Third-seeded Southern California will bid for its sixth win in seven games on Thursday night when it faces sixth-seeded Arizona State in Pac-12 Conference tournament quarterfinal action in Las Vegas.
Arizona State (21-11) posted a 63-57 win over Oregon State in the nightcap of Wednesday’s opening-round slate in Las Vegas. Warren Washington recorded 15 points and nine rebounds, and DJ Horne and Desmond Cambridge Jr. each added 13 points for the winners.
Cambridge also had three assists, second on the team to Frankie Collins’ five. The Sun Devils had 17 assists on 23 made field goals.
“We emphasized making those extra passes, playing together because sometimes it seems like we play a little selfish,” Devan Cambridge said in his postgame interview with Pac-12 Network. “When we play together, we’re a hard team to beat.”
Southern California (22-9) defeated Arizona State twice in the regular season, most recently 68-65 in Los Angeles on Saturday. The Trojans held the Sun Devils to 19-of-65 shooting from the floor, and only nine of Arizona State’s made baskets came via assist.
USC’s other defeat of Arizona State followed a similar path to the first, which was a 77-69 decision Jan. 21 in Tempe, Ariz. In both contests, the Trojans built double-digit-point leads late in the second half, only for the Sun Devils to rally down the stretch.
“Every game we played against Arizona State is always close,” Southern California coach Andy Enfield said. “They usually end with some kind of shot in the last 30 seconds, or even sometimes at the buzzer, like today.”
Boogie Ellis scored 28 points on Saturday, which was USC’s regular-season finale and a considerable statement for the Trojans’ NCAA Tournament aspirations. Thursday’s matchup has further implications for both teams’ at-large cases.
“Arizona State is an outstanding basketball team. I think they definitely deserve to make the NCAA Tournament,” Enfield said. “They’re as good as any team we played this year.”
Horne’s 20 points led the Sun Devils in the most recent meeting with Southern California.
–Field Level Media