Short-handed Arizona State defeats USC 62-53

Posted: Updated:
By Natalie Flanzer By Natalie Flanzer

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Where others might have focused on the negative aspect of missing three players, Carrick Felix saw an opportunity for Arizona State.
 
Felix scored a career-high 22 points, Trent Lockett had 19 points and nine rebounds and the Sun Devils beat Southern California 62-53 on Thursday night.
 
Freshman Jonathan Gilling scored 12 points in his first college start for Arizona State (5-9, 1-1 Pac-12), which was without a trio of key players. Starters Keala King and Kyle Cain and reserve Chris Colvin were suspended by coach Herb Sendek for "unacceptable conduct."
 
"We knew people had to step up in their spots, and they definitely did" Felix said. "Everyone picked up the pieces."
 
Sendek said he is dealing with the suspensions "one day at a time." He was more concerned with preparing for a defensive-minded USC squad.
 
"We didn't talk about being short-handed," Sendek said. "We didn't spend any energy on things we couldn't control."
 
Aaron Fuller led USC (5-11, 0-3) with 14 points. Maurice Jones scored 13 and Byron Wesley added 10.

"Give ASU credit. They suspended a couple guys and banded together," USC coach Kevin O'Neill said. "They outplayed us and deserved to win."
 
The suspensions left the Sun Devils with six scholarship players and a nine-man rotation. But it only seemed to motivate them on the way to their best offensive showing of the year.
 
The Sun Devils, who snapped a four-game losing streak, shot a season-best 61.1 percent and made 7 of 13 3-point attempts.
 
"We knew we had it in us the whole time," Felix said. "It was just a matter of time until we broke the seal."
 
The suspended trio of Sun Devils did not travel with the team on its trip to Los Angeles and will also miss Saturday's game against UCLA.
 
It marks the second suspension for Colvin this season. He sat out a Dec. 10 game against North Dakota State for "conduct detrimental" to the team.

"Those things are never easy on one hand, because it affects a lot of people," Sendek said. "But it was the right thing to do. Not just for our program, but for those young men."
 
USC trailed 38-27 but stormed back to within one point thanks to a 12-2 run in the second half. The Sun Devils went scoreless for nearly seven minutes during the stretch.
 
Arizona State scored the next six points to take a 46-39 lead. Felix hit a jumper, and Lockett added two free throws and a layup.
 
The lead swelled to 52-41 moments later as Gilling and Felix nailed back-to-back 3-pointers.
 
Jones pulled USC to 58-53 with 37.5 seconds remaining. But Carrick made a pair of free throws, and the Sun Devils ran out the clock.
 
The win was the Sun Devils' first in six tries at the Galen Center.
 
Lockett drew the toughest task of the night as he was called into action as point guard for the first time in his career. The shooting guard was afforded only a handful of practices to get acclimated to the new role.
 
"He radiated confidence that really trickled through our team," Sendek said.
 
The Trojans committed only six turnovers but shot just 38.2 percent.
 
"It's hard for us to generate offense," O'Neill said.
 
The Sun Devils shot 61.9 percent (13 of 21) in the first half. Felix had 13 points and Lockett nine at the break.
 
Trailing 4-2, the Sun Devils scored 17 of the game's next 20 points to go up 19-7. Felix and Lockett each hit a 3-pointer during the spurt.
 
The Trojans pulled within five points, but Arizona State took a 34-24 lead into halftime.