No. 23 USC missed a golden opportunity to make up a game in the Pac-12 standings on Friday night.
No. 11 Oregon lost to Colorado on Thursday night, dropping back into a tie for first place in the league with the Trojans, a game ahead of No. 17 Arizona. But USC fell at Arizona State, 74-67, keeping them a game off of the pace that the Ducks have set.
The loss is even more painful when you consider that, on Sunday, the Trojans will be making the trip to Tucson to take on Arizona. The Wildcats are not what we have become accustomed to seeing under Sean Miller, but they are still a top 25 team and the McKale Center is still one of the toughest places in the country to get a win.
Thanks to Friday’s loss, instead of entering McKale with an outside chance of taking over sole possession of first place in the league, USC will have top hope they don’t fall two games off the pace.
As far as the game itself was concerned, USC committed 17 turnovers, shot 2-for-11 from three and gave up 16 offensive rebounds to Arizona State. That’s how you lose a game where you shoot better than 51 percent from the floor. USC was just never able to consistently get out into transition, and that caused them to struggle executing in the half court.
Nikola Jovanovic led the way with 25 points and 15 boards for USC.
Tra Holder’s 20 points made the difference for Arizona State, who kept themselves within striking distance of an at-large bid with the win.