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.