USC 82, Arizona St. 71
LOS ANGELES (AP)—Nick Young scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half and Southern California beat Arizona State 82-71 Saturday night.
The victory snapped a five-game losing streak for the Trojans—just as their 98-94 victory at Tempe did on Jan. 14. But the Trojans are still last in the conference, 1 1/2 games behind Oregon, and are in danger of finishing at the bottom of the Pac-10 for the first time since 1995.
USC (10-14, 3-10 Pac-10) was 10-for-18 from 3-point range against a defense that had held opponents to a cumulative .296 percentage from behind the arc— the lowest percentage in the Pac-10. The Trojans entered the game averaging a conference-leading 7.61 3-point baskets against all opponents.
It’s the first time the Sun Devils (16-9, 5-8 Pac-10) have been swept by both USC and UCLA since the 2000-01 season, and the eighth time since Arizona State joined the conference in 1978-79.
Steve Moore, whose eight 3-pointers in Thursday’s 95-76 loss at UCLA were just two shy of Stevin Smith’s school record, led Arizona State with 19 points after scoring a career-high 31 against the Bruins. Last season, Moore totaled just 17 points during the Sun Devils’ two-game trip to Los Angeles.
Kevin Kruger had 17 points for the Sun Devils. Ike Diogu, the Pac-10 scoring and rebounding leader, had 12 points and six boards. He has scored in double digits in all of his 84 collegiate games.
Young, who picked up two fouls in the first 4:52 and played only five minutes in the first half, scored 10 points during a 7-minute stretch to help increase USC’s three-point halftime lead to 58-48 with 11:04 to play.
The Sun Devils cut the margin to seven midway through the second half on Moore’s 49th 3-pointer of the campaign, which eclipsed last season’s total. The Trojans increased the margin to 11 points 36 seconds later on a layup by Rory O’Neil.
Arizona State responded with an 11-4 run, capped by three free throws by Kruger, who was fouled by Young on a 3-point attempt with 3:23 remaining. But four points was as close as the Sun Devils got, as Lodrick Stewart and Gabriel Pruitt drained 3-pointers and the Trojans clinched it at the free throw line.
After Dwayne Shackleford’s 3-pointer gave the Trojans their only double-digit lead of the first half, 27-17, Kruger scored his first nine points in the final 5:22 of the half to help narrow the gap to 40-37 by intermission.
Playing in front of a sparse crowd that included Memphis Grizzlies president Jerry West, Diogu had four points, four rebounds and three turnovers before picking up his third foul on an offensive charge with 3:09 left in the half. The Pac-10 scoring and rebounding leader averaged 13.5 points in the two games against USC.
The Trojans are 8-12 since Henry Bibby was fired as head coach on Dec. 6.