Trojans Trounce Sun Devils, 83-61

Feb 14, 2002

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Southern California is in the thick of a crowded race forthe Pacific-10 title. The Trojans will probably need more big games from DavidBluthenthal if they hope to stay there.

Bluthenthal scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half and grabbed 10rebounds Thursday night, breaking out of a slump that cost him his startingspot and leading No. 25 USC to an 83-61 win over Arizona State.

'I just stayed positive and didn't get down on myself,' Bluthenthal said.'I got here early, and during warmups I was shooting well. I knew I was goingto have a good night.'

The 21 points matched Bluthenthal's total in the previous four games. Heshot 7-of-12, including 3-for-5 from 3-point range.

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

Sam Clancy had 19 points and 10 rebounds for USC, his ninth straightdouble-double to match the school record set by Ron Riley 30 years ago.

Southern California (17-6, 9-4) snapped a two-game losing streak and movedinto a five-way tie for second place in the Pac-10, just a half-game behindArizona.

The ninth-ranked Wildcats visit USC on Saturday.

There's no doubt both teams remember what happened in Arizona last month,when the Wildcats beat the Trojans 97-80 - USC's most lopsided loss of theseason.

'We have to play Arizona with more confidence,' Clancy said.

The Trojans never trailed Arizona State by more than two points and tookcontrol with a 13-2 run midway through the first half for a 25-13 lead.

USC led 34-21 at halftime, and clinched the victory when Bluthenthal scored11 points during a 13-0 run to make it 52-29 with 12:38 remaining.

The Sun Devils never got closer than 19 after that.

'We just had to pick it up,' Clancy said. 'We didn't play the first halfas well as we wanted to. The second half, we played well.'

USC blocked a season-high 10 shots, and Arizona State (13-10, 6-8) wasunable to contend with the Trojans' press, committing 19 turnovers.

'USC did a good job, but the problem we had was about us,' Sun Devilscoach Rob Evans said. 'We lost the lead early, then got some of our shotsblocked and then we started looking over our shoulder. We didn't attack thepress like you have to attack the press.'

Jason Braxton led the Sun Devils with 12 points. Chad Prewitt, who enteredaveraging 18 points, was held to five.

'He's had a lot of great nights for us, but we didn't do much to helphim,' Evans said.

Arizona State played without Awvee Storey, who was poked in the eye duringlast Saturday's 86-74 victory over Washington.

Storey, the Pac-10's leading rebounder last season, is expected to be outfor at least two weeks.

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