After an inspiring come-from-behind victory Thursday night against UCLA, ASU played possibly its most sloppy and ineffective game of the season in a disheartening 69-67 defeat at the hands of the USC Trojans.
With Coach Bobby Hurley seeking his first road sweep of Pac-12 opponents, the Sun Devils shot a dismal 30.6 percent (19-62) from the field and failed to make key shots in the game’s final minutes.
ASU held a slim one-point lead with a mere 14 seconds remaining in the game, but a backbreaking 3-pointer from USC senior forward Bennie Boatwright on a disjointed defensive possession sealed the win for the Trojans.
While the game was close throughout, the Sun Devils were unable to put together the substantial second half run they have relied on in the past two contests to take full control of the matchup.
The closest ASU came was an 8-0 run midway through the second half, but the Sun Devils inability to hold on to the ball ultimately cost them the game.
As the Sun Devils return home and reflect on Saturday’s loss, turnovers will likely be the first thing coaches point to. ASU committed an outrageous 15 throughout the course of the contest, and while they did a good job limiting the Trojans to only 11 points off of said turnovers, the lost possessions were ultimately what killed any chances of an ASU comeback.
However, ASU did have four different players score in the double digits. Redshirt sophomore forward Romello White led the team with 11 points while redshirt senior forward Zylan Cheatham, sophomore guard Remy Martin and sophomore forward Kimani Lawrence all poured in 10 points apiece.
A game after pulling in a ridiculous 20 rebounds in the win against UCLA, Cheatham continued to clean the glass as he collected 14 in the loss. Martin, fresh off his career-high 11 assists, once again led the team in the category as he dished out seven assists Saturday night.
As the Sun Devils travel home, they must prepare to battle with the UA Wildcats as they come to Tempe this Thursday.
With UA suffering a 23-point loss to these same Trojans last Thursday, ASU will look to get back on track against the injury-riddled Wildcats when they get their first shot of the season against their long-time rivals.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the Sun Devils' current conference play record. It has been updated to reflect this change.