Following an encouraging outing against Washington, the ASU basketball team returned home hoping to build off its effort and end its five game conference losing streak. Standing in its way was a USC which had lost three of its last four. The game had all the dramatics for a Hollywood script, but in the end, the Trojans conquered the Sun Devils, squeaking out a 63-61 win in front of 7,638 at Wells Fargo Arena.
Nikola Vucevic had 26 points and 12 rebounds, and Maurice Jones added 14 for USC, which improved to 12-9, and 4-4 in Pac-10 play. ASU fell to 9-11, and 1-7 in the Pac-10. The Trojans won for just the fifth time in their last 22 games away from Los Angeles.
Rihards Kuksiks scored 22 points, Ty Abbott had 19, and Trent Lockett chipped in 13 more for the Sun Devils, who are off to their worst start in conference play since coach Herb Sendek’s first season in Tempe.
It was a tale of two halves for ASU. The Sun Devils were energetic coming out of the gates, taking leads of 19-8 and 28-20 at two different points in the half. But the Trojans were resilient, cutting the deficit to just two, 31-29 at halftime.
In the second half USC imposed its will down low, as Vucevic and Alex Stepheson combined to score the first 12 points for the Trojans, who kept the deficit at two.
USC took its biggest lead of the game of eight late in the half, thanks to a 14-2 run that spanned over seven minutes.
Kuksiks gave the Sun Devils a much needed spark, hitting three consecutive three-pointers to get ASU within one.
The game got dramatic in the final minute, as Kuksiks tied the game at 58 on a pair of free throws.
ASU then appeared to have stopped USC on its ensuing possession, but freshman Kyle Cain was called for a push-off on Vucevic, who made both of his free throws to make it 60-58.
The Sun Devils called timeout and designed a play for Abbott, but he turned the ball over, leading to two more USC free throws.
ASU trailed 62-58 with 35 seconds left, but a three-pointer by Lockett cut the lead to one with 20 seconds left.
Following a made free throw by Garrett Jackson, the Sun Devils had a chance to either tie the game or win it in regulation, but Abbott missed an off-balance three-pointer.
The ball went out of bounds with 0.5 left, but Abbott missed a three-point attempt at the buzzer.
The stat of the night that will frustrate ASU is the free throw percentage. The Sun Devils were just 12-of-25 from the line.
ASU will play host to UCLA on Saturday afternoon, you can listen to the call of the game right here on blazeradioonline.com.
This entry was posted on Friday, January 28th, 2011 at 2:26 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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