After a disappointing 0-2 start to the Pac-12 schedule including a blowout loss at UCLA, USC (9-6, 0-2) came out inspired Sunday night hosting No. 1 Arizona (16-0, 3-0).
Arizona jumped out to an early lead, but the Trojans tied the game at 16 on a three-point shot by Strahinja Gavrilovic. Arizona answered on its end of the floor before Gavrilovic hit a second consecutive shot to tie the game once again at 18.
USC took the lead on its next trip down the floor when Byron Wesley drove the lane for a bucket, drew a foul, and completed a three-point play.
The Trojans trailed the nation's top ranked team by just three points, 34-31, going into halftime.
After the break, however, it was a much different story. USC only scored 22 points in the final 20 minutes of the game, losing 73-53 to the top-ranked Wildcats.
"Arizona played a very good second half," USC coach Andy Enfield said after the game.
The Wildcats improved to 17-0 and 4-0 in the Pac-12 with the win.
Turnover trouble, again
Plagued by turnovers in their first two Pac-12 games, 17 against UCLA and 16 against Arizona State, the Trojans were off to an improved start against the Wildcats.
USC lost the first half turnover battle, but only turned the ball over six times compared to Arizona's five. In the loss at UCLA, the Trojans committed five alone in the first two minutes of the game.
However, by games end, USC lost the ball 18 times to Arizona.
"We definitely turned the ball over too many times and had too many possessions where we didn't score," Enfield said.
Second half bricks
After scoring 31 points in the first half, USC was only able to add 22 more in the second.
Enfield said it himself after the loss to Arizona State, he has a streaky shooting team.
The Trojans shot 43% from the field before the break, attempting 30 shots. They only attempted 22 in the second half, converting 40% of them.
"Against a good team like Arizona, you have to convert," Enfield explained. "I'm very proud of our team's effort, but Arizona wore us down a bit."
Galen Center crowd
The crowd at the Galen Center looked as good as it has in as many years. The USC student section was full and though much of the general crowd was sporting Arizona gear, it certainly was a much improved look for the sparse crowd that usually spackles Galen.
"It was very fun to play in this kind of atmosphere," Enfield said. "Hopefully, if we keep getting better and better, the fans will keep coming out."
USC brought in a DJ to set the pregame atmosphere and there was a buzz and energy throughout the game that in years to come under Enfield, could only continue to grow.
It was far from hostile territory, but it was undoubtedly a start in a turnaround process.