Trojans Knock Off Sun Devils, 61-49

Jan. 15, 2009

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Freshman DeMar DeRozan scored 19 of his career-high 22 points in the second half, and Southern California overcame a dreadful start to beat No. 16 Arizona State 61-49 Thursday night.

Dwight Lewis added 18 points and Taj Gibson had 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Trojans (11-5, 2-2), who snapped a two-game losing streak and raised their record at home to 9-1. DeRozan shot 8-of-13 and also had eight rebounds.

ASU's James Harden, a 6-foot-5 sophomore averaging a conference-leading 23.1 points, was held to a career-low four points by Daniel Hackett. Harden missed all eight of his field goal attempts and went 4-of-7 from the foul line.

Hackett, averaging 11.1 points, scored four and had six assists.

Rihards Kuksiks led ASU (14-3, 3-2) with 16 points. He shot 4-of-6 from 3-point range, making him 22-of-33 from beyond the arc in his last seven games.

Jeff Pendergraph and Derek Glasser added 13 points each for the Sun Devils, who lost for just the second time in 12 games and for the eighth straight time in Los Angeles dating back to 2006 - three losses at USC, two at UCLA and three more in the Pac-10 tournament at Staples Center.

Lewis, averaging 15.3 points entering the game but held out of the starting lineup for the first time this season, scored eight points during a 10-2 run to begin the second half to give the Trojans a 29-28 lead - their first of the game.

Harden, who grew up in the Los Angeles area, scored his first points with 7:43 remaining on two free throws, giving ASU a 40-39 lead.

But a foul shot by Gibson, a 3-pointer by Keith Wilkinson, a three-point play by DeRozan and a dunk by Gibson gave the Trojans an eight-point lead with 5:25 to play. DeRozan later scored five straight USC points including his first 3-pointer of the season to make it 53-43, and ASU didn't threaten after that.

The Sun Devils led 26-19 at halftime despite the fact that Harden didn't score, missing his only shot. Kuksiks took up some of the slack by making 4-of-5 from beyond 3-point range for 12 points. The defenses dominated, with ASU shooting just 39.1 percent and committing 10 turnovers while USC shot 29.2 percent and turned the ball over nine times. The Trojans wound up shooting 41.7 percent with 12 turnovers while ASU shot just 34.1 percent with 15 turnovers.

The Trojans shot 1-for-12 and committed seven turnovers in the first 11 minutes. The Sun Devils led 13-4 at that stage thanks in part to two 3-pointers by Glasser and another by Kuksiks.

Lewis made two 3-pointers during an 8-2 run that moved the Trojans within three points, but Kuksiks outscored the Trojans 9-2 by himself on three 3-pointers, giving the Sun Devils a 24-14 lead - largest of the game for either team until the final two minutes.

Gibson, a 6-foot-9 junior, became the fourth Pac-10 player to block at least 200 shots in his career when he got one in the first half. He joined Anthony Cook of Arizona (1986-89), who had 278 blocks, Channing Frye of Arizona (2002-05), who had 258, and Michael Stewart of California (1994-97), who had 207.

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