“When we came to the front of Staples Center, I saw (Kobe Bryant’s) picture and was thinking about all the big plays he’s made, like his shot against the Phoenix Suns in last year’s playoffs,” Young said. “That was an inspiration to me.” Young’s basket with 10 seconds remaining tied the score at 69-69, leaving enough time for Stanford to get one last shot. Anthony Goods got by Gabe Pruitt and thought he had a good look at the basket, but Taj Gibson came out to help and swatted the ball away. It went out to Lawrence Hill, who missed a desperation shot at the buzzer. “I knew to watch Goods coming down because he’s their best shooter,” Gibson said. “When Gabe gave me that look saying, `Help’, I just jumped up and got a big block.” Gibson got his fourth foul with more than 14 minutes left but kept up his intensity on defense and didn’t foul out. USC trailed 54-44 before going on a 19-5 run led by Pruitt, who hit a 3-pointer off a pass from Young to tie the game at 59-59. Young said that he had never seen Pruitt so serious as he was in the second half. “It clicked in my head,” Pruitt said. “This could be it. I didn’t want this to be my last game. You never know with Selection Sunday.” Senior Lodrick Stewart, who had just two points in regulation, faked a 3-pointer and drove to the basket for a layup with under a minute to go in overtime to put USC ahead 76-73. Pruitt stole the ball from Kenny Brown at midcourt and scored on the other end to put the game away. “We’ve never won a (Pac-10 Tournament) game since I’ve been here, so it’s very emotional for the upperclassmen and the underclassmen,” Young said. [email protected] (818) 713-3607 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Then Nick Young pumped his fist and Lodrick Stewart clapped his hands over his head as the Trojans brought the ball up the court in overtime, for the first time knowing that a victory was in hand. All week, USC players and coaches had scoffed at the doubts that they needed a victory in the Pacific-10 Conference Tournament to ensure a berth in the NCAA Tournament. But, with the game slipping away Thursday, their actions and expressions said otherwise. Young drained a long jumper in the final seconds of regulation to force overtime and the Trojans ran away from Stanford in the extra period for an 83-79 victory at Staples Center. “For the first time, I can relax and know we’re in the tournament,” Young said. “Last season, we were fighting for the NIT and lost some big games down the stretch. Now we feel comfortable that we’re in the NCAAs.” Despite six victories over ranked teams, there was some question as to how safe the Trojans (22-10) would be on Selection Sunday if they entered with three consecutive losses and an even split of their final 10 games. Now it’s Stanford (18-12) that will have to sweat it out Sunday while the Trojans, who advanced to the semifinals to face Washington State tonight, can enjoy knowing they are likely in their first NCAA Tournament in five years. Young, who scored a game-high 26 points, thought of his NBA idol when called upon by Floyd to take USC’s biggest shot of the season. Tim Floyd slammed his hand on the court three times during a timeout after Stanford scored an easy layup to move ahead by double-digits midway through the second half, his face turning bright red as he shouted at the defender. Gabe Pruitt skipped toward the sidelines waving his arms to get the crowd going as USC made its late run to get back in the game.