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Nick Rakocevic, Elijah Weaver rally USC over Utah

Nick Rakocevic scored 16 points with 15 rebounds, Elijah Weaver added 14 points and Southern California rallied for a 56-52 victory over Utah on Thursday night to win for the fourth time in the past five games.

Onyeka Okongwu added 11 points and 11 rebounds, while Jonah Mathews had 13 points, as the Trojans (17-4, 6-2) used a 12-0 run midway through the second half to erase a nine-point deficit.

USC trailed by as many as 10 points in the first half and rallied from a double-digit deficit for a victory in consecutive home games. They erased a 21-point second-half deficit on Jan. 18 to earn an overtime victory over Stanford.

Timmy Allen scored 13 points and Branden Carlson added 11 for the Utes (12-8, 3-5), who were coming off a home sweep of Washington and Washington State last week. But Carlson missed two free throws with 42 seconds remaining that would have given the Utes the lead.

Rakocevic’s tip in off an Okongwu miss with 18 seconds remaining put USC into the lead for good at 54-52. Okongwu sealed the victory on two free throws with five seconds remaining.

USC trailed 16-6 just over 11 minutes into the game during a rough shooting first half for both teams. Utah shot 38.5% from the field over the opening 20 minutes, while the Trojans shot 35%. Utah had a 29-23 lead at halftime.

The Utes appeared in control when an Allen layup with 12:34 remaining gave them a 40-31 advantage. The Trojans picked up the intensity by going on a 12-0 run, with seven of the points scored by Weaver.

Weaver pumped his fist when his fastbreak layup gave USC a 41-40 lead with 7:21 remaining for the Trojans’ first advantage of the game. The Utes went scoreless over a 6:08 stretch as USC rallied.

Utah moved back on top 52-50 on a layup from Allen with 1:04 remaining but Mathews made two free throws with 55 seconds remaining to tie the game again at 52-52.

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