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USC Basketball: Trojans Blow 22-Point Lead to Washington

Jan 3, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington Huskies forward Marquese Chriss (0) holds the ball as USC Trojans forward Bennie Boatwright (25) defends during the first half at Alaska Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 3, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington Huskies forward Marquese Chriss (0) holds the ball as USC Trojans forward Bennie Boatwright (25) defends during the first half at Alaska Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports
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After a strong start to the Pac-12 season on New Year’s Day, the USC basketball team will want Game 2 back, blowing a 22-point second half lead to Washington.

The lowdown: The Trojans roared out to a quick start, playing Andy Enfield’s patented dunk-heavy style of basketball. Julian Jacobs had 11 points and a big slam over Washington forward Marquese Chriss in the first half, while taking a 46-38 lead into the break.

USC then began the second half on a 15-4 run, before leading by as many as 22 points. Jacobs was huge, with a pair of dunks in the first 26 seconds of the half to fuel it all. But then things would turn after Jacobs rolled his ankle landing awkwardly on Nikola Jovonovic while pulling down a defensive rebound. He wouldn’t return and the Huskies pounced.

Washington went on a 9-0 run capped off with a Matisse Thybulle three-pointer, then followed it up with a 12-3 stretch to pull within three points on a David Crisp make from behind the stripe.

The Trojans would settle things down as the teams traded a bevy of free throws, but it wouldn’t be enough to hold off the comeback when up 85-80. Bennie Boatwright missed a three-point shot with 1:29 left and USC wasted a pivotal Malik Marquetti offensive rebound when Jordan McLaughlin missed a shot and turned it over twice in the final 68 seconds.

The Huskies would score all seven points in the final minute, including a pair of late layups. Elijah Stewart and Katin Reinhardt had late desperation tries for the Trojans, but nothing would fall as Washington capped off their second win of the Pac-12 season.

Jan 3, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; USC Trojans guard Jordan McLaughlin (11) looses the ball in front of Washington Huskies guard Andrew Andrews (12) during the second half at Alaska Airlines Arena. The Huskies won 87-85. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

With the loss, USC snapped their seven-game winning streak and fall to 1-1 in Pac-12 play before getting the Arizona schools next week back in Los Angeles.

The takeaway: Jacobs left the game with more than 15 minutes left, with the Trojans nursing a 21-point lead. From that point on, Washington outscored USC 45-24 to roar back and steal the victory.

Enfield’s team just wasn’t the same without Jacobs, as evident by committing 10 turnovers with McLaughlin and Boatright running the offense. For comparison’s sake, UW had 11 turnovers throughout the entire game.

Going forward, the health of Jacobs will obviously be paramount, as will USC finding a way to replicate his playmaking ability without him, as he can’t play all 40 minutes. The team has too much talent and depth to be limited by the benefits of one player.

Jacobs is averaging 12 points per game as a junior, but his poise at point guard has been where the Trojans have thrived with him on the court. He’s had just 24 turnovers to date this season, while McGlaughlin had eight against Washington alone.

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Player of the game: Husky guard Andrew Andrews had 24 points for UW, including the game-winning layup with 25 seconds to play. His 14 second half points were a key cog in the comeback win for Washington, including a pair of three-pointers in the final five minutes.

Stat of the game: USC turned the ball over 21 times, including twice in the final minute as the Huskies ended the game on a 9-0 run.

Next on tap: Troy will look to get up off the mat on Thursday night at the Galen Center against Arizona State. The Sun Devils are 10-4 and lost their Pac-12 opener against desert rival Arizona on Sunday afternoon.

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