USC beat Arizona State, but final five minutes offer a reminder of Trojans’ familiar flaws

The USC Trojans had a successful Saturday night in Tempe. They beat the Arizona State Sun Devils and scored a huge win for their NCAA Tournament chances. USC made a significant upward move on the bubble. At worst, USC is currently one of the first four teams out of the field. Some projections might have the Trojans as one of the last four teams in the field. They’re definitely near the cut line, whether on the good side or the bad one. With Vince Iwuchukwu getting more playing time — more of a chance to show how big a factor his athleticism can be on the court — USC definitely has a better, more complete team. Things are looking up for Andy Enfield and his crew.

There was only one truly bad thing about the win over Arizona State, and it’s going to be a talking point before Thursday’s enormous game against UCLA in the Galen Center: USC went through a horrific four-and-a-half-minute stretch which will mean almost-certain defeat against UCLA and other quality teams.

One of the big problems with USC basketball under Enfield is that at some point in an important game, the Trojans usually endure a miserable stretch of several minutes. It’s not just a scoring drought, but a period of play in which the Trojans commit turnovers and give the opponent easy baskets.

It’s true that with just under five minutes left in regulation, USC had put this game away against Arizona State, leading 77-53. However, everyone on the floor took a total mental siesta, a full-blown vacation, at that point.

Arizona State scored the final 16 points of the game in the last four and a half minutes. USC committed eight turnovers in that span. The USC lead was never lower than eight points, but the Sun Devils did have the ball down eight with close to half a minute left. They might have been able to slice the lead to five with around 25 seconds remaining, but an ASU turnover ended that possibility. USC played with its food, and what’s more is that the starters were mysteriously left in by…


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Author : Trojans Wire

Publish date : 2023-01-22 15:57:06

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