USC No. 15 shakes off slow start to rout Arizona State

Arizona State center Enoch Boakye, center, shoots a rebound against Southern California forward Isaiah Mobley, right, and guard Isaiah White, left, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Los Angeles on Monday, Jan. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

Arizona State center Enoch Boakye, center, shoots a rebound against Southern California forward Isaiah Mobley, right, and guard Isaiah White, left, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Los Angeles on Monday, Jan. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

PA

Drew Peterson scored 16 points and the Southern California No. 15 got off to a slow start to defeat Arizona State 78-56 on Monday night.

About 10 minutes after the game ended, the Galen Center was evacuated after the USC Department of Public Safety received a bomb threat. The arena and the area around it were reopened 45 minutes later after the Los Angeles Police Department investigated and confirmed there were no credible threats.

The Trojans (17-2, 7-2 Pac-12), playing their third game in five days, fell behind by 12 midway through the first half. They missed 15 of their first 18 shots and committed eight turnovers in the first 14 minutes before turning things around.

USC closed the first half on a 21-2 run to take a 31-24 halftime lead. A 3-pointer from DJ Horne put the Sun Devils up 41-35 before the Trojans put him out of reach with a 14-2 run.

USC’s biggest lead was 25 at the end of the second half. Isaiah Mobley, Max Agbonkpolo and Chevez Goodwin added 12 points each.

“It’s a great team victory. We struggled in attack at first, but after that we started to share the ball. We played good team basketball at both ends of the game,” Trojans coach Andy Enfield said. “Arizona State is a very dangerous team because they shoot a lot of 3s. We did a good job in taking care of the basketball and increasing our defensive intensity after a tough start.

It was the second straight game that Peterson led the Trojans in points. The 6-foot-9 senior had 23 points in last Saturday’s win at Utah and shot 15 of 18 from the floor in the past two games, including 7 of 8 on 3-pointers.

Marreon Jackson led Arizona State (6-11, 2-5) with 21 points, including five 3-pointers. Jalien Graham had 15 and DJ Horne scored 14. The Sun Devils, who lost five of six, were without coach Bobby Hurley and guard Jay Heath after the two were suspended one game by the Pac Commissioner -12 George Kliavkoff for verbally confronting the officials after Saturday’s 79. -76 loss at Stanford.

Arizona State was also missing forward Kimani Lawrence through injury. The Sun Devils have shot 34.4 percent from the floor (22 of 64), marking the third time in the past five games that they have shot less than 35 percent. They were also passed 49-24.

“They wore us out during that race. We were locked in early. We got off to a quick start, but probably just needed one more body to keep up the intensity,” assistant coach Joel Justus said.

KEY EXECUTION

Graham’s jumper with 6:19 left in the first half gave Arizona State a 22-10 lead before USC came back with 16 straight points to take the lead. The run included four straight 3-pointers — two each by Mobley and Reese Dixon-Waters — before jumper Boogie Ellis put the Trojans in the lead 24-22 with 3:34 left.

FIND THEIR TOUCH

After starting 3 of 18 from the floor, USC hit 20 of its next 28 shots and finished the night with 45.8 percent (27 of 59).

HAPPY TO SEE YOU AGAIN

It was the first time USC could have fans at a home game since Dec. 15. Only families and guests of players and coaches were permitted to attend games against Oregon State and Oregon due to COVID-19. USC resumed in-person classes Monday after the first two weeks of the spring semester were conducted remotely.

FOLLOWING

Arizona State: Visit third-ranked Arizona on Saturday.

USC: Hosts Stanford Thursday night.

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