Tubelis’ 25 points power No. 8 Arizona past USC, 87-81
LOS ANGELES - Azoulas Tubelis scored 25 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and No. 8 Arizona ended USC’s 14-game home win streak with an 87-81 victory Thursday night.
It was the Wildcats’ first game since they were upset by rival Arizona State on an improbable half-court shot at the buzzer, 89-88. Arizona has not lost back-to-back games in the two seasons Tommy Lloyd has been its coach.
Arizona took control midway through the first half. After Reese Dixon-Waters hit from behind the arc to tie the game at 12-12 with 13:29 to play in the first half, Tubelis and Pelle Larsson sandwiched layups around Courtney Ramey’s second 3-pointer to open a 19-12 advantage. By the time Kerr Kriisa hit from behind the arc with 16 seconds left, the Wildcats held a 43-31 advantage.
USC’s Kobe Johnson picked up his third foul early and went to the bench for the final nine minutes of the half after scoring just two points. Dixon-Waters and Boogie Ellis scored 25 of USC’s 31 first-half points.
Arizona’s inside game with Tubelis and Oumar Ballo gave the Trojans trouble all night and the pair finished with 35 points and 15 rebounds, plus each had three assists, a steal and a blocked shot.
The Wildcats (25-5, 14-5 Pac-12) extended their lead to as many as 15 points midway through the second half, but Ellis poured in 16 points over the final nine minutes to get the Trojans within five points in the final minute.
Ellis scored 35 points to lead the Trojans (21-9, 13-6), hitting 11 of 20 shots from the field, including 6 of 11 from 3-point range. Dixon-Waters scored 17 points and grabbed six rebounds and Johnson had 12 second-half points to finish with 14.
Ramey hit 3 of 7 from long range and scored 16 points for Arizona. Kriisa converted 3 of 6 from distance to add 11 points while Kylan Boswell had 14 points off the bench.
The victory assures Arizona the No. 2 seed into next week’s Pac-12 Conference Tournament in Las Vegas, USC will be the No. 3 seed.
The win was Lloyd’s 58th in his two seasons as Arizona’s coach, tying him with former North Carolina coach Bill Guthridge for the most wins by a college coach in his first two seasons.
Arizona plays its regular-season finale at No. 4 UCLA on Saturday.
USC plays host to Arizona State on Saturday.
More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25
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