USC gets blown out by Arizona, as 3-point shooting looms as a central factor for Trojans

The USC Trojans don’t shoot 3-pointers well on most game nights. We know this, or at least, if you have followed us and followed the Trojan basketball program in recent years, you should know this.

It was therefore not surprising at all that USC hit just 4 of 17 3-pointers on Thursday night in Tucson against the Arizona Wildcats.

USC can’t ever expect to win games with its 3-point shooting. What USC can much more reasonably expect is to run opponents off the 3-point line and prevent opponents from getting hot behind the arc. USC has to minimize 3-point damage from opposing offenses. It failed to do so at Washington State on New Year’s Day, allowing the Cougars to hit 14 triples in a loss to Wazzu.

When USC doesn’t defend the 3-point line, bad things happen.

Bad things happened in Tucson.

Arizona hit 12 of 24 treys versus the Trojans. Courtney Ramey, the transfer from Texas, hit 5 of 10 long balls. Pelle Larsson added two. Arizona’s guards — who have not been playing well for much of the season — played well on Thursday. Arizona guards scored 54 of the Wildcats’ 81 points (67 percent) and led the U of A to an easy 81-66 win over USC in a game which was never particularly close.

USC can’t win games when its defense gets shredded like that. The sad part is that USC actually forced 18 turnovers, but when Arizona didn’t turn the ball over, the ball was going through the hoop, especially from 3-point range. Arizona shot 48.3 percent, 50 from 3-point range. USC simply can’t win with those defensive numbers.

The Trojans go to Tempe to face Arizona State for a very big game on Saturday night.

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Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire