The lead swelled to 10 points with under six to play on another Ayton alley-oop dunk supplied by Dusan Ristic.
But it won't be easy because the team standing in front of them is the Arizona Wildcats, the conference's regular-season champs.
The tale of the tape has the Wildcats winning, but USC wants to pull off something they have only done once: win a conference tournament title. A very talented team, with an agenda? The Bruins actually could be a major threat to top seeds, as they took Arizona to overtime after beating it in Tucson in the regular season.
After the Bruins defeated Stanford 88-77 in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 tournament Thursday afternoon, the UCLA postgame celebration could be heard throughout the bowels of T-Mobile Arena. Arizona scored just 13 second-chance points, but the extra possessions added up over time.
Which leads to Saturday. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. The trip to the conference tournament final appears to be enough for USC to make the NCAA Tournament.
TURNING POINT: A 14-0 Arizona run soon after CU lost McKinley Wright to an injury was the decisive stretch in the second half.
The Bruins were down three bodies before one jumper was shot.
It was Ayton that carried the Wildcats over the Bruins in the semifinals.
"So the rebounding advantage swinging our way was - that and guarding Aaron Holiday - was probably the two biggest things that helped us win".
Less than 24 hours before tip-off, Ayton had commanded the Trojans' attention. At the Trojans disposal is the six-foot-eleven junior, Chimezie Metu. Welsh already had 11 rebounds by halftime, almost outrebounding the Wildcats.
When asked how he would deal with Ayton, Metu first laughed.
George King had 19 points, and Lucas Siewart 16 for Colorado.
Arizona freshman Deandre Ayton has been named player and newcomer of the year on the All-Pac-12 Conference men's basketball team announced Tuesday by The Associated Press. Granted, they did play a tenth and sixth seed, but the Trojans were never in a spot of any worry, at all, in those games.
In the semifinals against OR on Friday night, USC had 20 turnovers. Oregon State scored just 48 points on 30.5 percent shooting. Arizona and USC stayed neck and neck for most of the first half, with seven lead changes and neither team getting up by more than four.
Great defense is pointless without the ability to capitalize on the other end. This was the result of a patient offense that did not settle for bad looks and made the most of their efforts. They took home one in 2009.
Compare that to Arizona's competition thus far. With the statement win over Stanford yesterday and going into OT with Arizona, UCLA might have given themselves the boost they need to get the invitation to the Big Dance. The Wildcats held the Buffaloes to an offensive rebounding percentage of 13.3 (below their season average of 29.8) and had a turnover percentage of 9.8 (better than their season average of 16.0). Though they were exhausted, it did not make a lot of sense to continually go for the outside shot. With that, USC should be able to get open looks down the court, when they don't, they must be patient and use all of the shot clock.