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USC season likely over with loss to Washington in Pac-12 Tournament

LAS VEGAS — With seven seconds left, Nick Rakocevic grabbed a rebound following a missed free throw and dribbled toward midcourt.
It was a final chance for USC to tie Washington in its comeback attempt in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 tournament.
But the possession sputtered.
Rakocevic spotted Shaqquan Aaron, who was standing along the sideline near the 3-point arc, but his pass went out of bounds.
The Trojans fell short against the Huskies 78-75 on Wednesday afternoon at T-Mobile Arena in a loss that ended their season at 16-17 overall.
They will miss the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive season and are not expected to receive an at-large berth for the NIT, which has never taken a team with a losing record since its field was downsized from 40 to 32 teams in 2007.
Critical errors in the closing moments spoiled the Trojans’ effort. They committed four of their 17 turnovers in the final three minutes.
Point guard Derryck Thornton had a cross-court pass intercepted with 32 seconds left by Matisse Thybulle, who finished with a windmill dunk that put the Huskies ahead by six points. Thybulle’s slam followed a 3-pointer made by Dominic Green on the previous possession.
It was the final spurt needed after Jonah Mathews made a 3-pointer with 1:10 left that cut the Huskies’ lead to a point.
USC never led against Washington, but hung around even as it fell behind by as many as 12 points late in the first half.
It shortened the deficit to a 43-38 margin at halftime as Kevin Porter Jr. banked in a 3-point heave at the buzzer.
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Porter, the expected one-and-done freshman who has suffered through an injury-riddled season, scored a career-high 17 points for the Trojans in 34 minutes off the bench.
Rakocevic and Mathews also finished with 17 points. It helped them cope with a slow start from Bennie Boatwright, their leading scorer who did not make his first 3-pointer until the final minutes of the first half, missing his first two attempts from beyond the arc.
The Trojans often had trouble defending Washington’s perimeter players, and the Huskies made 13 of their 28 3-point attempts, a clip of 46.4 percent.

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