No. 19 USC overcomes poor shooting, beats Arizona State

USC guard Boogie Ellis drives to the basket against Arizona State.
USC guard Boogie Ellis drives to the basket against Arizona State during the first half Thursday in Tempe, Ariz.
(Matt York / Associated Press)

Boogie Ellis scored 21 points, including five free throws in the final minute, to lift No. 19 USC over Arizona State 58-53 on Thursday night.

The Trojans (19-3, 9-3 Pac-12) have won two in a row and five of their last six. The Sun Devils have lost four straight. Both teams struggled shooting until the final minutes, when they traded baskets in a white-knuckle finish.

Isaiah Mobley made a three-pointer with 1:57 left to put the Trojans up 49-48, but Arizona State (6-13, 2-7) responded with Jalen Graham’s layup while getting fouled. He made the free throw to put the Sun Devils up 51-49.


Mobley’s tough basket in the post tied it 51-51 with a minute left and Ellis made a pair of free throws to give USC a 53-51 lead with 46 seconds left. Ellis made three more free throws over the next few possessions and then added an exclamation point with a breakaway dunk just before the buzzer.

Mobley finished with 12 points. Drew Peterson had six points and 13 rebounds.

USC freshman Reese Dixon-Waters has played a crucial role in recent games, earning minutes in a rotation that’s more experienced than last season.

Arizona State took its first lead when Kimani Lawrence’s layup made it 28-27 with 17:12 remaining. The Sun Devils pushed their advantage to 40-32 with about 11 minutes left.

The Sun Devils were led by Graham’s 19 points. Arizona State made only three of 21 shots from three-point range.

USC jumped out to a 10-2 lead in the first four minutes. The Trojans extended their advantage to 14-2 before suddenly going cold, missing nine straight shots in a scoreless streak that lasted nearly six minutes.

That allowed Arizona State to claw back into the game, but an inefficient offense kept the Sun Devils from taking the lead. USC took a 26-24 lead into halftime.

USC shot just 27% from the field before the break while Arizona State shot 26%.