LOS ANGELES – It’s not a venue necessarily known for hosting big-time NCAA hoops action, but STAPLES Center was buzzing Saturday as Arizona, Gonzaga, USC and BYU were in the building for HoopHall LA.
No. 8 Gonzaga was firing on all cylinders from tipoff, taking care of an injury-riddled No. 15 Arizona 69-62, followed by the Trojans putting up a strong second half to win 91-84 over BYU.
“It’s my first win against Arizona in five years, happy about that,” Karnowski said in the post-game press conference.
Gonzaga raced out to a 23-9 lead – even hitting a pair of three-pointers to start the game – and never looked back.
Arizona – despite the loss – can keep its head up knowing some of their top players were out with injury. PG Parker Jackson-Cartwright – a Los Angeles native – was forced to sit out with a high ankle sprain.
— Rohit Ghosh [Ro] (@RohitGhosh) December 4, 2016
The second matchup of the day featured a slow start from the home-town Trojans, who found themselves shooting just 11 percent from the field in their first 18 attempts.
BYU’s Eric Mika would end up leading the way with a career-high 29 points, but USC’s balance and ability to connect from beyond the arc made the different at the end as the Trojans won 91-84 behind 50-plus percent shooting from beyond the arc.
The Cougars shot just 1-of-11 from three-point range.
“Our guys took the challenge to get to their shooters early,” USC head coach Andy Endfield said. “We just don’t want to give up threes, that’s our team philosophy.”
Basketball Hall of Fame
The doubleheader in Los Angeles also featured a group of hall of famers in attendance – Elgin Baylor, Spencer Haywood, Bernard King, Gary Payton, Ralph Sampson and Jamaal Wilkes – who were introduced at center court during halftime of the Gonzaga-Arizona game.
The two games were part of an event associated with the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.