USC Lets Late Lead Slip Away In Tuscon

In a game of runs, Arizona had the last one, and that was enough.

Nic Wise sank a 3-pointer with 43.8 seconds, then made two free throws with 17.3 seconds remaining Thursday night and Arizona pulled away to win its sixth in a row, 83-76 over USC.

Wise scored 27 points, two shy of his career high. Chase Budinger added 25 for the Wildcats (17-8, 7-5 Pac-10), who blew an 18-point first-half lead but regrouped to finish the game with an 11-2 run.

Dwight Lewis made a career-high six 3-pointers for USC but missed two crucial ones in the final two minutes. He scored 21. DeMar DeRozan and Daniel Hackett added 20 apiece for the Trojans (15-8, 6-5).

USC led 74-70 after Hackett's 14-footer with 3:35 remaining. But Budinger sank two free throws, then Wise stole the ball from Hackett for a breakaway layup that tied it at 74-74 with 3:20 to go. Budinger's two free throws with 2:10 to play put Arizona ahead 76-74.

Hackett scored on a driving layup and was fouled by Wise with 1:07 to play. But he missed the free throw and it was tied at 76-76.

Wise started to go up for a 3-pointer, then had to pull back to evade a defender. Then he put it up and scored to put the Wildcats ahead for good in front of a big, noisy crowd at McKale Center.

The Wildcats shot 59 percent and USC 56 percent.

USC scored the last eight points of the first half and the first eight of the second to go up 46-41 on consecutive 3-pointers by Lewis. The run to start the second half reached 15-4 when Leonard Washington scored inside to put the Trojans ahead 53-45 with 15:07 to play.

Arizona regrouped with a 16-3 outburst, Budinger finding Jordan Hill for a fastbreak dunk. Hill was fouled and the three-point play put the Wildcats ahead 66-61 8:51 from the finish. USC responded, scoring the next nine and the Trojans led 70-66 on Lewis' 14-footer with 4::55 to go.

The Wildcats made their first eight shots of the game, four of them 3-pointers, to go up 24-8.

They sank eight of their first nine 3s, 11-of-13 shots overall, to make it 33-15 on Wise's 3-pointer with 9¬Ω minutes to play in the first half.

USC outscored Arizona 23-11 the rest of the half, finishing with an 11-2 run that cut the Wildcats' lead to 41-38 at the break.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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