February 7, 2019 / 6:30 AM / 8 months ago

Utah builds lead, fends off USC rally

Junior center Jayce Johnson scored a career-high 13 points and grabbed 13 rebounds as Utah snapped USC’s seven-game home win streak with a 77-70 Pac-12 victory on Wednesday night in Los Angeles.

February 6, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Utah Utes forward Timmy Allen (20) shoots against the Southern California Trojans during the first half at Galen Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

It was the third double-double of the season for the 7-foot Johnson and fourth of his career.

Freshman Both Gach scored 15 points, Sedrick Barefield finished with 13 points and Donnie Tillman added 12 points for Utah (12-10, 6-4) which shot 45.6 percent and outrebounded the Trojans, 42-37.

Jonah Mathews scored 18 points, Bennie Boatwright finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Nick Rakocevic had 10 points and nine rebounds for USC (13-10, 6-4), which shot just 38 percent, including 9 of 26 from 3-point range, and trailed by as many as 23 points in the second half.

Utah, coming in off back-to-back home losses to Oregon and Oregon State, jumped out to a 7-0 lead behind a pair of layups by Gach and a 3-pointer by Barefield. But USC, behind five points by freshman point guard Elijah Weaver, answered with a 7-0 run of its own to tie it.

The Utes then took control with a 19-5 run over seven minutes to build a 26-12 lead. Tillman led the way with led the way with eight points, including a pair of 3-pointers.

USC cut the deficit to 12 on a 3-pointer by Mathews, 29-17, but Utah quickly answered with another 8-0 run highlighted by a pair of 3-pointers by Gach en route to a 37-23 halftime lead.

The Utes extended their lead to 23 points, 56-33, after a 3-pointer by Barefield with 11:32 remaining.

The Trojans used a 24-8 run fueled by three 3-pointers by Mathews to cut the Utah lead to single digits, 64-57, with 2:57 remaining, but a 3-pointer by Parker Van Dyke extended the Utes’ lead back to double figures, with just over two minutes to play, and Utah was never threatened again.

—Field Level Media

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