USC basketball dropped their third loss in four games, getting blown out by the Utah Utes, 86-64, in Salt Lake City on Thursday night.
The lowdown: As they did against Cal on Sunday, the Trojans opened the game by going up 5-0 with Chimezie Metu hooking in the opening score and De’Anthony Melton knocking down a quick transition three.
That lead would only grow to 10-0 with Utah failing to score across the first four and a half minutes.
Once they got going, the Utes really got going though, coming back with11-straight points capped by a Kyle Kuzma triple and then a layup to take the lead.
A dunk from Nick Rakocevic stemmed the bleeding for USC, but Utah continued to press their advantage growing their lead to as many as seven before Jonah Mathews, who had gone down with a leg injury earlier in the period, hit a timely three-pointer to make it 23-19.
Goal tending called against Metu stretched Utah’s lead to nine points, an advantage they’d hold for several minutes until the final minutes of the half when it grew even more. The Utes hit nine-consecutive shots and 11 of their final 12 attempts, going up 44-31 at halftime.
In the second half, Metu’s produced a dunk to draw closer but Utah’s hot shooting continued into the second half and the Utes didn’t give any ground in the early goings.
Mathews connected on his second three of the night at the 13 minute mark, but Utah responded immediately with 11-unanswered points, including a dagger three by Sedrick Barefield, to go back up 63-45 halfway through the second.
An explosive dunk by Utah’s Lorenzo Bonam extended the Ute lead to 78-55 with five minutes to go, all but putting the game away.
In the end, Utah took the W, 86-64.
The takeaway: Pac-12 play has not been as kind to the Trojans as the non-conference slate, as evidenced by their third loss in four games.
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With a stagnating offense and another light of poor free throw shooting — going 14-of-26 from the charity stripe — USC simply couldn’t keep up with the Utes, especially without a top level defensive performance.
Utah was allowed to shoot 55% from the field and outscored USC 38-24 in the paint.
While Metu continues to progress, leading the team with 17 points, Andy Enfield will be counting down the days until Bennie Boatwright returns to help spark the team back to life.
USC’s Player of the game: Chimezie Metu; 17 points, 6/10 FGs, 5-10 FTs, 5 rebounds.
Stat of the game: Utah went 9-of-17 from distance.
Next on tap: The Trojans stay on the road, taking on Colorado on Saturday night at 5:30.