LOS ANGELES (AP) — Elijah Stewart scored 15 points, Nikola Jovanovic added 14 and USC pulled away down the stretch to defeat UC Santa Barbara 75-63 on Thursday night.
Julian Jacobs added 12 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and four steals for the Trojans (6-2), who played their first true road game.
The Gauchos (2-4) were within 61-59 on Gabe Vincent’s 3-pointer with 5:54 left but Jacobs quickly answered with a 3 to start a 10-2 run that made it 71-61 on Chimezie Metu’s tip-in with 1:15 left.
Vincent led Santa Barbara with 16 points, hitting 4 of 7 behind the arc. Michael Bryson had three 3s and 15 points and John Green added 15.
The Gauchos shot 42 percent but shot 53 percent (10 of 19) behind the arc. They only got to the line six times, making three.
The Trojans shot 39 percent but made 18 of 23 free throws, 11 of 15 in the second half. Jovanovic was 10 for 10 from the line.
Bryson had back-to-back 3-pointers and Santa Barbara jumped out to a quick 12-4 lead but Metu, who had 10 points, had a dunk and followed with a layup after a steal and assist by Jordan McLaughlin as the Trojans quickly cut the deficit. A 7-0 run for USC tied it at 16.
USC build its own six-point lead late in the half but Vincent drained a 3-pointer with 3 seconds left to make it 39-36 at the break.
USC: Faced Long Beach for the 13th time, dating back to 1946, and lead the series 12-2 but their last meeting was 13 years ago at Santa Barbara when the Gauchos won. … The Trojans reserves had 24 points, outscoring UCSB by 20. … USC has registered 56 blocks in the first eight games for an average of seven per game which ranks fifth among all NCAA DI teams. USC had a total of 133 blocks in 32 games last season for a 4.2 blocks per game average.
Santa Barbara: After the Gauchos only home game of December, they are on the road for their other six games this month. … All three losses have been to Pac-12 schools, losing to Cal, Oregon State and Arizona State.
USC is home against Idaho on Monday.
Santa Barbara is at South Dakota State on Dec. 13.
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