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USC can't find the basket in 57-46 loss to Arizona

Trojans shoot a season-low 29%, missing 14 of 15 three-point shots, in their fifth consecutive defeat. By halftime, they have as many turnovers (six) as made baskets.

January 08, 2012|By Baxter Holmes
  • Trojans guard Greg Allen tries to beat Arizona guard Josiah Turner to a loose ball during USC's 57-46 loss Sunday at the Galen Center.
Trojans guard Greg Allen tries to beat Arizona guard Josiah Turner to a loose… (Rick Loomis / Los Angeles…)

The majority of fans who left the Galen Center on Sunday were upbeat.

But USC fans, who were heavily outnumbered in the Trojans' own arena, left beaten down, like their team, again.

The Trojans suffered their fifth consecutive loss, 57-46, in front of an Arizona-thick crowd of 5,112 whose common chant of "U of A! U of A" thundered through the arena.

"They didn't really feel much pressure throughout the game," USC Coach Kevin O'Neill said of Arizona.

Not with a lead that fattened to 20 points in the first half and never winnowed to fewer than 10 in the second.

Not with USC (5-12, 0-4 in Pac-12), which lost for the eighth time in nine games and remains the only conference team without a league win, shooting a season-low 29%, missing 14 of 15 three-point shots.

"That's not going to beat anybody, anywhere, any time," O'Neill said.

On the subject of shot-making, of which USC does little, O'Neill hearkened back to a line legendary coach Bob Knight once shared: "When you make shots, you look pretty, you're a prom queen, and when you don't, you don't get invited to the prom."

It's safe to say USC won't be dressing up for any postseason soirees this season.

The Trojans were plagued with misfires, a contagious ailment that guard Byron Wesley said they can't seem to shake.

"If one guy isn't making a shot, maybe other guys get less confident and they start missing shots," Wesley said.

A week off before playing host to crosstown rival UCLA (9-7, 2-2) on Sunday could help.

At least it couldn't hurt.

O'Neill said the Trojans' coaching staff will do much more individual work with players in the second semester, which begins Monday.

Against Arizona (11-5, 2-1), USC got off to a poor start, and trailed, 32-16, at halftime.

By that point, it had as many turnovers (six) as made baskets.

The Trojans outscored Arizona in the second half, 30-25, but it wasn't enough.

"We've just got to come out in the first half like we did in the second half, like I always say," said center Dewayne Dedmon, who scored 11 and grabbed eight rebounds.

Sophomore guard Maurice Jones led USC with 14 points, but struggled, missing 10 of 13 shots.

Aaron Fuller, USC's second-leading scorer, scored one point and didn't play in the second half because a nagging left shoulder injury flared up.

Los Angeles-native Solomon Hill, a former USC commit, scored 11 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for Arizona, which was led by Jesse Perry's game-high 20 points.

Afterward, as fans filed out, USC's in-house stereo system played "End of the Line" by the Traveling Wilburys.

That song, which is usually played after USC home losses, repeats the phrase "Well, it's all right" at the beginning of nearly every lyric.

But USC is certainly not all right when it comes to scoring points.

baxter.holmes@latimes.com

twitter.com/baxterholmes

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