USC downs Washington 98-88 behind Nikola Jovanovic’s 28
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Nikola Jovanovic scored a season-high 28 points, Jordan McLaughlin added 21, and Southern California avenged an earlier heartbreaking loss with an 98-88 victory over Washington on Saturday afternoon.
The Trojans (17-5, 6-3 Pac-12) led 44-33 at halftime and remained ahead the entire second half. They moved into a tie for second place in the Pac-12 with the win.
Bennie Boatwright scored 15 points, Katin Reinhardt had 11 and Elijah Stewart added 10 for USC.
Marquese Chriss and Dejounte Murray had 18 points apiece for the Huskies (14-7, 6-3). Pac-12 leading scorer Andrew Andrews scored 15 points on 3-of-14 shooting.
Washington shot 36.4 percent from the field and was 8 for 32 from 3-point range.
The Huskies on Jan 3 overcame a 22-point deficit with 14 minutes remaining to beat the Trojans 87-85 in the first matchup between the teams.
USC made sure that kind of collapse didn’t happen again, shutting the door on multiple Washington second-half rallies.
The Huskies whittled their 11-point halftime deficit to just three points at 57-54 with 13:25 to go. But the Trojans fought back, ripping off a 17-7 run out of a timeout to re-extend their lead to double-digits, 74-61, with 8:45 left.
Jovanovic and Boatwright scored five points apiece during the run, and McLaughlin sank a 3-pointer that brought a packed Galen Center to its feet and forced the Huskies to call a timeout.
Washington again rallied, and again USC answered. The Huskies cut the deficit to 78-73 with 6:03 to play, but Jovanovic poured in eight points as USC went on a 17-9 run to put the game away.
Washington: The Huskies came up with 16 turnovers. They have forced at least 10 every game this season..Chriss made 7 of 13 field goals and is now 26 of 41 (63.4 percent) from the field in his last four games..Washington is just 3-3 since beginning conference play 3-0.
USC: The Trojans outrebounded the Huskies 42-36. They have won or tied the battle on the boards 17 times in 22 games this season..They finished 6 of 18 from 3-point range. They have made at least six 3-pointers in 19 games this season and lead the Pac-12 with 182 3-pointers made.USC has its best record through 22 games since going 18-4 in 1992.
Washington hosts Arizona State on Wednesday.
USC hosts crosstown rival UCLA on Thursday.
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