The last time Arizona and USC competed the Trojans pulled off the upset in a thrilling victory in four overtimes. This time around the Trojans were playing away from the Galen Center. USC has dominated at home but have been far more pedestrian on the road.
Arizona jumped out to an early 6-0 lead but USC clawed back into it before Arizona jumped back out to a 22-14 lead. Arizona had a size advantage in the matchup but USC had the tempo advantage. Unfortunately for the Trojans Arizona was able to keep up with the tempo allowing them to stay comfortably ahead of USC in the first half.
With less than 10 minutes left in the first half the Arizona defense clamped down and the Trojans could not find a bucket for several minutes allowing the Cats to extend their lead to 11. USC was once again looking outmatched on the road. The Trojans continued to fight as the first half continued but the offensive sloppiness that featured turnovers, traveling, and even a double dribble call plagued USC. The Trojans just seemed unable to compete on the road on a big stage while Arizona really began to impose their will.
Arizona would head to halftime up by 16, 46-30. Bennie Boatwright, however, played well and was able to keep the Trojans somewhat competitive.
Unfortunately for the Trojans not much changed at the half as Arizona still maintained a 16 point lead six and a half minutes in to the second half. USC looked good in spots and Boatwright continued to play well after a disappointing game against Arizona State but Arizona would continue to hold a double-digit lead. USC, however, had slowly begun to cut into t the deficit.
The Trojans began slowly chipping away at the lead and was to trim the deficit down to single digits eventually closing to within 6 points with eight minutes left in the game. USC was able to find success by dialing up the defensive pressure and not allowing Arizona's big men to get easy shots and attacking on offense. Despite the struggles the Trojans would just not go away.
Consecutive threes from Bennie Boatwright and McGlaughlin brought the score to 70-68 with just over six minutes left to play. The crowd was still in the game but finally so were the Trojans. After exchanging free throw attempts, missed shots by the Trojans and a three pointer from Arizona's Alonzo Trier, the Wildcats were able to extend the lead to 10 with 3:10 left to play in the game. After closing the gap to just two USC's offensive sloppiness had unfortunately returned allowing Arizona to go on the 7-0 run. The Trojans would once again need a hot streak to end the game if they wanted any hope of winning.
Arizona 79, USC 69 w/ 3:10 to play… A 9-1 run by the Wildcats puts the Trojans down 10. #FightOn— USC Men's Basketball (@USC_Hoops) February 15, 2016
USC continued to miss critical shots down the stretch going several minutes without scoring any points. Meanwhile Arizona continued to keep the pressure on. With an 83-72 lead and less than a minute left USC began fouling. It would not be enough however as the USC Trojans fall to Arizona 86-78.
The Trojans fought hard, but the offense missed critical opportunities and Arizona far out performed at the free throw line. Yet another loss on the road for the Trojans who were swept this weekend in the state of Arizona. USC is back in action Wednesday night at 8pm in the Galen Center hosting Colorado.