Player of the Game: Luke Walton

Although Arizona failed in its attempt to come out of Los Angeles with at least a split, Wildcat junior forward Luke Walton played well enough to win Saturday's player of the game honors.

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Luke Walton, who had a triple-double the last time he played USC, nearly had another one against the Trojans at the Sports Arena. He finished with 19 points, seven rebounds and 10 assists and was a perfect eight for eight from the free throw line.

Arizona had a chance to tie the game with two seconds to go but Jason Gardner traveled just before he made what would have been a school-record-tying eighth three-pointer of the game. Walton wins the award because Gardner made too many mistakes down the stretch.

Walton was the point of Arizona's 3-2 zone defense for the majority of the game. The unfortunate part for the Wildcats is that USC finally figured out where the holes were in the second half and canned eight of 12 three-pointers after halftime. Throw that stat in with the fact that the Trojans were a dismal 2-17 from behind the arc in the first half and it becomes much harder to take if you're a Wildcat fan.

The Wildcats once again had trouble keeping the more physical Trojans off the glass, especially the offensive glass. USC's Sam Clancy, a man among boys in every game he has played and will play this year, had his tenth consecutive double-double with 28 points and 11 rebounds. The only two Wildcats that were effective on the boards were Rick Anderson, who had a game-high 11 rebounds, and Luke Walton with his aforementioned seven caroms.

In fact, only four Wildcats were effective at all against USC. Gardner was outstanding with his shot once again and finished with 27 points on seven of 12 three-point shooting. The problem for Gardner was that he turned the ball over at critical times in the later part of the game.

Walton was solid, as usual, as was freshman Salim Stoudamire, who played a terrific game. Stoudamire scored 18 points on six of eight shooting (four of six from deep). Then there was Anderson. The junior from nearby Long Beach scored 18 points and had 11 rebounds, but he missed several shots from close range and that hurt the Cats in the end. However, his improved play and lack of foul trouble is a good sign as Arizona goes into the season's final three conference games.

Other than Arizona's "Big Four" players, the Wildcats only received seven points and five rebounds from its remaining four players who saw game time.

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