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ASU Basketball: Graham’s big night not enough in loss to No. 19 USC

Close but no cigar

NCAA Basketball: Southern California at Arizona State Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

It certainly looked bleak for Arizona State after five minutes. The Sun Devils found themselves down 12 and only scored two points. However, they crept back into the game behind hustle plays from Jalen Graham.

The forward helped start the run that closed the gap with a block on one end and a put back layup on the other. Graham finished the night with 19 points, five rebounds, three assists and two blocks. But in the end it wasn’t enough. No. 19 USC (19-3, 9-3 Pac-12) overcame Graham’s efforts and wiped away Arizona State’s (6-13, 2-7) second-half lead to win 58-53.

At one point in the second half, the Sun Devils had an eight-point lead. They even lead by two with 1:34 left. That’s when things turned. Arizona State struggled to put together any offensive play together, while USC kept getting to the line (25 free throws attempted) and making its shots.

Arizona State nearly scarped its way to a win but it certainly would’ve been ugly. The 23 fouls committed was only the start of it. The Sun Devils went 3-for-21 from 3-point territory, not a good stat when needing a three late. USC also collected 20 offensive rebounds, which it converted into 20 second-chance points.

It’s another game that got away from Arizona State. And another loss in a year that’s edging closer to a loss season.