USC’s late rally falls brief in opposition to high-powered No. 8 Arizona

For the previous two weeks, because the items lastly began to suit for USC, Boogie Ellis had been the glue, a once-streaky level guard lastly coming into his personal because the engine of a all of the sudden hovering offense.

But as these items started to return aside Thursday for USC, its senior level guard was left to drive a sputtering offense alone, firing one 3-pointer after one other, emptying his tank till solely fumes remained. It wouldn’t be sufficient, as USC finally broke down despite its star, shedding to Arizona, 87-81.

An in any other case lifeless offense wouldn’t preserve Ellis from making an attempt to push the Trojans alongside fully on his personal. He’d set one other career-high within the course of, scoring 35 factors and pulling down six 3’s in an heroic effort.

Still, it was no use. With every reply, Arizona would supply its personal full-throated response, utilizing all of its weapons to overpower USC, which has now locked within the No. 3 seed in subsequent week’s Pac-12 match.

The Trojans in the meantime had been left with merely Ellis, who had little assist elswhere. Dealing with a again harm, Drew Peterson completed with simply 5 factors. Among USC’s starters solely Kobe Johnson managed extra.

This was hardly the type of efficiency the Trojans would’ve hoped for, with an opportunity to make a significant assertion with its match resume.

Everything had been clicking for USC coming into Thursday. The Trojans rolled into the ultimate week of the common season on a four-game win streak, lastly firing on all cylinders, lastly sitting on the best facet of the NCAA match bubble.

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They had been scorching from deep throughout that stretch, pulling down practically half of their final 100 makes an attempt from 3-point vary. They had been dominating defensively, holding these 4 opponents to simply 37%. And their senior level guard was taking part in a number of the finest basketball of his school profession, simply because it was winding down.

USC ahead VIncent Iwuchukwu, under, and Arizona ahead Azuolas Tubelis attain for a unfastened ball in the course of the second half on Thursday on the Galen Center.

(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

But this week, Ellis nonetheless couldn’t shake the bitter style left over from USC’s defeat in Tucson. He vowed to be extra aggressive, carrying the Trojans on his again if he needed to.

He wasted no time in finishing up that vow Thursday. Ellis got here out firing confidently, scoring 11 of USC’s first 16 factors.

The downside for USC was nobody else acquired the memo. Drew Peterson, the Trojans’ second-leading scorer, had zero factors at halftime. The remainder of USC’s beginning lineup had mixed to shoot 1 of 9.

And by that point, Ellis’ aggressive strategy was already having unintended penalties. The level guard secured his third foul with greater than two minutes nonetheless remaining within the first half.

USC as soon as once more had no reply for Arizona’s dimension, even because it cycled by means of a number of totally different lineups searching for one. Arizona’s Azuolas Tubelis had his means with the Trojans frontcourt, forcing USC to persevering with adjusting its strategy – to little avail. Tubelis completed with 25 factors and 10 rebounds, as soon as once more punishing USC at each degree of its protection.

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The Trojans may even see the Wildcats once more quickly, with Arizona locked in because the No. 2 seed within the convention match. They’ll want greater than Ellis to make the assertion they meant to make on Thursday night time.