Washington rallies from 22 down to beat USC 87-85
SEATTLE (AP) — From either perspective, the game turned on the injured ankle of USC junior guard Julian Jacobs.
Andrew Andrews hit a go-ahead putback with 25 seconds left as Washington erased a 22-point second-half deficit and rallied for an improbable 87-85 victory over USC in a Pac-12 game on Sunday.
The Huskies (10-4, 2-0) trailed 66-44 with 14:18 left before coming back against the Trojans (12-3, 1-1), who had won seven straight but played the final 16 minutes without Jacobs, who sprained his left ankle.
“That was probably the defining moment for their team, because that kind of slowed them down,” said Andrews, the lone senior in a starting lineup that includes four freshmen.
Even without Jacobs, USC still was in position to escape, taking an 85-78 lead on a layup by Nikola Jovanovic with 2:12 left but the Huskies answered with eight straight points, taking an 86-85 lead on Andrew’s basket.
After Elijah Stewart missed for USC with seven seconds left, Andrews was fouled on the rebound and made the second of two free throws to make it 87-85 with 4.2 seconds left.
Katin Reinhardt missed an off-balance jumper with one second left and Stewart’s potential tying putback was ruled after the buzzer upon review.
Dejounte Murray had a career-high 29 points for the Huskies, including 19 in the second half, and Andrews added 24.
Bennie Boatwright, Jacobs and Jordan McLaughlin each had 15 points for the Trojans.
“After Julian Jacobs was injured, we had trouble with their pressure, with the full-court press,” USC coach Andy Enfield said. “They sped the game up and that’s fine when we have Julian in the game, because that’s how he likes to play. When he was playing, we were controlling the tempo.”
USC, which led 46-36 at the half, pushed the margin to 66-44 on Reinhardt’s jumper from the top of the key with 14:18 remaining. Washington responded with 12 consecutive points, pulling within 66-56 on Matisse Thybulle’s 3-pointer with 10:19 left.
After Boatwright hit a 3-pointer, the Huskies continued their surge, cutting the lead to 71-68 on a 3-pointer by David Crisp with 7:02 remaining.
USC committed 12 of its 21 turnovers in the second half. Forced to take over the bulk of the ball-handling, McLaughlin was pressured into four second-half turnovers, including two in the final minute.
“When he (Jacobs) went down, we were able to kind of corral McLaughlin and get someone else to bring it up and not get them into the offense, and that’s how we turned up the tempo of the game when they kind of wanted to slow it down,” Andrews said.
The second-half comeback countered a cold-shooting first half by the Huskies, coming off a 96-93 victory over UCLA in double overtime on Friday.
“I don’t know if it was the emotion of the double-overtime game the other night but we were just flat,” said Washington coach Lorenzo Romar, whose team has forced double-digit turnovers in every game this season, including 25 against UCLA. “We were a step slow defensively. Now USC is good and they will exploit you if you are a step slow, but we were a step slow on the defensive end.”
After Andrews pulled the Huskies with 21-17 with a 3-pointer with 12:32 left in the half, the Trojans boosted the lead to double digits as Washington missed 14 consecutive field-goal attempts over a span of 10:29.
Malik Dime ended the drought with a layup with 2:03 left and completed the 3-point play to make 42-32.
The Huskies, who made just 9 of 36 shots in the first half and had just five assists, stayed as close as they did because of their free-throw shooting. USC was called for its 10th team foul with 5:42 left and the Huskies scored 14 of their final 19 points from the line.
USC: Although Jacobs scored 12 points in the 90-77 victory at Washington State on Friday, he had missed three of four games prior to that with tendinitis in his left Achilles. Jacobs was wearing a protective boot on his ankle after Sunday’s game.
Washington: The Huskies now take to the road for three games after finishing an eight-game homestand.
The victory was the first time Washington has overcome a 20-point deficit under Romar.
USC hosts Arizona State on Thursday night.
Washington is at Washington State on Saturday afternoon.