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USC’s late trey try falls short

Citizen Staff Writer



Sooner or later the hot shooting had to end.

USC guard Dwight Lewis just wishes he could have continued his streak for a little while longer.

Lewis made five straight second half 3-pointers, but couldn’t make a key one that proved costly in an 83-76 loss to USC on Thursday in McKale Center.

USC set Lewis up for another 3-point attempt while trailing 79-76 after calling a timeout with 28.6 seconds remaining.

Lewis got the ball all right, but his shot fell short.

“I thought I had a good look. It just didn’t go down for me,” Lewis said. “I wish I had it back. I probably should have driven it and not taken the three, but I thought I had a good look at the time. It just didn’t fall.”

Arizona got the rebounds and hit free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.

“They had critical possessions late,” USC coach Tim Floyd said.

USC was trying to get the ball into Lewis’ hands. He scored 17 of his team-high 21 points after the intermission. He finished with a career-high six treys.

He spent time in the locker room thinking about what No. 7 could have meant.

“It felt good leaving my hand,” Lewis said.

USC needed Lewis marksmanship with Arizona going on tremendous hot streaks. The Wildcats scored on their opening 10 possessions of the first half and ultimately took an 18-point lead with 9:32 remaining.

The Cats cooled off, but then heated back up again, especially Nic Wise, who scored 27 points on 8-of-11 shooting.

Wise hit his crucial trey to give the Wildcats the 79-76 lead with 43.8 seconds left.

“Wise’s ability to get back to the rim the last six minutes was important,” Floyd said. “Our inability to keep them off the foul line and from easy buckets was a factor in the game.”

USC overcame the big early deficit by stepping up its defensive intensity and waiting for the Wildcats to chill out after making 11 of their opening 13 shots.

They knew it was only a matter of time.

“We kept our heads in the game. Coach told us they would probably go on a big run like that,” Lewis said. “We didn’t let it get down on us. We tried to fight back and crawl back into the game.”

One more shot might have made a big difference.

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