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Cats Lose Control and the Game, 80-75
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 02/16/2007
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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TUCSON?-Forty minutes of back-and-forth play came down to the final three-plus minutes and No. 22 Southern California took better care of the ball, shot better down that stretch and escaped from McKale with an 80-75 victory over No. 19 Arizona.

 

After a one-point lead, 73-72, with 3:23 remaining, Arizona scored only two points the rest of the way out, while the Trojans used a battery of weapons to take the game.

 

Lodrick Stewart and Nick Young put up 26 points each, and with 17 from Gabe Pruitt had more than enough for the Wildcats’ defense to try to solve.

 

Arizona was led by Chase Budinger with 19 points and Mustafa Shakur with 16. Ivan Radenovic added 11 and Marcus Williams 10. USC’s pressure defense neutralized UA’s center, Jordan Hill, who had six. Williams, who had seven turnovers, fouled out in the waning moments. The Trojans

 

The Trojans improved to 19-7 overall and 9-4 in Pac-10 play, while Arizona dropped to 17-8 and 8-6. USC maintained third place in the standings, while UA enters the weekend in the middle of the mix.

 

Stewart hit 11 of 15 shots, while Young -- who had torched UA for 30 in the Galen Center last month in Los Angeles, made nine of his 13 shots. A normally patient team that gets itself to the free throw line, Arizona had only 7 of 10 bonus shots to USC's 11 for 19.

 

Pruitt’s free throw put USC up for only the second time in the half, 72-71, with 3:37 left. But his foul at the other end gave Chase Budinger two from the line and he made both for that brief Wildcat lead.

 

Stewart hit a jumper to put USC back on top and after a Williams turnover, Nick Young hit a shot to put USC up 77-73 at the 2:26 mark.

 

Both teams missed opportunities and the Cats called timeout with the ball, trailing by that score with 1:27 left.

 

Shakur’s lob inside was intercepted by Pruitt, and the Cats had to foul, sending Pruitt to the line. He made both and USC had the game in hand, 79-73.

 

UA went from the 3:23 mark until Shakur’s layup at 1:02 without a score, putting the Cats within four, 79-75. SC ran off nearly a full shot clock before Daniel Hackett threw the ball out of bounds to give UA some life.

 

But Arizona missed a pair of shots by Shakur and Budinger, and Budinger had to foul with five seconds left. Nick Young hit the first free throw for the final score.

 

The second half’s early going was a mirror of the first.

 

Shakur opened the period with a three-pointer to give Arizona a six-point lead, but Pruitt answered twenty seconds later with one of his own. After a pair of turnovers, Williams got inside for Arizona and a layin and a five-point lead, 43-38.

 

Less than two minutes later it was Arizona 49-47 at the 16-minute mark after a flurry of shots helped USC close again. Young hit two jumpers, one from three-point range, and Pruitt and Stewart got inside the paint for easy scores to answer scores by UA’s Hill, Budinger and Williams.

 

Radenovic hit a jumper and the pace ramped up for several minutes, but neither team put up points, with UA getting a pair of blocked shots from Budinger and Williams, and USC stopping things with rebounding. Stewart’s jumper at 14:11 made it a two-point game again. And a minute later, he hit a pair of free throws to tie the game at 51.

 

Shakur hit a jump shot, and Budinger’s three stretched it back to a five-point margin, but  Pruitt dunked. Shakur hit another jumper to make it 58-53. Hackett hit a tough shot for the Trojans to pull within three, but Radenovic answered with a close-in leaner.

 

USC coach Tim Floyd saw enough a brief moment later when Budinger took a Shakur pass on the break and slammed home two to make it 62-55 at the 11:28 mark. He called timeout.  The Trojans ran a play as requested and Stewart popped in a jumper to keep it within five points at the second media timeout, 11:13.

 

USC wasn’t rattled, and Hackett hit a three-pointer. After a UA miss, Stewart drove for the tying bucket at 9:07, 62-62.

 

After a Jawann McClellan jumper, Pruitt hit another three to put USC on top for the first time in the half, 65-64, and it lasted until a 7:55 media break.

 

Budinger nailed a trey a minute later to put UA back on top, but Stewart drove the lane to tie. Radenovic got to the line on a foul by Keith Wilkinson and put UA back up with one make. The Cats got a stop, and McClellan came through with a three-pointer to make it a four-point game with just under six minutes to play, 71-67.

 

UA got another stop, and but after an Olson 30-second timeout Williams had a turnover that led to a dunk by Young to trim it to two. Another UA turnover by Hill led to a Dwight Lewis breakaway layup and a tie game, 71-71, with 4:20 to play.

....

There were seven lead changes in the first half, with Arizona enjoying the only real space, but even that was short-lived and the half was played as close as might be expected of two ranked teams.

 

Neither team hit much of anything in the early going until Young hit the second of two free throws for USC at the 17:50 mark. Arizona had two turnovers at that point and was 0-for-2 from the field.

 

Radenovic hit a bucket to put UA on the scoreboard, and Taj Gibson answered for USC. The Cats missed their next two shots and USC got to the line again, with Pruitt hitting one free throw to make it 4-2 at the 16:11 mark.

 

Hill got inside for UA to knot the score, but Young got some slop inside to put the Trojans back on top, 6-4, before the first media timeout at 14:57.

 

Shakur fed Williams for a layup on the break, and after a USC turnover, Radenovic worked the drop-step inside to put UA up 8-6. Arizona got a stop on defense, and Shakur raced to the rim for a driving layup to make it 10-6 Arizona with just over 13 minutes left. Shakur’s jumper moments later made it a six-point game and USC coach Tim Floyd called time out at 12:44.

 

A skip pass from Gibson to Stewart earned USC an open jumper to trim the lead, and Stewart cut it to two with an inside move. But Budinger nailed a three-pointer to answer, then drove a moment later to put himself at the line, hitting both for a 17-10 Arizona lead at 10:17.

 

Budinger had a tip-in to give UA a nine-point lead another minute later, but Stewart drained a line-drive trey to make it 19-13, Young drove on a break for a layup, and Stewart hit a jumper to make it a two-point game in the space of a minute.

 

UA missed on its end and Young hit a three to put USC back on top, 20-19, with about seven and a half minutes left in the half. Shakur hit a three to put UA back up, but Young hit his 12th point with another three to make it 23-22 USC at a 6:53 timeout called by Arizona’s Lute Olson.

 

Daniel Dillon hit a three off the bench out of the timeout to put Arizona ahead. SC’s Stewart made one of two free throws to cut it to a one-point lead, but a second-chance bucket ?- another three ?- by Dillon pushed it back to a four-point spread, 28-24.

 

Hill hit a face-up eight-footer to make it six, but Young got an old-fashioned three-point play to keep it tight, 30-27, inside the five-minute mark.

 

After a steal by Budinger, UA turned it over with a charge by Williams, and Trojan Dwight Lewis’ drive made the gaffe hurt with a bucket to close to within one, 30-29.

 

Williams’ jumper kept UA ahead, but after a defensive rebound and a chance for some more breathing room for Arizona, USC’s Pruitt got a steal and a layup. Williams again scored for the Cats, and half a minute later Jawann McClellan hit a jumper to make it a five point lead, 36-31, with about a minute to play.

 

Stewart hit his 15th point to a moment later, and then Pruitt got another steal and layin to trim the lead to one. Arizona worked the ball and Radenovic got inside and was fouled, making both shots to put the half time score 38-35 in UA’s favor.

 

 

 

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