A couple of weeks ago USC played UCLA in basketball. Having started the season strong, we had dropped a few games recently and were ranked at 21 while UCLA was ranked 12th. We’d never really been a basketball school until the wild run in March Madness we managed to pull out the year before which unfortunately no one really got to see because of COVID, so the excitement for a basketball game was something I’d never felt on campus before.
The entire day felt like a football game with tailgates going on, and everyone talking about when they were going to go over to Galen to get in line. My friends and I went over two hours before the game started thinking we’d be comfortable and sure we would get in. We were not entirely correct. The line was massive, stretching a solid half of the length of campus. Even with 2000 spots for students in the stadium, we really weren’t sure we would make it in. After a few warm and casual hours we ended up finally getting in. The stadium energy was great. Everyone was on their feet the whole game. It ended up being a very close game where we managed to barely cling to a lead.
As the last few minutes approached, we ended up putting together a good run almost certainly guaranteeing a victory. From the mezzanine, everyone came down to be ready to rush the court, but in the last few seconds UCLA managed to draw some fouls and get themselves in a position to tie the game with a buzzer beater. As the shot went up, the entire stadium drew in a breath. Which led into a roar as the ball fell, missing the hoop. The buzzer confirmed that we had just won the rivalry game against a team no one had picked us to beat while down our best player. There were some attempts from security to stop students from getting onto the court, but they ended up being more for show than anything else. It felt like half the school was out on the court, riding the excitement of the win.
As a senior, I’ve witnessed the worst 4 year period of USC football in recent and even not so recent memory. Getting to storm the court against our rivals, almost makes up for me missing what will surely be a Lincoln Riley led dynasty. By getting to check that off the college bucket list, I suppose we might be a basketball school now.