USC overcomes comedy of mistakes to beat Washington in Pac-12 tournament – Press Enterprise

LAS VEGAS – Sometimes incredible shooting wins. Sometimes you win by playing with elite execution and effort.

And sometimes you just win against yourself.

That was the case at USC on Friday, when the third-placed Trojans narrowly escaped the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 tournament with a 65-61 win over No. 6 Washington.

USC (26-6) has committed an impressive 23 turnovers, 17 of them in the second half. By that measure alone, USC should have finished in the desert, especially given the staggering last-minute errors.

“Our veterans had a lot of turnovers; It’s not typical to have so many,” said head coach Andy Enfield. “The ball slipped through our hands three times. We crossed the borders twice. If they want to win more games in this tournament and in the NCAA, we have to do a better job.”

Max Agbonkpolo threw an inexplicable pass straight to Washington guard PJ Fuller, who quickly hit a layup to make it a two-point game by 34.7 seconds.

Enfield quickly called a time-out to regroup his team, but in the ensuing in-bounds game, Drew Peterson brought his shoulder down on Washington forward Emmitt Matthews Jr.’s chest and was called for an offensive foul. So husky ball, 27.5 seconds to play, one possession separates the teams.

After a timeout in Washington, Pac-12 top scorer Terrell Brown Jr. rolled his drive off the edge of the iron and was thrown wide. After a review, the ball was found to have been last touched by USC forward Isaiah Mobley.

But Matthew’s propelling floater missed it all as Mobley stayed with him from the boundary and Reese Dixon-Waters snatched the rebound and hit two free throws for USC to thwart the game.

USC takes on second-place rivals UCLA (24-6) in a semifinal on Friday at 8:30 p.m. The teams split their two regular season games.

The Trojans held Washington (17-15) on 23.5% shooting in the second half, helped in large part by the Huskies’ insistence on driving wildly on the rim rather than running the offense that helped UW get in early build up an eight-point lead in the second half.

Brown led all scorers with 23, while Boogie Ellis led USC with 17, the only Trojan to hit double digits. Mobley added nine points and six assists.

There was little USC could do early on to stop Brown, who scored Washington’s first nine points and lost 21 in the first half. He had it all, losing Joshua Morgan on a spin to get a one and even making two 3-pointers, his only weakness as a goalscorer.

But Brown went 1 for 12 in the second half as USC tried to use longer defenders against him and he ferociously attacked the rim.

USC’s offense didn’t get off to a smooth start, with four early turnovers resulting in seven Washington points. On back-to-back possessions, the Huskies were able to trap the Trojans in the same spot on the court for turnover.

After the fourth giveaway, Enfield approached point guard Ethan Anderson. His presence had an immediate calming effect on the Trojans, who made just two turnovers in the final 12 minutes of half-time.

Anderson was able to get the offense going, throwing Mobley the ball forward from the opposite button for a layup and the first points of the game for USC’s top scorer.

USC ended the half with better shooting scores than the Huskies and more points for second chances and transition. But Washington was the beneficiary of several whistles that angered the Trojans, and a perfect 11-for-11 mark from the line allowed the Huskies to lead 39-36 at break.


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