The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

90° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

‘We got killed’ Arizona men’s basketball gets pummeled by USC in LA

Sean+Miller%26%238217%3Bs+face+was+filled+with+disappointment+when+the+Wildcats+got+routed+by+the+USC+Trojans+80-57+on+January+24th%2C+2019+at+the+Galen+Center.
Beau Leone

Sean Miller’s face was filled with disappointment when the Wildcats got routed by the USC Trojans 80-57 on January 24th, 2019 at the Galen Center.

Los Angeles – Arizona’s head coach spent the days leading up to the USC game sick with the flu, and judging by the Wildcats’ performance Thursday night against the Trojans, he’s probably feeling worse.

A dreadful display of shooting, rebounding and execution led to Arizona’s sickening blowout loss to USC, 80-57 in the Galen Center. 

“We had one of those nights shooting the ball, and it didn’t really matter who we were going to play, it was going to be tough on us,” Miller said. “I don’t think we can take anything from it. We got killed.”

The Wildcats learned the hard way that one man can make all the difference. With Chase Jeter sitting out the game still recovering from a back injury he sustained last weekend against Oregon State, Arizona looked lost on both ends of the court and once again had trouble penetrating a zone defense. 

Brandon Williams looks to keep the ball moving for the Arizona Wildcats during the second half of the game vs USC on Thursday, January 24th.
Brandon Williams looks to keep the ball moving for the Arizona Wildcats during the second half of the game vs USC on Thursday, January 24th.

“With him and without him, we’re two different teams,” Miller said. 

Jeter’s absence also forced Miller to switch around his lineup and have Dylan Smith, who’s listed at 6-foot-5, 170 pounds, move to the power forward spot on the floor against USC’s 6-foot-10 Bennie Boatwright. That shifted the 6-foot-9 Ryan Luther to center, where his assignment was the reigning in Pac-12 Player of the Week, 6-foot-11 center Nick Rakocevic.

In other words, the size difference was stark.  

“This is the smallest team I’ve ever had in 15 years on the court,” Miller said. “I’ve coached over 500 games and tonight was the smallest. We didn’t have any size.”

USC dominated from the opening tip, leading by 19 at halftime, then opened up the floodgates in the second half. The Trojans were led by Rakocevic, who scored a team-high 27 points. USC also hit 10 3s, three of them from Kevin Porter Jr., a potential NBA first-round draft pick who returned Thursday from a team suspension. Jordan Matthews added three more for the Trojans.

Arizona also didn’t do itself any favors by having its worst shooting performance of the season. The ‘Cats missed a whopping total 52 shots (20-72), 20 of them 3s. When the notion of a confidence issue was posed to Miller, he didn’t seem to think that was the case. 

“If you have a problem with confidence at Arizona, it’s a bad place to be. We’ve been kicking ass in this league for a long time. If making layups is a problem, that’s a real big problem,” he said.

Ira Lee collects himself after a timeout during the second half as the Wildcats lost to the Trojans 80-57 at the Galen Center. 
Ira Lee collects himself after a timeout during the second half as the Wildcats lost to the Trojans 80-57 at the Galen Center. 

The final score of 80-57 marked Arizona’s largest loss to the Trojans since 1973, when UA lost 100-76.

So now how do the Wildcats put this game in the rearview with a matchup against UCLA Bruins looming on Saturday?

“Sit down, watch film, look at what we did bad, look at what we did good and take a day to rest to get ourselves back together,” Ira Lee said.


Follow Alec White on Twitter


More to Discover
Activate Search