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USC 89, Arizona 78

The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- Senior forward Eric Wise scored a season-high 22 points to lead a hot-shooting USC team to an 89-78 victory over 11th-ranked Arizona at the Galen Center in Los Angeles on Wednesday night.

Wise, in his only season of eligibility at USC after transferring from UC Irvine, made 9 of 12 shots, often attacking the basket off the dribble. His previous season high was 19 points.

USC made 61.1 percent of its shots (33 of 54), including 6 of 10 from 3-point range. The Trojans (13-15 overall, 8-7) improved to 6-5 under interim coach Bob Cantu, who took over for fired Kevin O'Neill.

Arizona (23-5, 11-5) lost to a team with a losing record for the first time this season and fell out of a first-place tie in the conference with Oregon.

Wise led five USC players in double figures. Byron Wesley had 18 points and J.T. Terrell added 14. Point guard Jio Fontan had 12 points and nine assists, and Aaron Fuller also scored 12.

Solomon Hill led Arizona with 21 points. Kevin Parrom had 16, and point guard Mark Lyons scored 14 despite a 1 of 9 shooting night. He was 12 of 16 from the free-throw line.

USC led 42-36 at halftime and came out of the locker room on a 9-2 run to take a 13-point edge with 18:05 to play. Arizona twice trimmed the lead to four points, the last time at 62-58 with 11:20 to go. But the Trojans answered with a 7-0 run, capped by a 3-pointer by Terrell.

Arizona coach Sean Miller, who plays man-to-man defense almost exclusively, switched to a 2-3 zone with about eight minutes left in an effort to slow the Trojans down. But Wise busted the zone with a couple of shots in the lane, helping the Trojans protect their lead.

USC made all 12 of its free throw attempts in the final four minutes.

Wise, a burly and agile 6-foot-6, 240-pound forward, was a tough matchup early for Arizona, outscoring the Wildcats 7-5 at the start. Wise set the tone, as USC scored with ease on the interior through the first half, even with starting center Dewayne Dedmon in foul trouble and playing only four minutes.

Backup Omar Oraby, who missed practice Monday because of flu symptoms, made both of his shots and had seven rebounds in the half. USC shot 58.1 percent (18 of 31) in taking a 42-36 halftime lead that could have been larger if not for 10 turnovers. Wise led USC with 11 first-half points.

The game was tied at 18 before the Trojans started to sizzle from the outside. Byron Wesley broke the deadlock with a 3-pointer, and when Fontan hit from beyond the arc with 7:19 to go in the half, USC led 30-22.

Wesley's 3-pointer gave the Trojans their largest lead of the half at 40-30 with 2:55 to go, but the Wildcats finished the half on a small run, behind Hill's offense and defense. He scored 12 points in the half and had two last-minute steals.

NOTES: USC junior forward Ari Stewart missed his fourth consecutive game because of a fractured left thumb. He might be able to return next week when the Trojans finish the regular season with a trip to the Washington schools. ... Arizona plays at 6 p.m. Saturday at UCLA, which ESPN will telecast. The ESPN GameDay crew will be on hand.
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