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ASU Men’s Basketball: Sun Devils scrap their way to a win over No. 23 USC

(Photo: Scotty Bara/WCSN)

WIN: After a first half that had anemic offensive stretches littered with poor shot selection, Arizona State drastically turned things around in the second half. scrapped its way to a 74-67 win over No. 23 USC.

The game got off to a sloppy start with the Trojans turning the ball over four times in four minutes. At the 11:41 mark, the teams were level at 10 points each and neither seemed to have a solid offensive rhythm.

USC began to pull away for a moment as ASU settled for threes early in the shot clock. At the end of the half, ASU was 11-of-33 from the field and 4-of-15 from three. On the flip side, USC shot 15-of-26 and only took one shot from three-point land.

The second half was a whole different ordeal as ASU came out aggressive, particualrly sophomore guard Tra Holder, who hit a wide-open three and a nice stepback jumper from the corner to put ASU up 37-34 with 16:35 left in the game.

ASU stretched its lead to 47-40 after USC freshman forward Bennie Boatwright picked up a technical foul with 11:53 to go.

USC made a late charge and shot 9-of-13 over a 13-minute stretch in the second half, cutting ASU’s lead to 62-59 with 3:57 remaining.

Holder stretched ASU’s lead to 69-60 with 1:39 left after he sank a bank shot three from straightaway as the shot clock expired.

Player of the game: Tra Holder

The sophomore guard got ASU going on offense in the second half with several quick buckets. his five quick points early in the second half helped ASU take the lead that the Sun Devils held throughout the final frame.

Stat of the night: 16 offensive boards, 15 second-chance points

ASU’s activity on the offensive boards kept them in the game in the first half, and when shots weren’t falling, second-chance opportunities killed USC’s momentum. ASU outrebounded USC 16 to nine on the offensive end.

Biggest concern: Shot selection

While the Sun Devils were a bit more patient on offense in the second half, their shot selection in the first half was quite questionable. Fifteen of ASU’s 33 attempted shots were from three, and at times, those shots came early in the shot clock.

Unsung hero: Savon Goodman

Goodman looked more like what people expected him to play like following a strong nonconference season, tallying 17 points (8-of-10 from the field) and six rebounds. He also led the charge on the offensive boards were the Sun Devils outrebounded USC 16 to nine. Goodman snagged four of his six rebounds on the offensive glass. .

What’s next?

ASU hosts UCLA on Valentine’s Day.

You can reach Zac Pacleb on Twitter @ZacPacleb or via email at

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