Wildcats Fall To USC, 99-90
Jan 16, 2004
By JOHN NADEL
AP Sports Writer
LOS ANGELES - Desmon Farmer was in a zone Thursday night, to the point where USC coach Henry Bibby just wanted the rest of the Trojans to stay out of his way.
Farmer scored a career-high 40 points while attempting only 19 shots and USC led nearly all the way in a 99-90 upset over No. 7 Arizona.
'When he's shooting like that, everybody else just has to stand and watch,' Bibby said. 'He's making shots nobody else can. It's one of the best individual performances I've seen since I've been here.
'I wanted to kick him out of practice three times this week. Des is the kind of kid who can bounce back.'
Farmer's point total tied for the fifth-highest in school history and is the most since Harold Miner scored 43 in 1991.
It was also the most in the Pac-10 this season.
'It was going tonight - guys were looking for me,' said Farmer, who was 11-of-19 from the field, including 7-of-11 from 3-point range, and 11-of-12 from the free throw line. 'When somebody's got it going on, it opens things up for other people.'
When asked if it was his best game, Farmer replied: 'College, yeah. My younger days, I had some performances.'
The loss was the second straight for the Wildcats (10-3, 2-2 Pac-10), who were beaten by No. 3 Stanford 82-72 last Saturday.
The win was USC's fifth in the last eight games between the teams at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, and the loss snapped Arizona's 10-game conference road winning streak.
USC (8-6, 3-2) went ahead for good in the opening 4 minutes, but led by only five points before Farmer outscored the Wildcats 8-3 by himself in a 59-second span for an 81-71 lead with 5:36 remaining.
Arizona didn't pose a serious threat after that, and the Sports Arena crowd began a chant of 'Over-rated, over-rated' in the final minute.
Farmer, a 6-foot-5 senior, surpassed his previous career high of 35 points when he made a free throw with 3:19 remaining to give the Trojans an 85-74 lead.
'He had an unbelievable game,' Arizona coach Lute Olson said. 'I thought even when we were doing a good job on him, he seemed to be able to get the shot off or go to the basket.
'He's constant motion. He played 40 minutes and it looked like he could have played another 40.'
Errick Craven added 16 points and his brother, Derrick, scored 12 for the Trojans. Gregg Guenther had 11 points and 11 rebounds, leading USC to a 42-26 rebounding advantage.
Channing Frye led with Wildcats with 17 points and six rebounds. Salim Stoudamire and Mustafa Shakur added 14 points each and Andre Iguodala had 12 points and eight rebounds. Hassan Adams, Arizona's leading scorer, was held to 11 points.
'The team that played the hardest and the team that was the tougher of the two won the game,' Olson said. 'They were more aggressive defensively.'
The inconsistent Trojans rebounded from a 76-61 loss at Washington State. They haven't lost as many as two straight games all season.
'You've got to come in and play every night, that's the way the Pac-10 is this year,' Bibby said. 'I thought we got a lot of easy baskets.
'We played defense, we made them shoot over the top. They didn't shoot well tonight.'
USC shot 34-of-65 (52.3 percent) while Arizona was 26-of-63 (41.3 percent), including 8-of-30 from 3-point range.
The loss deprived the 69-year-old Olson from becoming the winningest coach in Arizona history for the second straight game.
The Wildcats have a 509-150 record in Olson's 20-plus seasons as their coach. They were 509-324 in 36 years under Fred A. Enke.
Farmer was held scoreless in the second half until he made a layup with 9:03 remaining, capping a 5-0 run and giving the Trojans a 71-62 lead.
The Wildcats drew within five points before Farmer put them away.
The Trojans scored nine straight points for a 16-9 lead, and they led the rest of the way.
Arizona drew within two points on two baskets by Frye before two 3-pointers by Farmer and another by Derrick Craven put USC ahead 29-18.
Arizona drew within two points again before Farmer made another 3-pointer to trigger a 9-1 run, making it 40-30.
The Wildcats outscored USC 8-2 to finish the first half to cut the Trojans' lead to 48-43.
Farmer had 23 points at that stage, well above the 17.7-point average he brought into the game, and the Trojans had a 29-12 rebounding advantage, including 14 at the offensive end.
USC freshman Lodrick Stewart, averaging 9.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and a team-leading 2.2 steals, was suspended for the game by Bibby. No reason was given.