No. 21 Arizona 74, USC 63

Preview | Box Score | Recap

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP)—Mustafa Shakur made sure he didn’t have another scoreless—and sleepless—night.

The Arizona point guard, who played 26 minutes Thursday in a loss to UCLA, atoned with a 17-point, five-rebound performance that helped the 21st-ranked Wildcats beat Southern California 74-63 on Saturday.

“I tossed and turned a lot,” Shakur said about his quick improvement. “If I’d have just played, you know, even average defense and run the team the way I was supposed to, we’d have won easily—I think by seven or eight points. I was really upset with myself.”

Early on, the Wildcats (10-4, 3-1 Pac-10) seemed collectively unable to shake off their bad memories and needed to rally to take a two-point halftime lead.

But they awoke in time to avoid their first consecutive Pac-10 home losses since 1983-84 and beat the Trojans (11-4, 2-2) for the fifth straight time, ending USC’s perfect road record after three straight wins.

Hassan Adams had 16 points, Chris Rodgers scored 11, and Marcus Williams and Ivan Radenovic had 10 each.

“We had all of our starters in double figures, and all of them had at least three assists, which is fantastic,” coach Lute Olson said. “The good news is that we improved at both ends of the court with smarter shots and outstanding defense.”

Although the Wildcats had just three steals, they forced USC into 19 turnovers, several of the shot-clock variety.

“Everybody can play on offense,” Radenovic said. “The thing is, we want to play defense.”

Gabe Pruitt made five 3-pointers and had 19 points for USC, which hasn’t won in Tucson in 21 games since Jan. 17, 1985. Lodrick Stewart scored 16 and Nick Young had 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Arizona outscored the Trojans 15-6 in the first 4:59 of the second half, but didn’t get fired up until Radenovic, who had nine rebounds, picked up his second blocking foul of the half, when Ryan Francis hit him hard on a close call.

Francis ignored the boos and made two free throws to cut USC’s deficit to 40-36 with 16:07 left, but it woke up the Wildcats.

Rodgers made a 3-pointer 14 seconds later and Williams dunked and buried a 19-footer in a 25-second span for Arizona’s first double-digit lead, 47-36.

“The crowd kind of got to us,” Young said. “Overall, it was a good game. They’re at home, and they are supposed to hit most of their shots, and that’s what they did.”

The Wildcats led 57-41 after Rodgers capped a 17-5 run with another 3-pointer at the 10:31 mark, and the Trojans never got closer than eight after that.

“We didn’t play with a lot of poise in the second half,” USC coach Tim Floyd said. “Arizona has been able to do that to a lot of their opponents.”

The Wildcats, matched up with an equally quick and talented foe, were content to fire away from outside most of the first half, getting six of their first eight baskets from the perimeter on the way to an 18-11 lead.

USC responded with a 13-5 surge, taking a 24-23 lead on Keith Wilkinson’s 3-pointer, but Adams had a 3-pointer and a steal seconds later, passing to Shakur for a layup that gave the Wildcats a 28-24 lead.

The Trojans made another spurt, and it took Adams’ buzzer-beating layup to send Arizona to a 32-30 halftime lead.

“I think we’re still shocking a lot of people with how well we’re doing,” Pruitt said. “We were right in there in this game, too. We can play with any team in the Pac-10.”

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
N. Young N. Young
6-14,  13 Pts
10 Rebs, 2 Assists
I. Radenovic I. Radenovic
5-10,  10 Pts
9 Rebs, 4 Assists

Team Stat Leaders