Trojans fall to Sun Devils in overtime
In a frenzied dance in the desert, the Arizona State Sun Devils had the final move. After a 3-pointer from senior point guard Jio Fontan with 0.4 seconds left in regulation helped the Trojans overcome a nine-point deficit, the Sun Devils (15-4, 4-2 Pac-12) out-executed USC in the extra five minutes to hand the Trojans a 98-93 loss.
The 93 points by USC were the most scored by the Trojans since a 93-89 win over Cal on March 6, 2008, and USC’s most points ever in a conference game.
The Trojans (8-12, 3-4) quickly fell down by four in overtime, and a pair of 3-pointers combined with a 7-8 showing at the free throw line helped the Sun Devils pull out the home win. USC had a chance to tie the game with 12 seconds down 95-94, but Fontan could not pull another three out of his hat, and Evan Gordon’s rebound for the Sun Devils sealed the deal.
Fontan tied his career high with 25 points on 8-of-14 shooting, including 5-of-9 from beyond the arc, while junior shooting guard J.T. Terrell also hit five 3-pointers en route to 20 points. In his best game of the season, Fontan scored 16 points in the opening half on 4-of-4 shooting (3-of-3 from beyond the arc) while holding ASU’s leading scorer Jahii Carson to four points in the opening half. The dynamic freshman finished, however, with 21 points.
Senior forward Eric Wise tied his season high with 19 points to go along with 10 rebounds, while sophomore guard Byron Wesley finished with 15 points.
The Trojans set a season high by shooting a blistering 15 of 28 (53.6 percent) on 3-point attempts, astonishing for a team not accustomed to relying on the outside shot. The last time USC made as many 3-point baskets was when the Trojans hit 20-of-29 in a 82-69 win over Oregon State on Jan. 28, 2000.
Gordon led the Sun Devils with a game-high 28 points, while ASU forwards Carrick Felix (16 points, 10 rebounds) and Jonathan Gilling (13-11) snagged double-doubles crashing the boards for the Sun Devils.
Nothing other than a loss will show up in the record column, but the regulation comeback was one for the ages. The Trojans could have been down for the count after Gilling nailed a 3-pointer with 2:51 left to put ASU up 78-73, but the 3-point barrage wouldn’t let that happen.
USC rattled off five quick points to cut the deficit to 80-76, and the free-throw show began. ASU’s Jahii Carson made only two of four to push it to 82-76, but Terrell hit an off-balance look from 25 feet out to make it 81-80 with 22 seconds left.
Gordon made both of his attempts from the stripe, but another Terrell attempt, this one even farther out than the previous one, somehow fell in to make it 84-82. Felix missed the front end of his pair at the line, and USC got the ball back down three with eight seconds left.
Arizona State could have fouled and sent the Trojans to the line, but the team let USC have the final shot. After scrambling around the perimeter, Fontan leaned back and let it fly. The final result wasn’t the one he hoped for, but USC’s veteran leader likely won’t forget his overtime-causing buzzer beater any time soon.