No. 25 Trojans Top Arizona State, 83-61

Feb 14, 2002

LOS ANGELES (AP) - David Bluthenthal emerged from a slump that cost him his starting job with his highest scoring game of the season.

Bluthenthal scored 21 points and had 10 rebounds as No. 25 Southern California beat Arizona State 83-61 Thursday night to move into a five-way tie for second place in the Pac-10 Conference.

'This is what Bluthenthal can do,' USC coach Henry Bibby said. 'If he plays like this, we can go a long way.'

Bluthenthal had 21 points in his last four games combined, and began play Thursday on the bench, with Jerry Dupree taking his spot in the starting lineup for Southern California (17-6, 9-4).

'I just stayed positive and didn't get down on myself,' said Bluthenthal, who first entered the game with 13:29 left in the first half. 'I just believed in my shot and wasn't afraid to take it.'

Jason Braxton scored 12 points to lead the Sun Devils (13-10, 6-8).

Arizona State trailed 34-21 at halftime and scored the first six points of the second half on two baskets by Braxton and two free throws by Curtis Millage.

Bluthenthal hit three 3-pointers and a layup as the Trojans used a 13-0 run to take a 52-29 lead with 12:39 remaining. Southern California led by at least 19 points for the rest of the game.

Sam Clancy had 19 points and 10 rebounds and Errick Craven added 14 points as the Trojans ended a two-game losing streak.

'USC did a good job, but the problem we had was about us,' Sun Devils coach Rob Evans said. 'We lost the lead early, then got some of our shots blocked and then we started looking over our shoulder.'

The Trojans blocked a season-high 10 shots.

Arizona State was unable to contend with USC's press, turning the ball over 19 times, five more than the Trojans.

'We didn't attack the press like you have to attack the press,' Evans said. 'We just didn't get it done.'

In the first half, Southern California used a 13-2 run over a 4:35 span to take a 25-13 lead midway through the first half. Clancy and Rory O'Neil each scored four points during the run, and Craven added a 3-pointer.

Bibby altered his normal starting lineup, citing slumps by Bluthenthal and Craven. Gennaro Busterna, a senior guard, got his first start as a Trojan in replacing Craven.

The Sun Devils played without forward Awvee Storey, who sustained a swollen left retina and a laceration of the lower left eyelid when he was poked in the eye during Saturday's 86-74 victory over Washington. Storey, the Pac-10's leading rebounder last season, is expected to be out for at least two weeks.

Clancy had a double-double for the ninth consecutive game, matching the longest such streak by a Trojan since Ron Riley did it in 1971-72.

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