Isaiah Thomas responded from being benched the game before to score 17 points, Quincy Pondexter added 17 and resurgent Washington cruised to a 79-56 victory over Arizona State on Saturday night in Seattle.
The Huskies (16-7, 6-5 Pac-10) and Sun Devils (16-8, 6-5) are in a five-way tie for second place in the scrambled conference, one game behind California. Seven games remain in the league’s regular season.
Washington coach Lorenzo Romar benched Thomas at times in Thursday’s win over Arizona for not leading the offense efficiently. Unfazed, last season’s Pac-10 freshman of the year ignited a 25-6 run to begin the game as the Huskies avenged a 17-point loss last month.
Justin Holiday had seven points, 10 rebounds and another game-changing night of defense for Washington, which next plays at Cal on Thursday night.
Freshman Demetrius Walker scored 14 points off the bench for the Sun Devils, who looked lethargic while losing for the third time in five games. Rihards Kuksiks had just eight points, after scorching Washington for a career high-tying 27 in January.
USC 54, Stanford 49: The Trojans (14-9, 6-5) had the late-game heroics this time against the Cardinal (10-13, 4-7), avenging an earlier one-point road loss by scoring the game’s final six points for a win at Los Angeles.
The big man for USC in every way was 6-foot-10 sophomore Nikola Vucevic, whose 18th and final point came on his 14th rebound after a missed Marcus Johnson drive with 26.4 seconds left. That score came after four USC tip-in attempts and gave the Trojans the lead for good at 50-49.
Stanford missed a jump shot and a free throw down the stretch, and USC closed it out with four straight free throws.
California 72, UCLA 58: Theo Robertson and Patrick Christopher scored 20 points each, helping the Golden Bears (15-8, 7-4) overcome early dominance by the Bruins (11-12, 6-5) to earn a win at Los Angeles and retain first place in the Pac-10 standings.
Jerome Randle added 14 points for the senior-dominated Bears, who ended their two-game skid and split the season series with UCLA.
The Bruins were led by Michael Roll with 22 points. They had won six straight against Cal and came out highly motivated to lead the Pac-10 title hunt after holding off Stanford 70-59 two days earlier.
UCLA raced to a 22-8 lead in the first half, including 10 by Roll.
Oregon State 62, Oregon 42: The Beavers (10-12, 4-6) outscored the Ducks (12-10, 4-6) 30-17 in the second half to run away with a win at Corvallis, Ore.
Omari Johnson had a season-high 18 points for Oregon State, with 16 in the first half.
Malcolm Armstead and Matt Humphrey had 10 points each for Oregon.