GAMES NOTES: With just two games left to play the Arizona State Sun Devils will try to put an end to a rough stretch when they visit the USC Trojans in a Pac-12 bout at the Galen Center.
This is the second straight game in Los Angeles for Arizona State which is coming off a 79-74 overtime disappointment against UCLA on Wednesday. The loss was the fourth in the last six games for the Sun Devils who despite owning a 20-9 overall record are projected to be on the bubble in terms of NCAA Tournament consideration. In league play Arizona State is hovering above .500 (9-7) with its final bout of the regular season a massive showdown on the road against intrastate rival Arizona next weekend.
It was that same Arizona squad that USC laid waste to on Wednesday in an 89-78 upset victory in the second game of a three-game homestand. The win ended a two-game slide for the Trojans who, at 13-15, can only hope to earn an NCAA Tournament berth with a surprise run in the Pac-12 Tournament. The Trojans' seeding is unlikely to be favorable as they are just 8-7 in league action. USC will play on the road in its final two games against Washington and Washington State.
When these teams met in Tempe earlier in the season, Arizona State came away with a hard-fought, 98-93, overtime victory. The Sun Devils have won the last three meetings between these squads, although USC still leads the all-time series, 51-36.
Jahii Carson came up big at the end of regulation with a layup with 39 seconds remaining that knotted the score and sent the Sun Devils to overtime with UCLA. The two squads were deadlocked, 72-72, once again in the extra session but the Sun Devils missed their final eight shots from the floor to surrender the decision.
Carson (17.7 ppg, 5.1 apg) poured in a team-high 22 points against UCLA for his 13th 20-point effort of the season. The freshman phenom needs just three more showings like that to tie James Harden for the most 20-point games by a freshman in school history. Carrick Felix (14.3 ppg, 8.3 rpg) is also putting together a stellar season. The athletic forward has recorded nine double- doubles in league play which is tied for the most in the Pac-12. Evan Gordon (10.6 ppg) is the only other double-figure scorer for the Sun Devils though he has been relegated to a reserve role of late. Jordan Bachynski (9.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 3.7 bpg) doesn't score a ton but really protects the rim and needs just eight more blocks to set the single-season record for swats by a Sun Devil.
Eric Wise knocked down 9-of-12 shots from the floor for a game-high 22 points to lead the Trojans over Arizona. Four other players scored in double figures for the Trojans who shot 61.1 percent from the floor in the contest to overcome 17 turnovers.
Wise's effort against Arizona was a welcome sight for USC. The 6-foot-6 forward leads the team in scoring (12.3 ppg) but had been outside double figures in three of the previous five games, while failing to get over 12 in seven straight. Jio Fontan (9.7 ppg, 5.2 apg) showed how off and on he can be against Arizona as he scored 12 points and handed out nine assists, but also coughed the ball up seven times. J.T. Terrell (11.3 ppg) and Byron Wesley (10.6 ppg) team with Fontan in the backcourt for the Trojans as the only other double-figure scorers on the roster. In fact they are the only other players putting in more than 6.5 points per game for the Trojans who rank in the bottom three teams in points scored (66.8 pg).
Consistency has not been USC's strong suit as the Trojans have posted some impressive wins but not regularly. Now that the Trojans have the Sun Devils at home perhaps they can make up for the loss earlier in the season, although that will be a tall order.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arizona State 73, USC 71
03/02 10:33:37 ET
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