SEATTLE (AP) — Bennie Boatwright scored 23 points in his first game in more than two months, De’Anthony Melton added 16 points and Southern California rallied in the second half for an 82-74 win over Washington on Wednesday night.
Playing for the first time since suffering a knee injury on Nov. 30, Boatwright came off the bench to spark USC’s rally from a 10-point halftime deficit. Boatwright made 7 of 10 shots, including a pair of 3-pointers. He also had four assists and played just 21 minutes.
Melton added seven rebounds, six assists, and six steals, and the Trojans (19-4, 6-4 Pac-12) shot 68 percent in the second half, winning their third straight and avoiding a lull after last week’s win over rival UCLA.
Markelle Fultz led Washington (9-13, 2-8) with 20 points, but the Huskies lost their fourth straight.
For the second straight game, Washington was unable to hold on to a halftime lead. This one was their own fault as Washington committed nine turnovers and shot 39 percent in the second half, and had a scoreless streak of more than four minutes where USC went on a 13-0 run to take control.
USC pulled within 66-65 on Boatwright’s rebound basket with 5:12 remaining and took the lead on the next possession. Fultz missed a 3 and Boatwright beat the Huskies down the court for a layup while being fouled. The 3-point play gave USC a 68-66 lead, its first since 27-25 late in the first half. Melton added a jumper on USC’s next possession and the lead was 70-66 with 3:59 left. Out of a timeout, Washington committed its eighth turnover of the half and Jordan McLaughlin’s fast-break layup capped the 13-0 spurt.
Washington got within 72-71 on Matisse Thybulle’s 3-pointer with 1:47 left but Chimezie Metu scored inside and Thybulle rimmed out a 3-pointer with 55 seconds left that could have pulled Washington even.
Metu finished with 15 points and McLaughlin added 13 for the Trojans.
Noah Dickerson had 17 points and nine rebounds and David Crisp added 16 points for the Huskies.
USC: Boatwright made his first appearance since injuring his left knee just moments into the Trojans win over San Diego in late November. Boatwright, who averaged 11.5 points as a freshman, was averaging 10.8 points before getting hurt.
Washington: The Huskies got just one point from their bench players and was outscored 20-9 at the free-throw line.
USC: The Trojans play at Washington State on Saturday.
Washington: The Huskies host No. 11 UCLA on Saturday.