Jayce Johnson’s double-double leads Utah past USC, 77-70

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LOS ANGELES (ABC4 Sports) – This Utah basketball team is difficult to figure out.

The Utes lost twice at home to Oregon and Oregon State, then go on the road and hand USC their first Pac-12 home loss of the season.

Jayce Johnson scored 13 points and pulled down 13 rebounds, as the Utes built a 23-point lead and held on for a 77-70 victory over the Trojans.

Both Gach added 15 points, while Sedrick Barefield scored 13 as the Utes moved into a tie for third place in the Pac-12 at 6-4, 12-10 overall.

Donnie Tillman added 12 points off the bench, as the Utes defense held the Trojans to just 38 percent shooting.

Utah took a 20-point lead with 2:12 left in the first half, but the Trojans scored the final six points to trail 37-23 at the break. Utah outrebounded the Trojans 24-12 in the half and held USC to 32-percent shooting.

The teams entered as the top two in 3-point percentage in the conference, but Utah was just 6 of 15 while USC hit 2 of 11 in the first half. The Trojans connected on 7 of 16 in the second half to make their run.

Jonah Matthews led USC with 18 points, while Bennie Boatwright had 17 points — all but two coming in the second half — and 12 rebounds.

Utah lost both meetings against the Trojans last year by a combined 33 points.

Utah will go for the L.A. sweep Saturday at UCLA.

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