LOS ANGELES – Nikola Jovanovic had 13 points, 11 rebounds and game-saving block and Southern California held off a late rally to beat Cal State Fullerton 53-49 on Tuesday night.
Darion Clark had 10 points and 14 rebounds for the Trojans (3-3), who have alternated wins and losses every game this season.
Junior guard Lanerryl Johnson scored 21 points with five 3-pointers to lead the Titans (1-3).
USC led just 51-49 with 35 seconds remaining. The Titans had three shots at the basket to take the lead or tie but missed all of them. After Jovanovic missed the front end of a one-and-one to give Fullerton another chance, Johnson drove for the tying layup with nine seconds left but had it blocked by Jovanovic. Julian Jacobs picked up the loose ball, raced down the floor and dunked it in the final seconds to secure USC's win.
Both teams shot under 40 percent. The Trojans were 23 of 59 from the field (39 percent) while the Titans had nearly as many turnovers (17) as made field goals (18).
USC's last three games have been decided by a combined eight points.
The Trojans led 37-21 with early in the second half but Fullerton chipped away and cut USC's lead to 44-42 with five minutes to go
The back-and-forth continued until it was 51-49 with 1:33 to go. Neither team could add to their point total despite multiple opportunities, and it came down to Jovanovic's key block in the final seconds and Jacobs' dunk to secure the win.
Cal State Fullerton: The Titans are 0-5 all-time against USC dating back to 2002.
USC: Freshman forward Malik Martin was diagnosed with a bone contusion in his right knee and is week-to-week. He suffered the injury Nov. 21 against Drexel and had an MRI on Monday.
Cal State Fullerton: Plays Wright State on Thursday in the Spartanburg (S.C.) Marriott Upstate Classic
USC: Visits New Mexico on Sunday