Daniel Hackett’s defense has been integral down the stretch and last night his presence showed. Or rather, didn’t show. The Daily Trojan said it best, “Trojans can’t Hackett against Arizona team“. The Trojans lost the clutch starting guard in the first two minutes, and it showed big time in the last seven, as Arizona beat USC, 80-69.
It was Hackett who forced key stops in the last minutes against the #4 UCLA team. It was Hackett who conbtributed 8pts in the overtime win over Oregon. Still, USC kept a slight lead over Arizona with seven minutes left on the clock. But the combination of the Wildcats out-rebounding USC, and knocking down key 3-pointers (Arizona 10-21, .476 vs. USC 4-17, .235) was too much for the Trojans to handle.
“Daniel is a critical part of our team defensively,” Floyd said. “He’s a shutdown defender on the perimeter.”
With Hackett out, Guard Angelo Johnson stepped up with 7pts and 6 rebounds. Mayo (23pts, 4 reb), Jefferson (19pts, 7 reb) and Gibson (17pts, 5 reb) were the big three on the Trojan side. A little disappointing was guard Dwight Lewis, who came off Oregon with 24 points, but only had 3pts for 38 minutes against Arizona.
On Arizona’s side Budinger had 29pts, McClellan had 23, Bayless had 10 and Wise came up with 9.
Still, the Trojan effort could not keep the streak alive, as Arizona went on to beat USC, 80-69.