Courtesy USC Athletics
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Julian Jacobs scored 15 points, Bennie Boatwright added 14 and Southern California held off a furious rally to beat Arizona State 75-65 in its conference home opener Thursday night.
The Trojans (13-3, 2-1 Pac-12) led by as many as 17 in the second half before the Sun Devils (10-5, 0-2) rallied to cut it to 65-63 with 1:49 to go. A two-handed dunk on a fastbreak by Chimeze Metu halted the Sun Devils rally and started a 10-2 USC run in the final minute to secure the win.
The Trojans surpassed their win total from all of last season with the victory. They went 12-20 in 2014-15.
Metu and Katin Reinhardt added nine points apiece for USC and Darion Clark pulled down 10 rebounds.
Tra Holder scored 16 of his 21 points in the second half to lead ASU’s rally. Willie Atwood and Andre Speight added 11 points each for the Sun Devils.
USC was in the control most of the night. The Trojans led 35-25 at halftime and 54-37 with 9:42 to go before ASU snapped out of a game-long shooting slump and rallied.
Holder made three 3-pointers and Atwood made a pair to bring the Sun Devils back within two.
Holder had an open look from three to give ASU the lead with 1:09 left, but it clanked off the rim short. Jacobs picked up the rebound and found Metu streaking down the court, and Metu threw down a furious dunk – his third of the game – to halt ASU’s momentum and bring the Galen Center crowd to its feet.
Jacobs and Reinhardt followed with fastbreak layups of their own off ASU misses, and Darion Clark added an emphatic block in the final seconds to finish it for the Trojans.
Arizona State: The Sun Devils dropped to 2-7 all-time at USC’s Galen Center since it opened in 2007..Atwood scored nine of his 11 points in the second half..ASU shot 40 percent (6 of 15) from the free throw line, its worst percentage of the season.
USC: The Trojans are off to their best start since the 2001-02 season. That team also began 13-3.They were in the double bonus the final 4:56 of the game and went 4 for 6 from the free throw line in that time.USC outrebounded ASU 42-34, becoming only the fifth team to outrebound the Sun Devils in a game this season.
Arizona State visits UCLA on Sunday.
USC hosts No. 7 Arizona on Sunday.