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January 19, 2007

No. 11 Arizona continues skid, falls to USC

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LOS ANGELES -Nick Young had 30 points and eight rebounds and Southern California beat No. 11 Arizona 80-73 on Thursday night, handing the Wildcats their second consecutive loss and third in four games.

Arizona lost to Washington State last week to snap a 12-game winning streak, and lost to then-No. 15 Oregon on Sunday.

The Trojans (14-5, 4-2 Pac-10) came back from a last-second loss on Saturday to then-No. 4 UCLA to beat their fourth ranked opponent of the season.

They have beaten Arizona (13-4, 4-3) in seven of 11 meetings in Los Angeles.

Young went 13-for-19 from the field, throwing fakes, tossing up fallaways and yanking down rebounds at key moments throughout the game.

Lodrick Stewart had 18 points and Gabe Pruitt scored 16 for the Trojans.

Mustafa Shakur and Marcus Williams led Arizona with 19 points apiece. Both had eight rebounds. Ivan Radenovic added 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Trailing by two, USC went on a 15-3 run early in the second half to take a lead it wouldn't give up. Young scored six points during the run, including a dunk that made it 54-44 with 10:50 remaining.

Arizona crept back, pulling within two after a three-point play from Ivan Radenovic, but a 3-pointer from Keith Wilkinson and Young's jumper gave USC a 71-64 lead with 3:20 to go.

Young then got a goaltending call on a bad miss to put the Trojans up 73-67, and made two free throws in the final minute to put USC up 75-69.

USC's Taj Gibson missed three of four free throws in the final minute that kept the crowd nervous, but Gabe Pruitt made a pair with 16 seconds remaining to seal the win for the Trojans.

The Trojans held an Arizona team averaging 51.2 percent from the field to just 38.3 percent. USC shot 53.3 percent.

USC has made a specialty of knocking off ranked teams, beating No. 16 Oregon on Jan. 4, No. 14 Washington on Dec. 28 and No. 8 Wichita State on Dec. 23.

Few of those victories were as resounding as Thursday's win, with the Trojans taking the lead with a strong run to end the first half and giving up the lead just once in the second half.

Chase Budinger's 3-pointer and two free throws from Jawann McClellan gave Arizona a 14-6 lead to open the game. Budinger finished with 14 points.

USC responded with a 12-4 run that featured two 3-pointers from Stewart and a jumper and a dunk from Gibson to tie it at 18. Stewart went 3-for-5 from behind the arc and scored 11 points in the first half.

The Trojans took their first lead 29-28 on Pruitt's 3 with 3:15 to play in the half, and Young hit a fallaway tip-in at the buzzer to put the Trojans up 33-29 at halftime.

For more coverage of Arizona, visit GOAZCATS.com; for more on USC, visit USCFootball.com.



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