Julian Jacobs scores 15 points to help USC hold off a late Arizona State rally, 75-65



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LOS ANGELES — A twisted ankle wasn't going to stop Julian Jacobs. Not with a milestone victory in sight, and not with his team looking to him to prevent a collapse down the stretch.

Jacobs had 15 points, five assists and four rebounds and made multiple key plays in the final minutes as Southern California held off a furious rally to beat Arizona State 75-65 in its conference home opener Thursday night.

Jacobs, who twisted his left ankle last month and re-aggravated it earlier this week, wasn't expected to play until just before the game.

"I texted coach last night that I'd like to play and he told me to check it again before the game," Jacobs said. "Any time the game is on the line I think we're not reluctant to make the decision for me to play. I'm definitely going to get a lot of ice after this though."

The Trojans (13-3, 2-1 Pac-12) led by as many as 17 in the second half before the Sun Devils (10-5, 0-2) rallied to cut it to 65-63 with 1:49 to go. A two-handed dunk on a fastbreak by Chimezie Metu - assisted by Jacobs - halted the Sun Devils surge and started a 10-2 USC run in the final minute to secure the win.

The Trojans surpassed their win total from all of last season with the victory. They went 12-20 in 2014-15.

Jacobs had eight points, two rebounds, and two assists in the final six minutes to make it happen.

"I didn't think he'd play tonight," USC coach Andy Enfield said. "But he was so emphatic about playing I felt my hands were tied, and he came in here and played a great game."

Bennie Boatwright scored 14 points and Metu and Katin Reinhardt added nine points apiece for the Trojans.

Tra Holder scored 16 of his 21 points in the second half to lead ASU's rally. Willie Atwood and Andre Spight added 11 points each for the Sun Devils.

USC led 54-37 with 9:42 to go before ASU snapped out of a game-long shooting slump and rallied.

Holder made three 3-pointers and Atwood made a pair to bring the Sun Devils back within two.

Holder had an open look from 3 to give ASU the lead with 1:09 left, but it clanked off the rim short. Jacobs picked up the rebound and found Metu streaking down the court, and Metu threw down a furious dunk - his third of the game - to halt ASU's momentum and bring the Galen Center crowd to its feet.

"We didn't play a game I feel like we deserved to win," Sun Devils coach Bobby Hurley said. "We had an open shot to go up under a minute, but I don't know how we got there. We put ourselves in a crazy position."

Jacobs and Reinhardt followed with fastbreak layups of their own off ASU misses, and Darion Clark added an emphatic block in the final seconds to finish it for the Trojans.

"The message throughout the entire game was to finish," Clark said. "Obviously teams are going to go on their runs, we just had to finish and we did."


TIP-INS

Arizona State: The Sun Devils dropped to 2-7 all-time at USC's Galen Center since it opened in 2007..Atwood scored nine of his 11 points in the second half..ASU shot 40 percent (6 of 15) from the free throw line, its worst percentage of the season.

USC: The Trojans are off to their best start since the 2001-02 season. That team also began 13-3.They were in the double bonus the final4:56 of the game and went 4 for 6 from the free throw line in that time.USC outrebounded ASU 42-34, becoming only the fifth team to outrebound the Sun Devils in a game this season.

UP NEXT

Arizona State visits UCLA on Sunday.

USC hosts No. 7 Arizona on Sunday.

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