clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Trojans Fall to No. 1 Arizona, 73-53

20-shot photo gallery of USC's 73-53 loss against No. 1 Arizona Sunday evening at the Galen Center.

The USC Trojans hung with No. 1 Arizona, but the Wildcats (17-0, 4-0) pulled away in the final nine minutes, outscoring USC 25-10 down the stretch Sunday night at the Galen Center.

The Trojans (9-7, 0-3) employed a 2-3 zone defense for the majority of the game in order to keep the Wildcats out of the paint, but pass-first point guard T.J. McConnell came up clutch from deep. McConnell, a transfer from Duquesne, had an Arizona career-high 19 points, knocking down five 3-pointers.

USC led by as many as four points in the first half and trailed by only three points, 34-31, at halftime. Arizona opened the second half on an 8-0 run, but the Trojans battled back. A Strahinja Gavrilovic old-fashioned three-point play cut Arizona's lead to 48-43 with 9:22 remaining, but it was as close as USC would get.

The Wildcats pushed the lead up to double digits and after Byron Wesley made a a layup to make it 55-47 with 5:44 remaining, Arizona went on an 18-4 run keyed by four of USC's 18 turnovers (12 in the second half).

"When we cut it to five midway in the second half, we had a chance to to stay in the game, but we didn't do that," USC head coach Andy Enfield said. "Out guards have to do a better job of executing. Eighteen turnovers is too many."

Wesley finished with a team-high 18 points and six rebounds while Gavrilovic, who was averaging 1.6 points per game, tallied a career-high 10 points in a career-high 19 minutes.

"I used my chance and tried to play aggressively," Gavrilovic said. " Unfortunately, we played really good basketball for 35 minutes, but took some bad shots and had bad turnovers and that caused us to lose."

Arizona had four players finish in double figures. Brandon Ashley tied McConnell for a game-high 19 points while Nick Johnson had 15 and Aaron Gordon scored 12 points. The Wildcats shot 50 percent in the second half to help them improve to a school-best 17-0 start.

"We all will cherish this school record," Arizona head coach Sean Miller said. "When you break a University of Arizona basketball record, it means a lot because of the tradition."

USC will return to the road on Thursday when it travels to Utah at 7 p.m. MT. Top-ranked Arizona will host rival Arizona State Thursday night at 7 p.m. MT.