Survive and advance is the motto and the USC Trojans did just that. The Trojans defeated the Arizona Wildcats 78-65 in round one of the 2019 Pac-12 Tournament.
FINAL: USC 78, Arizona 65— USC Men's Basketball (@USC_Hoops) March 13, 2019
USC punches its ticket to the second round of the #Pac12Hoops Tournament to face No. 1 seed Washington!#FightOn pic.twitter.com/7wpnZUAHY5
Arizona took a 8-2 lead after USC started 1-7 from the field. After that the Trojans went on a 18-4 scoring run to take a 21-12 lead. By halftime USC and Arizona were tied at the half. During the second half it was all USC thanks to an offensive onslaught where the Trojans were able to get baskets in transition and from beyond the arc. USC defensively held Arizona in check with 6 steals and held the Wildcats to 22.7 percent shooting from three point land. USC’s victory over Arizona is their first over the program in the conference tournament after dropping their last 5 meetings to the Wildcats.
Bennie Boatwright led the game in scoring with 22 points. He also added 11 rebounds which was also a game high. The senior forward found his rhythm offensively which was needed by the Trojans today. Senior guard Shaqquan Aaron added 11 points while guard Derryck Thornton contributed 12 points and 3 steals off the bench for the Trojans in his hometown Las Vegas. Freshman guard Kevin Porter Jr. was available to play and brought some much needed scoring from the bench adding 9 points and 4 rebounds.
On the Arizona side, Forward Ryan Luther had 16 points while team leading scorer in Brandon Williams added 13. Wildcats forward Ira Lee did what he could to keep them in the game with his 11 points and 5 rebounds. Arizona showed a lot of hustle by blocking shots in transition, however the tale of the game for the Wildcats was the 12 turnovers and the off shooting game from three point land.
With the win, USC will advance to the second round to face the No. 1 seed Washington Huskies at 12 PM PDT. The Huskies defeated the Trojans at home 75-62 back in late January. It was their lone meeting of the season.