Arizona Loses Close Contest To USC, 94-89

Feb 16, 2002

AP Sports Writer

LOS ANGELES - David Bluthenthal scored 23 of his career-high 31 pointsin the second half, and Sam Clancy had 28 points and 11 rebounds Saturday asNo. 25 Southern California beat No. 9 Arizona 94-89.

Bluthenthal, who recently escaped coach Henry Bibby's doghouse, madeback-to-back 3-pointers to give USC an 81-77 lead with 3:17 remaining, and theTrojans were on top the rest of the way.

Bluthenthal had scored a total of 21 points in four games before coming offthe bench to score 21 in an 83-61 victory over Arizona State on Thursday night.

The 6-foot-7 senior returned to the starting lineup against Arizona, andcame through with a career game, making 12-of-19 shots including 7-of-12 from3-point range. He also had nine rebounds while playing all 40 minutes.

By winning for just the second time in their last 10 games against Arizona,the Trojans (18-7, 10-4 Pac-10) moved ahead of the Wildcats and into a firstplace tie in the conference.

Arizona (17-8, 10-5) suffered its second straight tough loss in Los Angeles.The Wildcats were beaten 77-76 by No. 20 UCLA on Thursday night.

Clancy's double-double was his 10th straight - longest such streak in thecountry.

Errick Craven added 14 points and Brandon Granville scored 12 - all in thesecond half - and had 11 assists for USC.

Jason Gardner led Arizona with 27 points, but was held scoreless for thefirst 14 minutes and didn't score after making a 3-pointer with 6:17remaining.

Luke Walton added 19 points, seven rebounds and 10 assists and Rick Andersonand Salim Stoudamire scored 18 for the Wildcats. Anderson's point total matchedhis career high, and he also had 11 rebounds.

A basket by Channing Frye gave Arizona a 77-75 lead before Bluthenthal madehis key 3-pointers.

Stoudamire's 3-pointer with 7.7 seconds cut USC's lead to 91-89 beforeGranville, who made 7-of-8 foul shots in the final 50 seconds, sank 1-of-2 togive the Trojans a three-point lead.

Gardner was called for traveling with 2.9 seconds to play, and Craven's dunkin the final second completed the scoring.

Bluthenthal made consecutive 3-pointers to cap a 15-6 USC run to begin thesecond half, putting the Trojans on top 57-51.

Then it was Arizona's turn, as Gardner's eight points sparked a 13-0 spurtin a little over three minutes that gave the Wildcats a 69-62 lead.

Craven's 3-pointer ended a five-minute USC scoring drought and triggered a9-0 run capped by Bluthenthal's 3-pointer that put the Trojans ahead 71-69 with6:43 left.

Arizona won a 97-80 decision when the teams met in Tucson last month,rolling to a 34-7 lead in handing the Trojans their most one-sided loss of theseason.

There would be no such fast start for the Wildcats in this game, althoughthey did take a 7-2 lead before USC went on an 11-2 run.

Aided by an effective press that forced several turnovers, the Trojansscored 11 straight points in a span of two minutes - the final six by Clancy -for a 26-15 lead.

Neither team made a field goal for nearly 4 minutes before Clancy'sbaseline jumper made it 30-18.

Stoudamire scored 19 seconds later for Arizona's first field goal in oversix minutes, and Gardner made a 3-pointer with 5:26 left in the half for hisfirst points of the game, triggering a 9-0 run by the Wildcats that cut USC'slead to 31-29.

Gardner made three more 3-pointers before halftime - the final one with fourseconds remaining to give Arizona a 45-42 lead.

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