Max Analysis: USC Falls in Overtime

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January 25, 2013 by Max Meyer

By Max Meyer

Where has all of this scoring come from? Yet, USC’s recent offensive explosion has not necessarily translated into victories. The last two games USC has scored over 70 have resulted in losses. In their 98-93 loss against Arizona State, USC scored their most points in a game since the OJ Mayo era. However, USC could not prevail in what would have been a huge Pac-12 victory.

One Thing I Liked: USC’s Perimeter Shooting

It’s simply astounding that USC shot 15-28 (53.6 percent!) from three-point range, and lost. Granted, it was an offensive shootout, but it was incredible watching a team who’s struggled on the offensive side of the ball for years shoot this well.

Besides their phenomenal field goal and three-point shooting, there were two other aspects in this game that I really liked: USC’s scoring depth and their clutch shooting.

Four Trojans finished with at least 15 points. point guard Jio Fontan led the way with 25, including his miracle three-point shot to send the game into overtime. Why Arizona State did not foul him when the game clock was under five seconds is beyond me. Regardless, Jio easily had his best scoring game of the season.

JT Terrell, who finished with 20 points, also hit two clutch three-pointers in the final minute. Eric Wise and Byron Wesley combined for 34 points, and both are starting to become more consistent scoring threats for the Trojans.

Under coach Bob Cantu, USC has sped up their offensive pace dramatically. While it’s led to USC becoming a more exciting basketball team, it could an extremely dangerous style to play against upcoming foes Arizona and UCLA.

One Thing I Didn’t Like: USC’s Foul Trouble

Instead of going with a more obvious area like USC’s overall defense and terrible big man play, I think USC’s constant fouling was their downfall this game. USC had 25 fouls against Arizona State, which led the way to a whopping 36 free throw attempts. The Sun Devils almost had twice as many made free throws (25) as USC had free throws attempted (13).

USC’s best big man Dewayne Dedmon fouled out for the second consecutive game and played only 14 minutes. Dedmon hasn’t been playing smart basketball lately, and his fourth foul in this game is a great example. He got called on a sloppy moving screen with seven minutes left to go. He also picked up his first foul 17 seconds into the game.

When Fontan and Terrell each picked up their fourth foul, USC was in big trouble. The starting guards’ conservative defense led to several open Arizona State three-pointers late in the game. That’s also why Ari Stewart and Chass Bryan played more minutes than they usually do.

In a close game like this, the Trojans could ill-afford to send the Sun Devils to the line as often as they did. Arizona State made 17 more free throw attempts than USC, and that was the difference in the game.

Quick Hits

1. USC’s big men had a terrible game once again. Dedmon, Omar Oraby, James Blasczyk, and Aaron Fuller combined for just eight points and 10 rebounds in 51 minutes.

2. A game after USC turned the ball over 20 times, they only had 13 turnovers this game. That’s a fairly good amount, especially in a game that went to overtime.

3. USC was a four-point underdog coming into this game. They dropped to 7-11-1 against the spread this season.

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