Wildcats pull away in second half

Arizona was able to defeat USC 70-54 on Thursday night due in large part to the second half effort.

It may not have started well for Arizona, but the finish is all that matters, as the Wildcats defeated the Trojans 70-54 Thursday night at home.

USC jumped out to a 5-2 lead behind a basket by Byron Wesley and three-pointer by Garrett Jackson. A Maurice Jones three made it 8-2 before Solomon Hill answered with a three of his own. After another basket by Jackson, Turner scored four straight points and Arizona went into the timeout at 13:49 down 10-9.

After a three-point play by Jackson, Turner came up with a steal and a bucket to keep the USC lead to two. Two free throws by Jackson extended it to four and a two by Jesse Perry was answered by a three-pointer by Alexis Moore to give USC its biggest lead of the night. After a short jumper by Wesley, a three-pointer by Kyle Fogg forced the Trojans to call timeout up 20-16 with a little over nine minutes left in the half.

The Trojans came out of the timeout with four straight points that was chipped away at by a three-pointer from Fogg. However, the scoring for both teams shut down a bit and Sean Miller called timeout with a little under four minutes left as he was clearly frustrated. Out of the timeout, Nick Johnson hit a three and Fogg nailed a short jumper to tie the game at 24 with about 2:30 left.

With under a minute left, Turner came up with a steal and a dunk to give Arizona its first lead since 2-0 and then hit a floater at the buzzer, as the Wildcats went into the half up 28-24.

Arizona started the second half on a tear, as Turner hit two free throws, Fogg had a three-point play, and Johnson added a jumper. Those three plays were only answered by one bucket by the Trojans and USC called timeout less than two minutes into the second half, down 35-26. After an exchange of baskets, Hill came up with a three-point play to put Arizona up double digits with about 16 minutes left.

A few plays later, a three-pointer by Johnson gave Arizona the 13-point lead, but James Blasczyk hit a jumper to bring it right down to 11. After a Johnson free throw, Wesley tried to get something going for the Trojans, but Lavender responded with a three to make it 49-36 with 11:29 left. Less than a minute later, Turner found Angelo Chol on a fantastic pass and Chol hit the ensuing free-throw to give the Wildcats a 16-point lead.

After two free throws by Chol, Jackson and Jones gave USC two consecutive three-pointers to cut Arizona's lead to 54-44 with 7:17 left in the first half. Another basket by Jones brought the Trojans within eight points, but Turner was able to get to the line and hit a free throw while Hill followed with a three to put Arizona up 60-48 with 5:18 left.

Arizona's lead hit 16 when Turner hit a layup with about 1:49 left and the game was basically over.

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