Jio Fontan ran up the court and fired a contested three-point shot with 6.5 seconds to play in overtime but could not drain his sixth and final shot from downtown, leading to the Trojans’ 98-93 loss at Arizona State.
The Trojans (8-12, 0-4) fought hard for the entire night, with numerous comeback attempts making for what could be called the best Pac-12 game of the season. The Trojans were fueled by point-guard Fontan, who tied his personal career high with 25 points.
After coming off a disappointing 10 turnover performance, Fontan saved his best magic for the final seconds of regulation. Down by three with 0.4 seconds to play, Fontan stepped behind the three-point line and drained a shot to tie the game at 85.
The Trojans were able to sneak back into the contest with some improbable three-point shots propelling a 15-4 run to end regulation. To begin the madness, JT Terrell nailed an improbable three-point shot cutting the lead to two with 22 seconds to play.
To follow it up, Terrell nailed another floating prayer to bring USC within striking distance. Terrell was not the Trojans leading scorer but made clutch plays down the stretch for the Men of Troy, scoring 20 points with 50-percent shooting from behind the arc and a key cog in the Trojans three-point shooting effort, which made history in this thrilling contest against Arizona State. The Trojans made 15 of 28 three-point shots in the contest, the most deep balls since January 9, 2000 against Oregon State.
Eric Wise chipped in 19 points and 10 rebounds and Byron Wesley added 15 points and 7 rebounds. These performances gave USC four scorers with 15 plus-points on what turned out to be quite the exciting night.
Jahii Carson, ASU’s leading scorer averaging 17 PPG, only scored four points in the first half for Arizona State. In the second half Carson came to play, posting 17 points carrying the Sun Devils 43-point second-half output.
Evan Gordon carried the load for the Sun Devils putting up 28 points on 9-16 shooting from the field. Carrick Felix and Jonathan Gilling combined for 21 rebounds, limiting the effectiveness of the Trojans clear size advantage.
The Sun Devils attacked the Trojans zone defense getting to the free-throw line 36 times. USC committed 25 fouls on the night, ending with Dewayne Dedmon being ejected in the second half.
Throughout the night USC failed to close out on shooters and was exposed from the perimeter allowing easy baskets. The Trojans scored a season-high 42 first quarter points, continuing their hot offensive ways under Head Coach Bob Cantu.
In the end, ASUs clutch shooting and fast-paced attack was too much for the Trojans in overtime. Arizona State converted their free throws down the stretch, and surviving a last second prayer from Fontan to tie the game and force a second overtime.
This game exerted a valiant effort by the Trojans in a promising yet heart wrenching loss to the Sun Devils. The Trojans now have until Saturday to prepare for an Arizona club that lost at home to UCLA on Thursday night.