LOS ANGELES – For once, USC is not playing solely for pride and bragging rights when it travels to Pauley Pavilion tonight to face rival UCLA. If the No. 19 Trojans can shock the No. 2 Bruins, USC will tie UCLA for first place in the Pacific 10 Conference. “We were one shot away,” Lodrick Stewart said. “He misses that shot, we would have won. That gives us a lot of confidence that we can get this win.” Westphal said he thought after that 1971 season that USC and UCLA would be perennial top-10 teams for the rest of his life, but it didn’t turn out that way. The Trojans have had only fleeting moments of success. USC hasn’t won a conference title since 1961. For the team veterans – Stewart, Nick Young and Gabe Pruitt – this is an opportunity they relish. They remember being last in the Pac-10 just two years ago. “I can finally say we’re fighting for the No. 1 spot in the Pac-10,” Nick Young said. “We’ve come from last place to second place, and this could mean a lot to our program.” Pruitt hurt Starting point guard Pruitt said he expects to play though he suffered a mild sprain to his right ankle while making an awkward stop late in practice Tuesday. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Former USC player and coach Bob Boyd, the program’s resident historian with 56 years following the team, said he doesn’t remember a USC-UCLA game this big since 1971. In that season, a Paul Westphal-led Trojans team coached by Boyd had a chance to tie the Bruins for first place in the final game of the regular season but lost 73-62. That game had even more drama than this one. USC had been ranked No. 1 in the nation for half the season before losing to UCLA in the first game. The Bruins took over No. 1 in the polls, but the Trojans had climbed back to No. 2 by the second contest. Back in those days, only the winner of the Pac-10 made the NCAA Tournament. So, even though they were the top two teams in the nation, only one was going to move on to the postseason. USC ended up 24-2, with both losses to UCLA, but did not advance. “The game meant either ending your year or moving on,” Westphal said. “It’s a different system now and a different kind of pressure, but this is still a very compelling game.” USC players thought that they gave the game away when they allowed UCLA to come back from a 10-point deficit and win on Arron Afflalo’s buzzer-beating jumper Jan. 13. That they outplayed UCLA for most of the game has the Trojans believing they can win at Pauley, where they have a pair of 21-point defeats the past two seasons.