Trojans Escape With Narrow Victory

Dec. 9, 2000

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) - David Bluthenthal's rebound basket with 5.4seconds left helped lead No. 12 Southern California to a 75-73 victory over UCSanta Barbara on Saturday night.

Bluthenthal, who had 25 points and 12 rebounds, put back Tyler Murphy's long3-point attempt to lead the Trojans (6-0) to the victory. Bluthenthal's putbackwas USC's only basket in the final 2:48.

UC Santa Barbara (2-5), which played in overtime in three home games thisseason, was poised to go into overtime again Saturday, but Jacoby Atako'sdriving shot missed and Mike Vukovich's follow slam caromed off the rim.

Vukovich, a 6-foot-9 junior forward, scored a career-high 18 points, whichincluded two free throws with 19.2 seconds remaining to tie it at 73.

The Gauchos trailed by as many as 14 in the first half, and were trailing32-26 at halftime, but went on a 12-0 run early in the second half to surge toa 40-35 lead.

Mark Hull, held scoreless through the first half, sank consecutive3-pointers to fuel UC Santa Barbara's rally.

The Gauchos went on a late 13-1 run, getting 3-pointers from freshman NickJones and Hull with 49.3 seconds to pull to 73-71. Hull finished with 15points.

The Trojans' press forced six Gauchos turnovers in the first four minutes.USC also made three quick 3-pointers and got a three-point play by Sam Clancyto take a 12-0 lead with 15:29 left in the first half. Clancy, who scored 16 ofhis 19 points in the second half, helped put USC ahead 61-50 with 6:27 to go.

Brandon Granville sank his first four tries from 3-point range to give USCits biggest lead of the first half at 18-4. He finished with 18 points and sixassists.

Freshman backup forward Casey Cook scored eight quick points midway throughthe first half to help UC Santa Barbara go on a 12-1 run, trimming the Trojans'lead to 19-16.

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