Playing in a stadium packed with hostile fans, the USC men’s basketball team did what only one other team has done this season — defeat Washington on the road.
After leading by as many as 16 in the second half, the Trojans (16-9, 8-7) weathered a furious rally by the Huskies and held on to win, 67-64, Thursday night at the Bank of America Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion in Seattle.
With one minute left to play and USC clinging to a 61-60 lead after Washington guard Venoy Overton’s driving layup, redshirt senior guard Mike Gerrity slashed to the hoop for a layup of his own, putting the Trojans back up by three.
But that wasn’t his biggest shot of the game. Just moments later, Gerrity came back to drain a fadeaway jumper and effectively sealed the game for USC with just 16 seconds remaining. Senior guard Dwight Lewis sank two free throws, and the Trojans celebrated their first win at Washington in two years.
It was only the second home loss of the season for the Huskies (17-9, 7-7), who had entered the game with a 16-1 record at the Bank of America Arena. It also happened to be USC’s second road victory — the Trojans came into the game with a 1-6 record away from the Galen Center. The win moves USC into a tie for second place in the Pac-10 with Arizona State – and only a half game behind conference leader California.
By beating the Huskies on their homecourt, the Trojans proved their 87-61 rout of Washington on Jan. 23 wasn’t a fluke. USC’s size and athleticism gave the Huskies, who came in averaging 81 points a game on offense, trouble for most of the game.
With 9:49 left in the game, Gerrity’s layup gave USC a 52-36 lead, and the Huskies looked to be folding early. But Washington proceeded to score on three straight possessions and went on a 24-9 run capped by Overton’s layup.
The Huskies couldn’t finish what they started though. At the end of the game, USC made the key baskets.
Lewis had 22 points on 9 of 17 shooting from the floor. Sophomore forward Nikola Vucevic added 13 points and nine rebounds, and Gerrity finished with 12 points. USC shot 47 percent from the field and had a successful showing at the free-throw line, where the Trojans went 12 of 14.
For Washington, forward Quincy Pondexter scored 18 points. Forward Matthew Bryan-Amaning had 14 points.
USC led 32-24 at halftime. Washington’s high-powered offense looked to be in good form early on, with guard Abdul Gaddy’s jumper putting the Huskies up 8-2 less than three minutes in. But shortly thereafter, USC’s defense came to life and the pace slowed down. The Trojans took advantage, going on a 24-9 run to take a 26-17 lead five minutes before the break.
Lewis scored 12 of USC’s final 18 points to end the first half. Trojans forced nine turnovers and limited Washington to just 39 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes of play.
USC won’t have much time to rest. The Trojans now travel to Pullman, Wash., to take on Washington State on Saturday.
Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m.