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USC Basketball

Trojans come out flat, suffer first conference home loss to Utah, 77-70

February 7, 2019

LOS ANGELES - Coming off one of their best performances of the season at Washington State, the Trojans (13-10,6-4) were thoroughly outplayed offensively and defensively by the Utah Utes (12-10,6-4) at home on Wednesday night. USC shot just 38% on the night and their poor play culminated in a 77-70 loss that ultimately snapped their seven-game winning streak at the Galen Center.

After the game, Coach Enfield was blunt in his assessment of the team’s performance.

“This was our worst effort in a long time. I’m disappointed in our team,” Enfield said. “We weren’t doing much of anything except taking bad shots and defensively, watching them make threes.”

As the Trojans faced a 37-23 deficit at halftime, their largest since their loss against TCU in December, two statistics stood out. USC, who leads the Pac-12 in assists, had just 3 in the first half (0 in the first 10 minutes) and managed only 1 offensive rebound after 20 minutes of action. They trailed the Utes 24-13 in total rebounds and a big part of that was the struggles of Nick Rakocevic. Rakocevic, the Pac-12’s second-leading rebounder, had just one at halftime and only scored two points in 11 first half minutes.

After the halftime break, the Trojans showed resilience throughout the second half. They had 12 offensive rebounds and dished out 9 assists as a team in the second half alone. Enfield’s bunch tightened up defensively as well, and cut the deficit to 64-57 off a Nick Rakocevic lay-up with around 3 minutes left, but were ultimately unable to pull of the comeback. It was a deflating loss for a team that had been playing by far its best basketball of the season for the past few weeks. Team captains Bennie Boatwright and Jonah Mathews, who led USC in scoring with 17 and 18 points respectively, were straightforward when giving their thoughts on the tough night.

“We came out slow, plain and simple,” Bennie Boatwright said. “We have to learn from it. Give them[Utah] credit.”

“Every team in America has ups and downs,” Mathews said. “We’re not supposed to lose at home, but it happened.”

Up next, USC will face Colorado at the Galen Center at 7:00 on Saturday night.

Tags: Basketball, USC, Utah
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Trojans come out flat, suffer first conference home loss to Utah, 77-70

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