Washington holds off USC 78-75 in Pac-12 quarterfinals
by APNewsNow. Washington 78, USC 75. Will be updated. With AP Photos. Stats.com | APon
LAS VEGAS (AP) Jaylen Nowell scored 24 points, David Crisp added 18 and Washington held off a late charge to beat Southern California 78-75 in the Pac-12 tournament quarterfinals on Thursday.
The top-seeded Huskies (25-7) led by 10 before the Trojans made a run, pulling with 72-71 on Jonah Mathews' 3-pointer with 1:10 left.
Dominic Green answered with a 3-pointer and Matisse Thybulle turned his fifth steal into a breakaway dunk that put Washington up six.
The eighth-seeded Trojans (16-17) still kept fighting, pulling within 77-75 on Nick Rakocevic's putback. Nowell hit 1 of 2 free throws to give USC hope, but Rakocevic threw the ball away as the Trojans tried to set up a tying shot.
Washington hit 13 of 28 from the 3-point arc and moves on to face the winner between Colorado and Oregon State in Friday's semifinals
Rakocevic, Mathews and Kevin Porter Jr. each had 17 points.
USC earned a spot in the quarterfinals by pulling away from Arizona for a 78-65 victory.
Washington earned a first-round bye by winning the regular-season title, but stumbled down the stretch. The Huskies lost to California, which was previously winless in Pac-12 play, and scored 47 points in a loss to Oregon in the finale.
Washington won the lone meeting with USC this season by 13 after getting 14 steals - seven by Thybulle.
The Huskies were sharp in the rematch, using their defense get baskets in transition and hitting 9 of 18 from the 3-point line to lead 43-38 at halftime.
The Trojans played well, too, hitting 15 of 28 shots from the floor to keep Washington within reach.
Both team downshifted into chaos to start the second half, trading turnovers and clanked shots.
Washington started to settle down a bit and stretched its lead to 64-54 midway through the second half.
USC answered behind its defense, holding the Huskies scoreless for more than three minutes to pull within three with two minutes left.
USC put up a fight after being down double digits, but couldn't make the plays down the stretch to make it all the way back.
Washington followed the blueprint that led to the Pac-12 regular-season championship, shooting well and clamping down on defense when the Huskies needed it.
USC awaits word if it will be invited to a postseason tournament.
Washington faces the Colorado-Oregon State winner on Friday.
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