TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Nick Johnson scored 14 points and No. 6 Arizona used a stifling defense to bounce back from a home loss and rout Southern California 74-50 on Saturday night.
The Wildcats (17-2, 5-2 Pac-12) were dominant from the opening tip, jumping out to leads of 18-4 and 29-7. They were up 39-20 at halftime.
The Trojans (8-13, 3-5), who shot 28 percent, trailed by as many as 34 in the second half.
Solomon Hill added 13 points, Brandon Ashley 11 and Kaleb Tarczewski 10 for Arizona. No USC player reached double figures in the Trojans’ lowest-scoring game of the season. Jio Fontan scored nine.
USC dropped to 1-3 since Kevin O’Neill was fired and replaced by interim coach Bob Cantu. The other two losses were by one point to Oregon and 98-93 in overtime Thursday night at Arizona State.
This one was a blowout in a hurry.
The Wildcats, who fell behind UCLA 21-5 in Thursday night’s 84-73 home loss to the Bruins, turned the tables on the Trojans.
USC made two of its first 19 shots and committed seven turnovers, allowing Arizona to go up 29-7 on Hill’s layup with 7:55 left in the half, the last points in an 11-0 Wildcats run.
When the Trojans managed to cut it to 36-20 with a pair of baskets in the final minute, Mark Lyons sank a 3-pointer from the top of the key 2 seconds before the buzzer to make it 39-20 at the break.
Arizona never led against UCLA, and never trailed in this one.
Johnson scored eight as the Wildcats streaked to a 12-2 lead, then consecutive 3s by Lyons and Parrom put them ahead 18-4.
The 20 points at the half were the fewest this season for the Trojans, who had averaged 72.4 points in their first seven conference games.
USC “warmed up” to 24 percent shooting in the first half (7 for 29), compared with 48 percent for Arizona (14 for 29).
But the second half started the same way the first did, with the Trojans making three of their first 20 shots. Arizona, meanwhile, took a 58-27 lead when Johnson banked in a 15-footer with 10 minutes to play.
USC was able to cut into the lead only when Arizona coach Sean Miller emptied his bench in the final 3 minutes.
USC’s three-guard starting trio of J.T. Terrell, Byron Wesley and Renaldo Woolridge were a combined 5 for 26 from the field, 3 of 11 on 3-pointers.
UCLA followed its big win in Tucson on Thursday with a loss at Arizona State on Saturday.