Trojans scorched by Sun Devils
Posted January 6, 2012 at 2:08 am in Basketball
USC dropped its third straight conference game in a 62-53 loss to Arizona State. The Trojans returned to the Galen Center Thursday night following road losses to California and Stanford to host the first of three straight home games.
Despite trailing the Sun Devils by as much as 12 points in the first half, the Trojans managed to force 18 turnovers on an Arizona State team that played only six scholarship players.
âWe did a great job at forcing 18 turnovers, 20 more shots than your opponents but we didnât have the energy to start the game and finish plays that we normally haveâ USC coach Kevin OâNeill said.
Arizona State had suspended three rotation players, including leading scorer Keala King. OâNeill stated after the game that the news of the suspension did not change the game plan set for USC.
âHave to give ASU credit, they suspend a couple of guys, band together and play their best game of the year; they deserved to winâ OâNeill said. âThey outplayed us and that happens a lot of times.â
Sophomore guard Maurice Jones played the entire game against the Sun Devils. Jones leads the country in minutes, and before Thursday, was averaging 38 minutes per game.
âIâm sure he was tired, playing that amount of minutes, but we donât really have any choiceâ OâNeill said. âIâd like to put him on the bench a little bit, but we need him out there.â
Maurice Jones finished the contest with 13 points, 4 assists, 2 rebounds and 3 steals. Jones also was 4 for 4 at the free throw line. âWe go where Mo [Jones] goesâ OâNeill said. âIt didnât go well for him tonight and it didnât go well for our team either.â
Junior forward Aaron Fuller posted 14 points for the USC, leading the team.
âOnce they got us down, they [controlled] the tempo of the game, making us work for everythingâ OâNeill said. âThey did a good job at running their offense and we werenât able to generate enough offense on our end to win the game.â
USC falls to 5-11 overall and 0-3 in Pac-12 conference play. The Trojans will host the Arizona Wildcats on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. The Wildcats (10-5, 1-1) are coming off of a 65-58 loss to UCLA. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Net.