"That's the truth", Arizona coach Sean Miller said. Alkins was 4 of 20 in the Wildcats' previous two games, both losses, but made 4 of 7 3-pointers against USC.
Holder and Justice had two 3-pointers apiece as the Sun Devils were 9-of-29 from distance.
It was a sign of Alkins' offensive fortitude, and a sign of the team's cohesiveness after a series of tough games against the Huskies and Bruins.
Alkins missed the first nine games of the season after having foot surgery and then missed three other games in January because of pain in that foot.
"I always had confidence in myself", Alkins said. "I've been putting in extra work in the gym". Arizona went into halftime leading 37-31. Enfield said Saturday was the first time an opponent "outplayed us significantly". "And tonight, was the real example of that". Two home games against the OR schools next weekend could provide the Trojans a chance to get close again but the trip to the desert was a missed opportunity.
"He dominated the game", Miller said. "And you could sense that tonight".
It went back and forth from there until Jaylen Hands you guessed it got the hot hand.
The Pac-12's assist leader didn't notch his first assist until the 18:47 mark of the second half.
And, well, that's how it is to play inspiring basketball when it matters.
"I think what makes this sweeter than most is it's not easy to pick yourself off the mat", Miller said.
Saturday's loss was USC's ninth straight in McKale Center, where the Trojans haven't won since 2008, a victory that was later vacated due to NCAA violations. "He played like a vet tonight and we needed him to do that".
The Sun Devils defeated UCLA 88-79, sweeping the conference weekend after defeating USC on Thursday night.
Ristic said the team's rebounding edge shouldn't come as a surprise, with two seven-foot forwards and unmatched quickness across their lineup. Taking two out of three will, at a minimum, keep them one game up coming home for its regular season finale against Cal and Stanford.
Miller praised his team's ability to shake off its struggles against the Bruins, beating what he called one of the best teams in the conference. "This is a top-20 team, they've been top 10, so this is huge for us". "USC is talented, they have all of the parts to be a Pac-12 champion".
This game will be high scoring no doubt, so the key to victory lies in the little things.
The foursome of Alkins, Deandre Ayton (16 points), Ristic (16 points and 11 rebounds) and Allonzo Trier (14) were locked in against the Trojans-with Keanu Pinder, Ira Lee and Emmanuel Akot adding seven points combined off the bench. "Losing a home game at McKale isn't a good feeling. I feel good about how we responded".
"It's great to see my teammates and my coaches believe in me", he said.