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Arizona basketball: USC can’t overcome Wildcats’ three point shooting on Thursday

When you can’t miss from beyond the arc, it’s hard to lose

NCAA Basketball: Southern California at Arizona Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

In basketball, when the shots are falling, you’re going to win.

For the Arizona Wildcats on Thursday, that was certainly the case against the USC Trojans in a 90-77 win to move to 15-1 in Pac-12 play this year.

The Cats ended up shooting 11-of-20 from beyond the arc, far superior to USC’s 5-for-15 mark.

“They had it rolling on offense, and when they make eleven threes on twenty attempts, it’s hard to guard Arizona when they’re shooting the ball at that level,” USC head coach Andy Enfield said after the game. “Give Arizona credit. They really played well offensively, shot the ball well, and we gave ‘em a few extra possessions with the few extra turnovers and a few offensive boards.”

USC was actually leading this game for a good chunk of the first half, including a 37-32 lead with just over two minutes left before halftime.

Then four threes fell for Arizona from the duo Kobi Simmons and Allonzo Trier before the break, giving the Cats a 44-39 lead at half.

“That’s my point,” Enfield continued. “When they make four threes in a row, they’re hard to guard. They’re good shooters, but when they shoot eleven for twenty from three point line, that’s above what they normally shoot, or what any team normally shoots. So give them credit; they made the shots when they had to.”

“We were playing good,” Bennie Boatwright added. “We were locked into our defensive assignments, but through that stretch we didn’t come up with the defensive plays we needed to win.”

“It was ball movement, but they had four points in the last four minutes as well,” Arizona head coach Sean Miller explained of the final chunk of the first half. “We had good defensive stops.”

Arizona entered this game a 39.1% three-point shooting team on the year, so a 55% performance from out there is certainly one way of beating the zone that has given Arizona so much trouble over the years.

“We have five or six players capable of shooting a good percentage from three,” Miller said after the game. “Now that Parker’s on board, Allonzo’s on board, we have a number of guys that can do that.”

As we’ve seen — from both sides of the coin — if you’re hitting threes consistently, chances are you’re going to win that game. So if the Wildcats are able to hit the long-range shots on a regular basis, that’ll make them a dangerous team in March.