№ 2 Arizona stops № 16 USC to win Pac-12 title

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Benedict Maturin scored 19 points and Kerr Chris added 18 to help № 2 Arizona finish their first title in the regular season of the Pac-12 conference in four seasons with a 91-71 defeat against № 16 Southern California in the evening on Tuesday.

Justin Cyrus scored 12 points when the Wildcats (26-3, 16-2) bounced back from a double-digit defeat to Colorado last weekend.

Max Agbonkpala scored 14 points, while Drew Petersen and Chavez Goodwin had 10 points each when the Trojans, who finished second (25-5, 14-5), finished their six-party winning streak. The USC lost their first game since Feb. 5, when they failed to retain the lead in the second half in Arizona in a 72-63 defeat.

The Trojans took second place in the conference standings with UCLA. The winner of Saturday’s game between rivals from Los Angeles finishes one in second place.

Playing the game, which was postponed from Jan. 2 due to problems with COVID-19 USC, Arizona had no problems with the third game in six days. The Wildcats led 17-8 in the first half just over five minutes of play, increased by 20 for the first time, remaining just under three minutes before the first half, and threw 55% (22 of 40) before the break.

Having won their first conference title in the regular season since the 2017-18 season, the Wildcats have improved their best overall record since they were 28-2 in 2013-14. Arizona also shot 48.1% off the field or better in all 10 of its Pac-12 road games.

Maturin came out of the field in Arizona 7 out of 13, adding six assists and five rebounds. Dalen Terry and Umar Bala scored 11 points each for the Wildcats.

Isaiah Mabley scored nine points behind the USC with 11 rebounds in the game, when the Trojans threw just 39.7% off the field and 22.2% (4 out of 18) from a 3-point distance.

The big picture

Arizona: The Wildcats not only moved away from a horrific Saturday loss of 16 points to Colorado, but also finished the road part of the schedule with a record of 8-3. Ahead is nothing but home games and neutral courts. Arizona closes the regular season schedule with games against Stanford and Cal in Tucson, Arizona, where they will play 15-0. On the neutral courts of Arizona – 2-0.

USC: The Trojans’ bid for the Pac-12 title failed, although many high chances remain. The next USC is a rival across the UCLA city, putting a winning streak of five games against the Bruins. The Trojans are also heading to next week’s Pac-12 conference in Las Vegas to say goodbye in the first round and then to the next NCAA tournament with a chance to improve on last year’s elite eight.

NEXT

Arizona: Wildcats return home to meet Stanford on Thursday.

USC: The Trojans will play Saturday at No. 17 UCLA to complete the regular season schedule.

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