1 Total Update since December 29, 2010
over 2 years ago Update 0 comments
Despite a wealth of momentum heading into Wednesday’s Pac-10 opener against conference favorite Washington, USC couldn’t capitalize. Even with an early 16-4 lead in the opening minutes, the youthful Trojans sputtered and watched their lead spiral out of control, falling 73-67 to the Huskies in overtime.
While junior forward Nikola Vucevic finished with a game-high 28 points, they were bested by a Washington team that outrebounded ’SC 44-28 and made just two-of-five free throws in the overtime period.
In the post-game presser, there wasn’t a whole lot to say.
“We wasted an incredible performance by Nik,” coach Kevin O’Neill told the media.
Vucevic single-handily kept the Trojans in the game despite a subpar offensive showing against Washington’s zone defense.
With 6.5 seconds remaining in regulation, Vucevic put USC in a position to win, grabbing a defensive rebound before forwarding the ball to Fontan in the open court, who was unable to get a shot off.
In that instance, O’Neill opted not to call a timeout, despite having two left.
In overtime, however, USC struggled, as they were outscored by Washington 18-12. Donte Smith did tie the game at 58 with a 3-pointer, but following a basket from Justin Holiday, the Trojans trailed the rest of the way.
For more news and notes regarding USC basketball, check out Conquest Chronicles.
over 2 years ago Update 0 comments
Preseason Pac-10 favorite Washington represents an imposing challenge for a surging, but still inconsistent USC basketball team. Over the past five games, the Trojans have notched four wins, including victories over ranked opponents in Tennessee and Texas, but thus far in 2010, they have failed to string more than two consecutive wins. The Trojans hope history doesn't repeat itself against the visiting Huskies Wednesday, as they look to notch their third consecutive win for the first time this year and potentially their fifth straight at Galen Center.
But Washington is plenty capable of running 'SC off the court. Through eleven games, Lorenzo Romar's team is averaging 90.5 points per game, compared to USC's 69.1 - 187th nationally. However, when UW struggles, they do so mightily. In their three losses this season, vs. Kentucky (74-67), vs. Michigan State (76-71) and at Texas A&M (63-62), they've averaged just 66.67 points per game - more than a 20-point dropoff. That's significant, and 'SC's defense could pose a few issues.
A year ago, the Trojans swept the Huskies, including a 26-point win at Galen Center, and in eight games this season, have held opponents to 40% shooting or less.
But Washington's tempo will test a Trojan teams that ranks among the nation's best in defensive field goal percentage and points allowed per game. The Huskies like to push the ball, and with returning junior point guard Isaiah Thomas starting in the backcourt, USC's freshmen backcourt duo of Maurice Jones and Bryce Jones will be seriously challenged.
"It will be interesting to see how our younger guys react to their pressure," USC Coach Kevin O'Neill told Baxter Holmes of the Los Angeles Times. "If we don't control tempo, we don't win. We know that. I'm sure they're thinking the same thing."
Unlike a year ago, however, USC may have the offensive balance needed to content with an offensive juggernaut in Washington. Thus far, six of the players in USC's eight-man rotation have had a game with at least 15 points scored and the other two have games of at least 12 points. That production will be needed Wednesday night.
For more news and notes regarding USC basketball, check out SBN's Conquest Chronicles.