March 7, 2003
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Nate Robinson ran through holes as though he were still playing football.
Robinson, who returns kicks for Washington's football team, scored 18 points as the Huskies beat Southern California 95-89 Thursday night to complete a series sweep of the Trojans for the first time since 1998.
Southern California (10-16, 5-12 Pacific 10 Conference) failed to clinch a spot in the Pac-10 tournament, but can still get in with a win against Washington State on Saturday.
Washington (10-16, 5-12) gets a spot in the tournament if the Trojans lose on Saturday and the Huskies beat UCLA.
Robinson's speed and quickness proved to be the difference for most of the game, as the 5-foot-8 freshman cut through the Trojans defense for several easy layups.
"That's what he's done since he joined us," said Washington coach Lorenzo Romar. "It was kind of a typical performance for him. He's been our scorer the last eight or nine games."
Curtis Allen added 17 points while Brandon Roy scored 16 for Washington, which broke a four-game losing streak.
The Trojans were down 73-69 with 11:19 remaining but went on a 20-6 run to take a 83-79 lead with 6:16 remaining. Errick Craven helped ignite the comeback, scoring 11 points during the charge.
"That was a big run for us," said Craven, who scored 19 points. "We got back into the game and we got the crowd into the game."
USC was not able to keep the lead for long as the Huskies answered quickly, going on a 6-0 run to take an 85-83 lead with 4:18 remaining.
"That's the way this year has gone for us," USC coach Henry Bibby said. "They wanted it more than we did. They fought harder, they deserved the game. We didn't play defense. You lose games like that."
The Trojans tied the game at 87-87 with 1:13 remaining, but Washington scored the next four points to take a 91-87 lead with 25.9 seconds remaining.
USC's final attempt to score was thwarted when Roydell Smiley stepped out of bounds with 17.9 seconds remaining.
"It seemed like we lost our concentration, got a technical, stepped out of bounds and took some bad shots," said Bibby. "They were getting layups and we weren't getting any good shots."
The Trojans' long-running tendency to blow late-game leads has become a parody of itself this season, leaving players nearly speechless after the game.
"We didn't finish, just like always," said Craven. "It's been the story of our season."
Desmon Farmer led USC with 23 points while Jerry Dupree scored a career-high 17,
The Trojans lost their seventh game in a row, but can still revive their season with a win on Saturday.
"We don't plan on losing," said Dupree. "We're due for a run any day now."
The lead went back and forth in the first half as Washington jumped out to a 13-2 lead after going on a 11-0 run.
USC answered with a 13-2 run to tie the game at 15-15 with 12:46 remaining.
Neither team was able to pull away as both exchanged baskets, leaving the game tied at 37-37 after Jerry Dupree made a slam dunk with 2:23 remaining.
Washington then went on a 7-0 run to take a 44-37 lead with 1:41 remaining in the first half.
USC quickly responded with a 6-0 run to get within one, 44-43, with 40 seconds remaining.
Washington took a 45-43 lead into halftime.