USC lets opportunity, Arizona State slip away late

Feb 09, 2018
  • By Sean Frye
  • Diehards

In a Pac-12 showdown with plenty on the line for both teams, Tra Holder hit a game-winning floater with 1.4 seconds remaining to lift Arizona State over USC.

The loss denied the Trojans a chance to tie Arizona atop the Pac-12 standings. USC now sits at 17-8 overall and 8-4 in the conference, just a single game behind the Wildcats. Meanwhile, Arizona State moved to 18-6 overall and 6-6 in the league.

3 Who Mattered

Tra Holder: In addition to hitting the game-winning shot, Holder led all scorers on the night with 22 points on 6-of-15 shooting from the field. While not blisteringly efficient from the floor, Holder hedged that by going 9-of-12 from the foul line.

Nick Rakocevic: In 24 minutes of action, he led USC with 19 points on a perfect 6-of-6 shooting night from the floor. The sophomore forward also added 7 rebounds, a steal and a rebound to his tally.

Shannon Evans II: Just a point behind Holder’s pace, Evans II dropped 21 points for the Sun Devils.

Observations

USC totally blew it: According to ESPN, with 3:39 left in the game following an offensive rebound from Chimezie Metu and USC leading 75-68, USC had a 92.8% chance to win the game. Instead, Arizona State stormed back and finished the game on a 12-3 run capped by Holder’s game winner.

Too many turnovers for the Trojans: USC simply couldn’t maintain control of the ball against Arizona State, losing the turnover battle 18-6(!). A wise man once said that ball security is job security. Well, the Trojans’ problems with ball security cost themselves a promotion to first place in the Pac-12.

As Tra Holder goes, so does Arizona State: Over Arizona State’s last 4 games, Holder has scored 20 or more points 3 times. The Sun Devils’ lone loss in that stretch is the only time he failed to do so — a Feb. 1 loss to Washington. The Sun Devils seem to be course-correcting after a rough start to Pac-12 play, and it’s been Holder to lead the way in that effort.

Turning Point

With 51 seconds left to play, Evans II buried a game-tying 3-pointer to put the game at 78-78. Holder’s game-winner were the last points of the game, but it was Evans II that completed a wild comeback for Arizona State.

What’s Next for USC, Arizona State

USC gets an immediate second chance to climb into first place in the Pac-12 as they travel to Arizona on Saturday, while Arizona State faces UCLA at home the same day.

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