No. 23 Trojans fall at Arizona State in third straight road loss

The road woes continued for the No. 23 USC Trojans as they dropped their third consecutive road game, 74-67, to the Arizona State Sun Devils Friday night. 

The Trojans (18-6, 7-4) also dropped their eight straight game as a ranked team.

Sophomore guard Tra Holder led the Sun Devils (14-11, 4-8) with 20 points, including a dagger 3-pointer that put Arizona State up nine with less than two minutes left in the game.

Junior forward Nikola Jovanovic led all scorers with 25 points to go along with 15 rebounds. As a team, the Trojans shot over 51 percent from the field but could not overcome 17 turnovers.

Arizona State finished with 17 offensive rebounds and were able to withstand a late second half push from the Trojans. The Sun Devils out-hustled the Trojans on both sides of the ball from start to finish.

“We let them loose and they cut the lead to two,” Sun Devil forward Savon Goodman said. “Coach was on us about that. We got defensive stops and were able to play with the lead and finish strong.”

The Men of Troy got off to a slow start, turning the ball over on three of their first four possessions. Arizona State jumped out to an early 8-4 lead before the Trojans settled into their offense.

The Trojans finished the half shooting 57 percent from the field and held the Sun Devils to just 33 percent. However, 11 turnovers from USC to go along with eight offensive rebounds allowed Arizona State to stay within reach at the half. The Trojans took a 30-27 lead into the locker room.

The Men of Troy couldn’t shake the rust to start the second half as they saw their lead vanish before their eyes. Behind five straight points Holder, the Sun Devils jumped out to a 37-32 lead over the Trojans early in the second half.

The Trojan offense went cold in the second half as the Sun Devils extended their lead to nine points with just under 11 minutes left in the game. Junior guard Julian Jacobs and sophomore guard Jordan McLaughlin led a spirited comeback that brought the Trojans within three points.

The Sun Devils ended the game on an 11-5 run and had an answer for everything USC threw at them. Goodman finished with 17 points and six rebounds off the bench and guard Gerry Blakes chipped in 14 points, eight rebounds, and five assists.

“The amount of confidence coach had in me when was unbelievable,” Goodman said. “That is why I love him.”

USC entered the game averaging over 22 3-point attempts per game, but managed just one attempt in the first half. The Trojans finished just 2-11 from 3-point range, both makes from junior guard Katin Reinhardt.

McLaughlin finished with 13 points, six assists, and two rebounds and Jacobs chipped in 12 points, four rebounds, and three assists. The backcourt duo showed great chemistry, linking up for an alley-oop dunk late in the second half.

The Men of Troy continue to play dominant basketball at home, but once they leave the Galen Center, they look like a different team. The 67 points were a season low for the Trojans, who entered the game averaging an impressive 84 points per game.

In their last three road games, which were all losses, the Trojans have been outscored by an average of 10 points per game.

Next up for the Trojans is a tough matchup against the Arizona Wildcats in Tucson. Tip-off is set for 5 P.M. this Sunday, and the game can be seen on Fox Sports 1.