for this game

Young carries USC over Arizona

Jan 19, 2007 - 7:27 AM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Tough competition is bringing out the best in Southern California.

Nick Young scored a season-high 30 points to lead the Trojans to an 80-73 victory over No. 12 Arizona in a Pac-10 Conference matchup.

Playing its sixth ranked opponent of the season - and fifth in a seven-game stretch - USC (14-5, 4-2 Pac-10) shot the lights out in the second half to improve to 4-2 against teams in the top 25.

Young scored 22 of his 30 points in the second half on 9-of-11 shooting, helping the Trojans shoot 69 percent (18-of-26) after the break.

"We're just trying to get respect out there," Young said. "We're the underdog team and we're learning how to play together. They've got a lot of guys that could go to the NBA so we're just happy we contained them down the stretch."

Lodrick Stewart and Gabriel Pruitt added 18 and 16 points, respectively, for USC, which squandered a 10-point second-half lead in losing to city rival UCLA, 65-64, on Saturday.

"We were all nervous from the UCLA game and we knew we had to bounce back," Young said. "That's what good teams do, is bounce back off of bad losses. We knew we had to get this one."

Arizona (13-4, 4-3) suffered its second straight loss and third in four contests following a 13-game winning streak.

The Wildcats' recent struggles with their 3-point shooting continued as they were 4-of-15 from the arc. In the past four games, they are just 16-of-69 on 3-point attempts.

Arizona coach Lute Olson was also frustrated at his team's inability to take care of the ball.

"In the second half, you can't give them 24 points off turnovers and expect to win," Olson said. "We had 17 turnovers to their 12. The bad part is how many points they scored off those turnovers. I told the guys in the locker room that they need to play their hardest during this game, especially on defense."

Arizona led the entire first half until USC converted a pair of follow shots in the final minute. Young tapped home a rebound as the buzzer sounded to send the Trojans to the locker room with a 33-29 lead.

"He's a really great player," Olson said of Young. "It takes mental and physical fitness to play this game and he's got that."

An 11-2 spurt punctuated by Young's dunk gave USC a 54-44 lead with 10:56 to play, but Arizona answered with a 7-0 run to get back in the game.

Ivan Radenovic converted a three-point play to bring the Wildcats within 66-64 with 4:44 left, but Keith Wilkinson beat the shot clock with a 3-pointer from the left corner and Young hit a baseline jumper to push the margin to seven with 3:43 to go.

Arizona, which was paced by Mustafa Shakur and Marcus Williams with 19 points apiece, never got the lead under four thereafter.

"Nick Young was terrific in the second half," Trojans coach Tim Floyd said. "I just thought he played terrific. Lodrick kept us hanging around in the first half with some big baskets."