TUCSON, Ariz. (AP)Courtney Ramey scored 16 points, Azoulas Tubelis had 15 points and 17 rebounds, and No. 11 Arizona used a revamped lineup to beat Southern California 81-66 on Thursday night.
Coach Tommy Lloyd changed up his starting lineup in hopes of shaking up Arizona’s struggling offense and unproductive bench.
The Wildcats (16-3, 5-3 Pac-12) had a much better flow with Cedric Henderson Jr. starting and Pelle Larsson coming off the bench, racing to a 15-point halftime lead.
Arizona bogged down a bit in the second half, but shot 48% from the floor and 12 for 24 from 3 after failing to eclipse 38% in four of its last five games. Larsson had 15 of Arizona’s 21 bench points.
The Wildcats were solid defensively all night, holding USC (13-6, 5-3) to 37% shooting and 4 of 17 from the 3-point arc.
Drew Peterson led the Trojans with 15 points, but had just four after halftime before fouling out. Leading scorer Boogie Ellis had 11 points on 2-of-11 shooting with four turnovers.
USC played one of its best all-around games in a 71-56 win over Utah on Saturday.
Against Arizona, coach Andy Enfield used 11 players in the first half, trying to find a combination that worked.
USC had trouble stopping Tubelis and Oumar Ballo in the post early while struggling with Arizona’s offensive movement through most of the first half.
The Trojans were disjointed offensively from the opening tip, struggling with turnovers and getting shots to fall. USC shot 11 of 34 and had nine first-half turnovers.
Arizona offset 11 turnovers with 14-of-27 shooting, taking a 41-26 halftime lead on Ramey’s last-second 3-pointer.
The Trojans tried to cut into the lead in the second half, but Arizona had an answer each time.
USC scored the first six points of the first half to get within nine. Henderson followed with consecutive 3-pointers.
The Trojans used an 11-3 run to pull within 60-47, only to watch it climb back to 18 on a short Kerr Kriisa jumper and Larsson’s 3.
USC has the length to match up with Arizona, but not the heft. The beefier Wildcats scored 30 points in the paint and made it tough for the Trojans to get into any kind of offensive rhythm.
Arizona had good offensive flow with its new-look lineup in the first half and an answer every time USC tried to make a run. The Wildcats were solid at the defensive end all night to beat the Trojans for the 11th time the past 12 games in Tucson.
USC: At Arizona State on Saturday.
Arizona: Hosts No. 5 UCLA on Saturday.
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