Tra Holder scored the last of his game-high 22 points on a short bank shot with 1.9 seconds left Thursday night as Arizona State rallied for an 80-78 win over Southern California at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe, Ariz.
The Sun Devils (18-6, 6-6 Pac-12) scored the game’s last nine points, preventing the Trojans (17-8, 8-4) from tying Arizona for the conference lead. The result also added some much-needed heft to a Sun Devils resume that sparkled before Pac-12 play bounced Arizona State out of the Top 25.
Arizona State’s Shannon Evans added 21 points, and he hit a long 3-pointer from the left wing with 50 seconds left that tied the game at 78. Remy Martin contributed 10 points, starting the game-ending spurt with a pullup jumper at the 2:11 mark.
USC fell apart down the stretch, committing three turnovers in the last two minutes. The final one, Chimezie Metu’s as he tried to get off a potential game-winning 3-pointer with time expiring, ended the game.
Nick Rakocevic hit all six shots he tried from the field and paced the Trojans with 19 points. Bennie Boatwright chipped in 18, and Metu finished with 13.
Arizona State gave up the game’s first bucket and then didn’t allow another one for a span of 5:44, scoring nine consecutive points to gain an early advantage. The Sun Devils extended the lead to 18-11 at the 9:54 mark of the first half when Kimani Lawrence canned two free throws.
At that point, USC gained its first real traction of the night with a 13-2 spurt, grabbing a 24-20 lead on Jordan Usher’s jumper with 5:45 left in the half. The Sun Devils fought back to tie it at 27, but a 10-2 run gave the Trojans a 37-29 advantage on a 3-pointer by Boatwright with 1:05 remaining before the break.
USC settled for a 37-33 edge at the half, making 46.4 percent of its shots after a slow start. Arizona State hit just 38.7 percent from the field in the half.
The Trojans wound up shooting 49.1 percent from the floor, and the Sun Devils finished at 42.2 percent.
--Field Level Media