Sharp shooting USC prevails over Arizona
Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Southern California has been a season-long enigma.
The quality club appeared on Wednesday night, leaving No. 11 Arizona in the dust.
Eric Wise scored 22 points and Byron Wesley contributed to the balanced attack with 18, as USC downed the Wildcats, 89-78, at the Galen Center.
After three losses in four games, USC ripped off four straight wins, including an overtime victory at UCLA, before dropping the two games prior to Wednesday's home date with Arizona.
The Trojans (13-15, 8-7 Pac-12) made only 35 percent of their shots in a 75-59 loss to UCLA last time out, but the normally inefficient outfit made 61.1 percent of their attempts Wednesday.
J.T. Terrell was 5-of-8 shooting for 14 points, Jio Fontan made 5-of-11 shots for 12 points with nine assists and Aaron Fuller missed only once in six attempts for 12 points off the bench.
Solomon Hill led Arizona (23-5, 11-5) with 21 points, six assists and five steals, while Kevin Parrom donated 16 points and Mark Lyons added 14 in the loss. Lyons did most of his damage from the foul line, as he shot just 1-for-9. The Wildcats saw their three-game winning streak come to an end.
The two teams exchanged blows, and leads, in the first 11-plus minutes with Nick Johnson's layup in transition pulling the visiting Wildcats within 23-22 with just nine minutes to go in the first half.
At that point, the Trojans began to gain some breathing room, stretching the margin to 30-22 on Fontan's trey with 7:17 showing on the clock. Wesley's three-pointer gave USC a double-digit advantage at 40-30, and the Trojans took a 42-36 edge into the locker room.
It was an uphill battle for the Wildcats throughout the second half, as they fell behind 51-38 after Terrell's trey and Fontan's layup. They got the deficit down to four points at 60-56 on Jordin Mayes' trey, but USC responded to each rally, reclaiming the comfortable lead at 69-58 after another Terrell 3-pointer.
Arizona challenged one last time, pulling within 77-71 after Hill made a pair from the charity stripe with just over three minutes to go, but the margin was soon back to 10, and USC held on for its biggest win of the season.
Arizona rolled past USC in the first meeting this season, 74-50 ... USC improved to 9-6 at home this season ... USC made just 42.6 percent of its shots per game entering Wednesday ... Arizona still leads the all-time series, 61-41.
02/28 00:00:27 ET