USC men’s basketball loses fourth straight Pac-12 game, fades late at Arizona State

In another disappointing performance in the desert, the USC Trojans endured a tough defeat against the Arizona State University Sun Devils, losing 82-67. This marks the Trojans’ second consecutive 15-point loss and extends their losing streak to four games in the Pac-12 Conference. With this defeat, USC’s overall record now stands at 8-11, with a conference record of 2-6.

The ongoing challenge for USC coach Andy Enfield in this game was the continued absence of star guard Boogie Ellis and freshman phenom Isaiah Collier. Bronny James had 7 points, 4 rebounds and a team leading 5 assists, but he looked hesitant and a step slow due to the incessant pressure on the ball by ASU that led to his three turnovers.  Without a proven point guard, USC struggled to find its rhythm on both ends of the court.

The game started with promise for USC. The Trojans shot a remarkable 54% from the field and 57% beyond the arc in the first half. However, their success was marred by sloppy ball-handling and passing, leading to a staggering 15 turnovers.

Arizona State’s coach, Bobby Hurley, implemented a full-court press that capitalized on USC’s lack of ballhandlers. Despite a double-double effort by Vince Iwuchukwu, who contributed a game-high 14 points and 12 rebounds, the Trojans were unable to overcome ASU’s defensive pressure.

Turnovers continued to haunt the Trojans, reaching a season-high of 22. These turnovers translated into fast-break points for ASU, with a significant +16 advantage. Furthermore, the Sun Devils capitalized on USC’s mistakes, scoring 24 points off turnovers.  The discrepancy in steals was notable, with ASU recording 12 steals compared to USC’s 3. This issue plagued the Trojans in their previous game against the Arizona Wildcats, resulting in an identical score and similar loss.

A hot start to the second half for ASU’s Frankie Collins — who scored eight straight points — stretched the lead to 51-40 for the Sun Devils. In a game of runs, ASU went on a final 17-2 run down the stretch to push its lead near 20 inside the final three minutes, sealing USC’s fate.

Jose Perez emerged as a key player for the Sun Devils, leading the way with impressive 50% shooting from the floor. He contributed 20 points to his team’s victory.

Next up for the Trojans is a home game against their crosstown rival, the UCLA Bruins.  The game tips off just after 5 p.m. local time at USC’s Galen center.  It will be televised on ESPN2 and the radio broadcast is on KABC 790 AM.

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Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire