Both teams traded baskets the entire first half. Arizona State caught fire from behind the arc. Arizona State’s Justice, who averages just 8 ppg scored 12 points in the first half. He scored nine of his points in the first five minutes and all of his points came from behind the arc. The Sun Devils shot 62.5 percent from 3 and 53.1 percent from the field. Tra Holder, the Sun Devils second leading scorer at 17 ppg, scored 12 points as well. Obinna Oleka pitched in nine points. Andre Adams was the surprise of the first half. Adams who hadn’t seen much time all year came off the bench and scored five points and grabbed five rebounds. For the Trojans they had balanced scoring across the board. Their leading scorer Bennie Boatwright (14.9 ppg) led the way for the Trojans with 10 points. Elijah Stewart also pitched in 10 points. USC shot 69.2 percent from the field and 53.3 percent from behind the arc. Chimezie Metu (14.3 ppg) scored nine points in the first half. Metu hit a half court buzzer beater at the end of the half to give the Trojans a 48-47 lead going into halftime.
The Trojans and Sun Devils started off a little slow to start the second half, but it didn’t take long for either team to pick it up. Justice picked up where he left off knocking down a deep three and getting into the lane to score. Oleka had a big second half finishing the game with 18 points and 10 rebounds. When you thought ASU was going to pull away, the Trojans came back . Boatwright caught fire in the second half bringing out his full arsenal, getting it done it the paint and from behind the arc. He finished the game with 22 points and five rebounds, shooting 8-of-12 from the field and 5-of-8 from behind the arc. Metu was a beast on the boards grabbing 13 rebounds and scoring 14 points to finish out the game. The Trojans shot 44.8 percent from the field in the second half.
The Sun Devils who rely so much on the 3-point shot all season, only shot 25 percent from behind the arc and 39.4 percent from the field in the second half. As the game winded down it seem like all USC had to do was take care of the ball and knock in some free throws. ASU put together a comeback down by six, getting a big layup from Holder to cut the lead to four. ASU had to foul on the inbound pass to force USC to make free throws. Elijah Stewart went to the line for a 1-and-1, and missed the first free throw with 22 seconds left in the game. ASU then got a big three from Justice with 14 seconds left to play to cut USC’s lead to 82-81. USC’s Boatwright then turned the ball over on the inbound pass and Holder drove to the basket and got fouled with 6.9 seconds left in the game. He made both free throws giving the Sun Devils an 83-82 lead. USC got a good last look from behind the arc, but the shot was no good. Holder finished the game with 18 points and six assists.
The Sun Devils improve to 14-16 on the year and 7-10 in conference play. They take on their rivals, the Arizona Wildcats in Tempe on March 4th. The Wildcats won the previous matchup between the two. As for USC, they fall to 21-8 and 8-8 in conference play. They take on the Washington State Cougars in Los Angeles on March 1st.
This article was written by Ryan Lawless, a correspondent and scout for NetScouts Basketball. You can subscribe to our RSS feed from the upper right corner of our home page, follow us on Facebook, or on twitter.
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