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USC finds its form

first_img • 01/14: USC vs. Washington Gabe Pruitt kept the Trojans in the game in the first half with 15 of his 20 points. He made five of six 3-point attempts. Young had his mid-range and outside games working, and also drove to the basket to get to the free-throw line 12 times, making nine. He got USC (12-5, 3-3) a lead it would never relinquish early in the second half with a 3-pointer to make the score 45-43. Young reached his scoring mark on a big 3-pointer from the corner as the shot clock was expiring to put USC ahead, 61-56. “I know where we were picked (to finish), but we’re not going to sell our team short,” Floyd said. “We’re going to try to go out and compete and play for first, as long as it’s available. But I know we would have had a long way to go if we lost another home game.” [email protected] (818) 713-3607 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Challenged by coach Tim Floyd at halftime, USC played its best defense since Pacific-10 Conference play began in the second half to beat Washington State 71-66 in front of 3,540 at the Sports Arena. “Coach came out here and got on us real good,” USC’s Ryan Francis said. “He told us how can we beat a team shooting 55 to 60 percent, so we came out and had to pride ourselves on defense.” For More Info LOS ANGELES – For the first half against Washington State on Saturday, USC’s defense looked like it still was on winter vacation. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa AnitaUSC held Washington State to 25 points on 30.8 percent shooting in the second half. The Cougars were at 55.2 percent in the first half. Francis made the key defensive play, stripping Washington State guard Josh Akognon of the ball at midcourt when the Cougars, down by two, were trying to tie the game on what could have been the final possession of regulation. Francis passed to a streaking Nick Young, who threw down an electric one-handed dunk over Aron Baynes and drew the foul with 15.5 seconds remaining. Young’s free throw produced the final margin. “He did this move like three times in a row on me,” Francis said of Akognon. “It worked two times. I saw him put in front of me, and that’s when I got him. It was a crossover. I knew it was coming.” Young scored 19 of his career-high 32 points in the second half to lead the Trojans back from a 41-37 halftime deficit. His previous best was 25 points against Eastern Washington earlier this season. The Trojans, who got off to a surprising start to the season in large part because of a stifling defense, were on their way to allowing an opponent to make better than 50 percent of their shots for a fourth consecutive game. last_img read more

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