For the previous two weeks, when the items lastly began to suit for USC, Boogie Ellis had been the glue, a once-striped level guard lastly coming into his personal because the engine of a all of a sudden rising assault.
However as these items started to crumble for USC on Thursday, the senior level guard needed to pull off a sputtering assault alone, firing one 3-pointer after one other, emptying his tank till solely fumes remained. It wouldn’t be sufficient as USC ultimately broke down regardless of its star, shedding to Arizona87-81.
An in any other case lifeless transgression wouldn’t cease Ellis from pushing the Trojans additional on their very own. He had set one other profession excessive within the course of, scoring 35 factors and pulling down six threes in a heroic effort.
Nonetheless, it was no use. Any reply would see Arizona throwing his personal full-throated response, utilizing all of his weapons to overpower USC, who’ve now clinched the No. 3 seed in subsequent week’s Pac-12 event.
In the meantime, the Trojans had been left with solely Ellis, who had little assist elsewhere. Drew Peterson struggled with a again damage and completed with simply 5 factors. Of the USC starters, solely Kobe Johnson succeeded extra.
This was not the type of efficiency the Trojans had hoped for, with an opportunity to make a significant assertion with their event resume.
All the pieces clicked for USC developing on Thursday. The Trojans rolled into the ultimate week of the common season on a four-game successful streak, lastly firing on all cylinders and eventually sitting on the correct facet of the NCAA event bubble.
They had been searing from the deep throughout that stretch, pulling down practically half of their final 100 makes an attempt from 3-point vary. They dominated defensively, holding these 4 opponents to only 37%. And their senior level guard performed the most effective basketball of his faculty profession simply because it was winding down.
However this week, Ellis nonetheless couldn’t shake the bitter style left over from USC’s defeat in Tucson. He vowed to be extra aggressive and to hold the Trojans on his again if needed.
He wasted no time fulfilling that vow Thursday. Ellis shot out confidently, scoring 11 of USC’s first 16 factors.
The issue for USC was that nobody else received the memo. Drew Peterson, the Trojans’ second main scorer, had zero factors going into halftime. The remainder of USC’s beginning lineup mixed to shoot 1 out of 9.
And by then, Ellis’ aggressive strategy was already having unintended penalties. The purpose guard secured his third foul with over two minutes left within the first half.
USC once more had no reply to Arizona’s dimension, even because it cycled by way of a number of lineups in the hunt for a . Arizona’s Azuolas Tubelis received his approach on the Trojans’ frontcourt, forcing USC to maintain adjusting its strategy – to no avail. Tubelis completed with 25 factors and 10 rebounds, as soon as once more punishing USC on each stage of its protection.
The Trojans may even see the Wildcats once more quickly, with Arizona locked in as No. 2 within the convention event. They want greater than Ellis to make the assertion they wished to make Thursday evening.