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No. 15 USC shakes off slow start to rout Arizona State

Drew Peterson scored 16 points and No. 15 Southern California shook off a slow start to defeat Arizona State 78-56 Monday night.

The Trojans (17-2, 7-2 Pac-12), playing their third game in five days, fell behind by 12 points midway through the first half. They missed 15 of their first 18 and committed eight turnovers in the first 14 minutes before turning things around.

USC closed the first half on a 21-2 run to take a 31-24 lead at halftime. A 3-pointer by DJ Horne got the Sun Devils within 41-35 before the Trojans put it out of reach with a 14-2 run.

Arizona State guard Marreon Jackson (3) drives to the basket past Southern California forward Kobe Johnson (2) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Los Angeles, Monday, Jan. 24, 2022. (AP PhotoAlex Gallardo)

USC's largest lead was 25 late in the second half. Isaiah Mobley, Max Agbonkpolo and Chevez Goodwin added 12 apiece

Marreon Jackson led Arizona State (6-11, 2-5) with 21 points and Jalien Graham had 15. The Sun Devils (6-11, 2-5) — who have dropped five of their last six — were without coach Bobby Hurley and guard Jay Heath after both were suspended one game by Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff for verbally confronting officials after Saturday’s 79-76 loss at Stanford.

KEY RUN

Southern California guard Drew Peterson, center, pulls down a rebound with forward Isaiah Mobley (3) against Arizona State forward Jalen Graham, left, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Los Angeles, Monday, Jan. 24, 2022. (AP PhotoAlex Gallardo)

Graham’s jumper with 6:19 remaining in the first half gave Arizona State a 22-10 lead before USC stormed back with 16 straight points to grab the lead. The run included four straight 3-pointers — two apiece by Mobley and Dizon-Waters — before Boogie Ellis’ jumper put the Trojans on top 24-22 with 3:34 left.

FINDING THEIR TOUCH

After starting 3 of 18 from the floor, USC hit 20 of its next 28 shots and finished the night making 45.8% (27 of 59).

WELCOME BACK

This was the first home game where USC was able to have fans since Dec. 15. Only families and guests of players and coaches were permitted to attend games against Oregon State and Oregon due to COVID-19. USC returned to in-person classes on Monday after the first two weeks of the spring semester were conducted remotely.

UP NEXT

Arizona State: Travels to third-ranked Arizona Saturday.

USC: Hosts Stanford Thursday night.

More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25