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ASU men's basketball falls to USC in another shorthanded effort

The Sun Devils were without freshmen Marcus Bagley and Josh Christopher for the second straight game

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ASU forwards battle for a loose ball during the Sun Devils' 68-61 loss to Colorado on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020, at Desert Financial Arena in Tempe.

ASU men's basketball suffered an 89-71 loss to No. 17 USC on Wednesday in Los Angeles.

The Sun Devils were without freshman forward Marcus Bagley and freshman guard Josh Christopher for the second consecutive game. Bagley and Christopher are among the team's top four scorers on the season.

Despite their shorthanded roster, the Sun Devils matched the Trojans' offensive output for most of the first half, making 6-of-9 three-pointers in the period and trailing just 46-44 at halftime.

However, ASU's offense slowed in the second half while USC, who shot an efficient 11-of-20 from three on the night, remained hot. 

USC freshman forward Evan Mobley dominated the game, recording 22 points on 9-of-11 shooting, nine rebounds, seven assists, three blocks and two steals. ASU head coach Bobby Hurley attributed the Trojans' offensive success as a whole to Mobley's gravity as a threat in the paint. 

"Any time you have a player of Mobley's caliber, everyone's shot attempts get better and better," Hurley said. "I don't know the type of team that's really gonna have a chance to beat USC that I've seen in our league unless you're flush in the frontcourt with big guys."

Sophomore forward Isaiah Mobley, Evan's brother, added 20 points and 12 rebounds, and redshirt senior guard Tahj Eaddy scored 18 points for USC.

Senior guard Remy Martin carried the offensive load yet again for ASU, scoring 30 points on 12-of-19 shooting. Martin has scored 30 points in two of the past three games.

"Great game by Remy," Hurley said. "Just really put the team on his back."

Senior forward Kimani Lawrence scored 12 points and grabbed six rebounds, while sophomore forward Jalen Graham added 10 points. Senior guard Alonzo Verge Jr., ASU's third-leading scorer, finished with just seven points on 3-of-11 shooting. 

Hurley commended the team's effort despite the defeat. 

"I love the will that we showed," Hurley said. "(USC's) a good team. They can really shoot and they've got really excellent frontcourt players."

ASU will next face UCLA on Feb. 20 at 8 p.m. MST in Los Angeles. 

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