USC Squeezes Out ASU, 81-73

Jan. 19, 2002

By MEL REISNER
AP Sports Writer

TEMPE, Ariz. - Sam Clancy likes to play inside, and that's where he didhis damage against Arizona State.

Clancy had 20 points and 12 rebounds as No. 18 Southern California gained asplit on its annual trip to the desert by beating Arizona State 81-73 Saturdaynight.

The Trojans (14-3, 6-1 Pac-10) had won nine straight before a 97-80 loss atArizona on Thursday. But they kept a share of the conference lead by beatingthe Sun Devils (10-7, 3-5) for the seventh time in eight meetings.

'We bounced back very well,' USC coach Henry Bibby said. 'That was aconcern of mine because we hadn't had a setback like we did at Arizona, wehadn't had a game of that magnitude and lost, but it was nice to see thecomeback.'

Brandon Granville had 21 points, David Blumenthal added 13 and Errick Craven12 for USC, which led for all but 5{ minutes of the second half.

Chad Prewitt had 21 points and 12 rebounds for the Sun Devils, Tommy Smithhad 18 points and 10 rebounds and Kenny Crandall scored 12 points, only one inthe second half.

'Our free-throw shooting was just horrendous,' coach Rob Evans said aboutArizona State's 18-of-34 performance. 'It's something we're going to work onevery day in practice. We missed our free throws, they made theirs and that'sthe ballgame.'

USC wasted a 13-point lead in the first half because of what Clancy said wassenseless perimeter shooting.

'We shot 3s at certain times when I didn't think we exactly needed to shoota 3-point shot,' he said. 'Especially when they aren't falling. I could seeit if we're hitting every shot, but not when you're bricking every shot.'

At the end, the game turned into free-throw contest, dooming Arizona State.The Sun Devils also had 19 turnovers two days after a season-low seven in athree-point loss to UCLA.

'We could deal with that,' Prewitt said. 'But compounding the turnoverswould be the free throws and then not boxing out and getting rebounds. Itcompounds into us losing.'

Clancy, who had his ninth double-double of the season and 27th of hiscareer, also had five blocks and three steals, the last with 33 secondsremaining and the Trojans up, 75-70.

He was fouled and missed his free throw, but Blumenthal made four andGranville two over the last 26 seconds.

'I got to the line more tonight,' said Granville, who was 11-of-11 as USCshot 22-of-26. 'We knew if we kept the lead they'd have to get a lot of fouls,and that would run the clock down at the end, so it kind of played to ouradvantage.'

Granville made a 3-pointer, Blumenthal had a tip-in and Clancy sank a16-footer in a key 1:40 span late in the game. The 7-0 spurt gave the Trojans a69-59 lead with 5:15 to go.

Prewitt made a 3-pointer 38 seconds into the game, but Kostas Charissis hadtwo tip-ins and Granville made five free throws as the Trojans outscoredArizona State 15-2 in the next 3:39.

The Sun Devils got within 24-21 on a 19-footer by Prewitt with 10:47 left inthe first half, but USC's press forced two turnovers during a 10-0 surge.

Another rally got Arizona State within 41-39 at halftime, and Prewitt tiedit on a layup 1:08 into the second half.

From that point, no more than three points separated the teams through fourties and six lead changes until Desmon Farmer made a 3-pointer with 8:27 to go,giving the Trojans a 62-56 lead.

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