EditorsNote: Updates with next opponent (Colorado)
Pac-12 Player of the Year Jaylen Nowell scored 24 points and had eight rebounds as top-seeded Washington fought off eighth-seeded USC 78-75 on Thursday afternoon in a Pac-12 tournament quarterfinal game in Las Vegas.
Nowell made all four of his 3-point attempts and hit one of two free throws with 7.9 seconds left for a three-point lead.
USC’s Nick Rakocevic, looking to find a teammate along the sideline for a 3-point shot, then threw the ball out of bounds on the ensuing possession.
Washington’s David Crisp made a free throw with 0.4 seconds left for the final score.
Washington (25-7) advances to play fifth-seeded Colorado on Friday night at T-Mobile Arena, after the Buffaloes took down fourth-seeded Oregon State later Thursday night.
USC (16-17) had a trio of players score 17 points, including five-star freshman Kevin Porter Jr., who set a career high. Rakocevic had 17 points and 17 rebounds. Jonah Mathews also scored 17, while Bennie Boatwright made three 3-pointers in the final nine minutes en route to 16 points.
Crisp scored 14 of his 18 points in the first half. Nahziah Carter scored 13 for Washington. Noah Dickerson grabbed 11 rebounds.
Washington led by as many as 10 in the second half but couldn’t shake the Trojans.
Dominic Green used a dribble to get himself free for a 3-point shot with 39.1 seconds left for a 75-71 lead, and then senior Matisse Thybulle — the two-time Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year — shot a passing lane for a steal and delivered a one-handed slam with 32.9 seconds to go.
Thybulle made a mistake on the other end, fouling Derryck Thornton on a 3-point attempt with 25.8 seconds left. Thornton made two.
Dickerson missed the front end of a one-and-one, and Rakocevic tipped in a basket with 8.2 seconds left to make it 77-75 before Nowell was fouled.
Thybulle had five steals to break the conference single-season record of 110, which was set by Cal’s Jason Kidd in 1992-93. Thybulle pushed his season total to 115 and he has 320 career steals, one shy of the league record held by Oregon State’s Gary Payton (1986-90).
Washington led by as many as 12 points in an entertaining first half in which it hit nine 3-point shots. USC finished on a 10-3 run, capped by Porter, who banked in a 35-footer at the buzzer for a 43-38 score at halftime.
—Field Level Media