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Tra Holder's game-winning floater helps ASU stun USC 80-78

Tra Holder and Shannon Evans II fuel ASU's comeback victory over USC on Thursday night


ASU senior guard Tra Holder (0) goes for a layup in the second half of ASU's 80-78 win over the USC Trojans at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe, AZ on Thursday Feb. 8, 2018.

After the final buzzer went off Thursday night, senior guard duo Tra Holder and Shannon Evans II climbed unto the scorer’s table to electrify the crowd after ASU’s 80-78 comeback win against USC in the final seconds of the game. 

With the clock winding down, Holder came off a high ball-screen, penetrated the paint, pulled-up for a fade away floater and banked in what turned out to be the game-winning shot with 1.4 left on the clock. 

“We work on those shots all the time, so credit to coach (Bobby) Hurley,” Holder said. “Shannon (Evans II) and I had missed some floaters that we are capable of making in the beginning, so when I made that one, it makes up for all of it.”

The fans, despite a 9 p.m. tip-off, fed energy and were a key component to team’s clutch defense down the stretch. Head coach Bobby Hurley said he hopes to see a sell-out crowd during Saturday’s matchup against UCLA.

“When you exert that type of energy and type of effort to comeback, you just need any edge you can get,” Hurley said. It was inspiring … I think it’s giving a lot of people more of a reason to come back on Saturday, I know this one is at a more reasonable time, hopefully we can pack the house, sell it out and see what happens on Saturday.”

Typically, when ASU (18-6, 6-6 Pac-12) has its backs against the walls, it relies on their senior guard combo to bail them out. Today was another prime example, as the Sun Devils found themselves down for the entirety of the second half until, of course, Holder knocked down the game-winning jumper. 

Evans II, had the most important shot of the night leading up to Holder’s. With ASU down by three, Evans rose for a NBA-range three-pointer to tie the game at 78 with 50 seconds remaining. 

“Cash,” Evans said when asked what was going through his mind when he shot the three. 

They combined for 43 of the team's 80 points – Holder finished with a game high 22 points while Evans added 21 and also shot 50 percent from beyond the arc. 

USC (17-8, 8-4 Pac-12) meanwhile, was in control for most of the game before suffering back-to-back losses. Junior forward Bennie Boatwright anchored an 8-0 run to put the Trojans ahead 75-66 at the 5:02 mark. But the Trojans only scored three points in the final five minutes of the game and were hampered down the stretch by turnovers. 

Boatwright ended the night with 18 points and 8 rebounds. Sophomore forward Nick Rakocevic had an efficient night for the visiting Trojans, finishing with a team high 19 points on 6-for-6 shooting and making seven free throws. 

ASU somehow pulled off the win despite playing one of its most inefficient games in Pac-12 play. The Sun Devils shot a striking 26 percent from long-distance and an uncharacteristic 63 percent from the free throw line – missing 12 total. 

But, can anyone ever count out the Sun Devils? They now have seven comeback wins when trailing by nine. ASU finished on a 12-2 run during the last 3:20 of the game, making its last three field goals to give them the win. It is the first time they win back-to-back game during conference play and look to get its first weekend sweep since the 2015 season. 

Up next

ASU vs. UCLA on Feb. 10

Where: Wells Fargo Arena

Tip-off: 5 p.m. MT

TV: Pac-12 Networks 

Reach the reporter at or follow @felipecorraljr on Twitter.  

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