Las Vegas, NV – USC junior guard Jonah Mathews drained a three-pointer with 1:10 remaining to cut No.1 seeded Washington’s lead, 72-71. The Huskies took a six-point lead on a three-pointer by Dominic Green and a breakaway dunk by Matisse Thybulle. The Trojans tried to setup a tying shot in the final seconds but Nick Rakocevic threw the ball away.
Washington held off the Trojans in a 78-75 win in the Pac-12 tournament quarterfinals Thursday in Las Vegas.
“We obviously made a few mistakes in the last two and a half, three minutes, like we have many times this season,” USC coach Andy Enfield said. “Our players play hard. But our margin of error is so small that those crucial moments, whether it’s a turnover, defensive stop, made shot, free throw or last second shot haven’t gone our way this year.”
The Trojans came back from being down by double digits but could not make plays when they needed and the Huskies defense clamped down. Washington made 13-of-28 from three-point range to stay ahead of the USC.
“USC just kept coming back. You have to give them a lot of credit. They kept fighting back, fighting back,” Washington coach Mike Hopkins said. “Our guys showed a lot of resiliency.”
Rakocevic, Mathews and Kevin Porter Jr. each scored 17 points to help the Trojans keep it close. Washington’s Jaylen Nowell scored 24 points and David Crisp added 18 points.
Washington hit seven three’s to jump out to a 29-18 lead in the first half. USC went on an 8-1 run to pull within four but the Huskies utilized a 10-2 run to take a 12-point lead. Porter nailed a buzzer-beating three as the Trojans trailed 43-38 heading into halftime.
The top-seeded Huskies will play Oregon in the final Saturday after a 66-60 win over Colorado in the semifinals.