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Game Recap: Arizona State Routed by USC

The Sun Devils dropped back-to-back Pac-12 games during their road trip as USC overcame a rough start to dominate for the majority of the game.

The Pac-12 schedule stops for nobody, allowing no team to get too high or too low in their season. 

Just two nights removed from their controversial loss to Stanford, the Arizona State Sun Devils found themselves back in action on Monday in a road meeting with the USC Trojans. 

Arizona State played without head coach Bobby Hurley, who was fined $20,000 and suspended one game for his actions towards officials following Saturday's game. 

Assistants Joel Justus and Jermaine Kimbrough acted as co-coaches during a 78-56 loss to USC.

The Sun Devils dropped to 2-5 in Pac-12 play, and have lost four of their last six games. 

Here's how the action panned out in another loss for Arizona State:

First-Half Recap

Starters

G DJ Horne
G Marreon Jackson
F Jalen Graham
F Alonzo Gaffney
C Enoch Boakye 

The Sun Devils, down guard Jay Heath (suspension) and forward Kimani Lawrence (non-COVID illness), opted for a big lineup as opposed to their typical three-guard rotation. 

Arizona State had a promising start, beginning the game on a 12-2 run. ASU held a 19-8 lead at the 7:28 media timeout and benefited from the Trojans shooting 3-for-16 from the field. 

To that point, the Sun Devils played considerably strong defense, limiting a Trojans offense that ranked near the top of every offensive metric in the Pac-12. 

However, the tide quickly turned in favor of USC, as the Trojans went on a 16-0 run that resulted in them taking a 26-22 lead. 

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USC headed to the break carrying a 31-24 lead, while ending the first half on a 21-2 run. The Trojans shot 6-of-8 from beyond three-point land to end the half.

Most notably, USC outrebounded the Sun Devils 26-14, including a 20-10 advantage on the defensive board. 

The Trojans, considered to be one of the deepest teams in the country, flexed their depth by outscoring ASU 11-0 in bench points during the first half. 

Only three players recorded points for Arizona State in the first half: Jackson (10), Graham (9) and Horne (5). 

Second-Half Recap

Both teams got off to strong shooting starts to begin the second half, as the Trojans carried a 40-32 lead into the first media timeout with 15:54 left. 

However, the Trojans eventually broke away from Arizona State, which made sure to hang around for the first few minutes of the second half. 

USC streaked to a 63-39 lead over ASU at the 7:21 media timeout, going on a stretch of converting seven straight field goals while the Sun Devils experienced a four-minute scoring drought during that time.

To make matters worse, Arizona State saw their best shooter in Horne exit the game with an unknown injury after going down on the floor following a three-pointer. Horne later rejoined the action minutes later. 

The Trojans continued to dominate in all phases leading into the final media timeout of the game. USC, up 68-45 with 3:52 remaining, had shot 60% from downtown and outscored Arizona State 20-2 in the paint.

Alonzo Gaffney exited the game with 2:47 left after suffering a blow to the nose by a USC player, who was pushed into Gaffney by Horne accidentally. 

The buzzer couldn't sound soon enough, as the bleeding finally stopped for ASU by a final score of 78-56.

What's Next

Arizona State will have a few days off to regroup before facing another tough test on Saturday, this time against in-state rival Arizona. The Wildcats, currently the No. 3 team in the nation, will play host to ASU.