Kyle Anderson had 15 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists and Jordan Adams had 17 points and eight rebounds.
Utah 81, Washington State 63
At Salt Lake City, Brandon Taylor had 16 points and Jordan Loveridge chipped in 13 to lead Utah to a victory.
Delon Wright added 11 points and nine assists for Utah. Six different players scored in double figures for the Utes (16-7, 5-6 Pac-12) who beat the Cougars in their home arena for the 12th consecutive time. Utah has not lost a home game to Washington State since the first meeting between the two teams in 1946.
DaVonte Lacy scored 22 points for the Cougars (9-14, 2-9) and D.J. Shelton added 19 points and 10 rebounds. It wasn't enough keep Washington State from losing for the ninth time in its last 12 games.