Jason Washburn struggled from the field but came through when it mattered down the stretch, finishing in double figures with 10 points and five rebounds. The Utes (17-14) committed only six turnovers, matching a season-low set against these same Trojans back on Jan. 12.
“We managed to build ourselves to a couple of double-digit leads but got away from playing the way we were playing,” Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak said. “But I was really proud of our guys. I think we’ve grown this season. Earlier this season this was a kind of game that withered away and we had a hard time closing. We’re thrilled, thrilled to be moving on.
Early on, three-pointers by Glen Dean and Dakarai Tucker opened up a 20-14 lead as the Trojans used their first timeout of the game. With 2:12 to go in the half, Olsen had a couple cracks at the hoop before converting inside for a 34-24 Utah lead
The Utes held a 35-28 lead at the break as it held USC to 34 percent shooting and no three-pointers on five attempts.
In the second half, USC went on a 6-0 run to get within a bucket at 47-45 with 11:22 to play. However, Utah countered with a 13-2 run, getting eight from Loveridge, to push the lead back to double figures at 60-47.
The Trojans trimmed the deficit back to a single possession with a 12-0 run before DuBois scored five in a row. He then found Washburn for a dunk as the Utes pushed the lead back to 67-61 with 1:50 remaining.
“I was just trying to make plays,” DuBois, who also dished four assists, said.
After a USC bucket, Dean converted two free throws and J.T. Terrell answered with a deep three-pointer to make the score 69-66 with 41 seconds left.
The Trojans elected not to foul and forced a turnover but the ball squirted free and they were not able to get a shot off as Utah celebrated the historic win.
“I feel like we’re coming together when we need to come together at the right time,” Washburn said. “We’re going up against a tough defensive team again with arguably the best player in our conference (in Allen Crabbe), and we’re going to have to be even better than we were tonight and we’ll have to take the fight to them.”
Omar Oraby had 18 points and 10 rebounds, while J.T. Terrell added 14 for USC. The Trojans also out-scored Utah 42-14 in the paint.
Utah plays California tomorrow night in the quarterfinals at 7 p.m. MT.