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Last-place USC beats short-handed Washington

Posted: February 28, 2015 10:40 p.m.
Updated: February 28, 2015 10:40 p.m.
Washington guard Darin Johnson, right, ties to shoot around USC forward Darion Clark during the first half on Saturday in Los Angeles. Washington guard Darin Johnson, right, ties to shoot around USC forward Darion Clark during the first half on Saturday in Los Angeles.
Washington guard Darin Johnson, right, ties to shoot around USC forward Darion Clark during the first half on Saturday in Los Angeles.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Playing its final home game of the season, Southern California didn't honor any seniors. The Trojans don't have any.

That lack of experience has cost the last-place Trojans plenty and it's reflected in their record. They start three freshmen and two sophomores, but the youngsters were good enough to beat short-handed Washington 70-55 Saturday night.

"It was a big win because it's a confidence boost," said Nikola Jovanovic, who scored 15 of his 16 points in the second half for the Trojans in the matchup of the worst teams in the Pac-12.

Elijah Stewart added 14 points and nine rebounds for the Trojans (11-18, 3-14 Pac-12), who snapped a three-game skid while winning one more league game than they did last season. Katin Reinhardt had 11 points and Julian Jacobs had eight points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.

"We wanted to give them something to look forward to next year," Jacobs said about getting a win in front of the high-energy crowd of 5,529.

Andrew Andrews scored 19 points and Quevyn Winters added a career-high 16 points and equaled his career best with four 3-pointers off the bench for the Huskies (15-13, 4-12), who are 1-9 in their last 10 games.

Washington played without injured starters Nigel Williams-Goss and Shawn Kemp Jr. Williams-Goss, the Huskies' scoring leader at 15.4 points and the Pac-12 assist leader at 6.1, twisted his ankle in a loss to UCLA three days earlier. Kemp has been out with a concussion.

"The outcome had nothing to do with Nigel Williams-Goss or Shawn Kemp being out. Not the way we played," Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar said. "There were mistakes that we made out there that we should know how to execute in our sleep with the season almost being over. We didn't do it at all."

The Huskies were playing their third road game in seven days.

"It's been a long road trip. We're a little fatigued because we're short some guys," Winters said. "My teammates did a good job getting me the ball. I just wanted to be come out and be aggressive as possible."

USC took command with an 18-7 run to open the second half, when the Trojans shot 59 percent. Jovanovic scored the Trojans' first eight points, capped by a fast break dunk. He added another basket, and they got 3-pointers from Malik Marquetti and Stewart, extending their lead to 45-29.

"Nikola was aggressive and he rebounded the ball," USC coach Andy Enfield said. "When we got him the ball in the post he was able to finish. That's as well as he's played in a while."

The Huskies used 3-point shooting to close within nine, getting two straight long-range baskets from Winters and another by Andrews to trail 49-40. They never got within single digits the rest of the way.

"We didn't box out, we didn't play the post the way we were supposed to play the post," Romar said. "It was a number of things. There were too many breakdowns to cut into their lead."

With one game left in the regular season, the Trojans have a slim chance of climbing out of last place if they can beat UCLA next week and get some help from 11th-place Washington, which has two games left. USC had lost 12 of its previous 13 before gaining the weekend split.

Neither team shot better than 31 percent in the first half, when the Trojans led by 12. They raced to a 14-2 lead to start the game as the Huskies missed their first nine shots.

Winters sparked Washington, scoring 10 points in a 20-7 run that gave the Huskies their only lead of the half, 22-21. Winters opened and closed his burst with 3-pointers and Andrews added another one.

The Trojans scored the final six points of the half to lead 27-22 at the break.


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