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Arizona vs. USC final score: Wildcats struggle with Trojans but remain unbeaten with 73-53 victory

It was not as easy as most people thought it would be for the Cats

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

The Arizona Wildcats remained unbeaten, but it was not easy for the No. 1 team against the USC Trojans.  Arizona did pull away late, beating USC by 20.

Arizona moves to 4-0 in conference play and 17-0 overall, which is the longest winning streak to start a season in school history.  USC is now the only winless team in Pac-12 play at 0-3.

Conquest ChroniclesTrojans Fall to No. 1 Arizona

The first half was ugly for the Cats, who struggled to find any kind of rhythm on the offensive end against USC's size.  Brandon Ashley led the way with 12 points, while TJ McConnell picked up 11 of his own, including draining three from beyond the arc.  But no one else was able to contribute, giving Arizona just a three-point lead at the break.

Aaron Gordon did come up with this fantastic block though, which gave Arizona some momentum and some confidence heading into halftime.

The Wildcats came out a little better in the second half, but the Trojans' size kept the Cats from pulling away until late.  McConnell tied his career-high with five threes in the game, finishing with 19 points (his career high at Arizona).

It seemed like there was just an overall lack of focus and too much hero ball going on early.  Once everyone settled in and started moving the ball around, there was no way USC was able to get back into it, and Arizona asserted itself by finishing the game with a 25-10 run to win the game by 20.

Here are some quick takes from the game:

The Good:

McConnell's shooting: 7-of-12 from the field, including 5-of-7 from three.  Andy Enfield's gameplan was obviously to force TJ to beat them, and he stepped up in a big way.

Brandon Ashley: 7-of-10 from the field, including some nice jumpers from 12-18 feet.  Ashley and McConnell are the reason Arizona was able to pull this off.

The Bad:

Interior defense: USC dominated in the paint.  They were able to stay in the game for the most part by just making three shots from outside the key.

The Ugly:

Kaleb Tarczewski: 1-1 from the field, 5 rebounds, 3 fouls and 2 points.  He could not figure out how to get around the two big guys for USC

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson: 2-of-7 from the field for just four points.  He looked kind of lost out there at certain points in the game on the offensive side, and has not looked like the RHJ we were getting used to during non-conference play.