TUCSON, Arizona (Ticker) -- Arizona was facing the possibility of its first three-game losing streak in nearly 12 years before deciding to play some smothering defense.
Salim Stoudamire scored 22 points and the 15th-ranked Wildcats stifled Southern California during a key 14-0 spurt en route to an easy 97-70 win in Pac-10 Conference play.
Stoudamire led six Wildcats in double figures as they turned the game into a rout after a shaky first half. Arizona (15-6 overall, 7-5 Pac-10) last lost three straight to close the 1991-92 season.
"I take pride in my defense, and I got after it tonight," Stoudamire said. "We were playing aggressively and causing turnovers. We don't want to play soft ever again."
Stoudamire had the tough assignment of guarding USC's Desmon Farmer, who torched the Wildcats for a career-high 40 points in the Trojans' 99-90 victory on January 15. Farmer was held to just 11 points on 4-of-15 shooting.
"Salim not only played Farmer physically tough, he played him mentally tough and that was great to see," Arizona coach Lute Olsen said.
"Coming in, I knew their whole team would guard me," Farmer said. "They were more physical and active, they controlled the tempo this time and they couldn't do that in California. It was all about home-court advantage."
Arizona continues to struggle at the outset of games as USC scored the first nine points and led for much of the first half. The Trojans held a 40-39 edge at the half.
"I don't know what in the world is happening to us at the start of the game," Olsen said. "It could have been a lot worse."
A jumper by Gregg Guenther Jr. with 14:31 remaining gave the Trojans their last lead at 53-52 before the Wildcats heated up. USC went nearly 3 1/2 minutes without a basket as Arizona took advantage for a 66-53 cushion.
The Wildcats shot a torrid 68 percent in the second half (19-of-28), while limiting the Trojans to just 27 percent (9-of-34).
Arizona has won 18 straight home meetings with USC, dating back to 1985. The Wildcats improved to 10-1 at the McKale Center.
Guenther led USC (9-12, 4-8) with 17 points. The Trojans turned the ball over 21 times, many of them coming in the second-half Wildcat surge.
"The bottom line is that we didn't protect the basketball," USC coach Henry Bibby said. "We turned the ball over too many times and they took advantage of that on offense."
USC has lost three straight and six of seven since its victory over Arizona.