Max Analysis: The Choke Job

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February 17, 2013 by Max Meyer

By Max Meyer

USC had a double-digit point lead and was six minutes away from extending their winning streak to five. However, in the final 5:35, Cal used a 25-7 run to beat the Trojans 76-68. Let’s take a look at why USC wasn’t able to hold onto such a big lead, which was as high as 15 points. Since this was such an awful loss, I’ll state the two worst aspects of USC’s performance.

One Thing I Didn’t Like: USC’s End of the Game Execution

Byron Wesley’s three-pointer put the Trojans up by 10 with 6:22 left. After that though, USC simply threw the game away.

It was a mess on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. USC had five turnovers late in the game, including two each by Jio Fontan and Dewayne Dedmon.

Additionally, the shot selection was poor. Leading scorer J.T. Terrell finished with a USC-high 17 points. However, he didn’t shoot once in the final seven minutes of the game. During Cal’s late comeback, USC only attempted one layup/dunk, which was Fontan’s with 23 seconds left in the game.

USC also struggled mightily defending Cal in that span, especially on the perimeter. The Golden Bears did not miss a single three-point shot in the final six minutes of the game, making four of them. Before that period, Cal had only shot 2-17 from three-point range. Those four three-pointers were all made within a period of two minutes and 13 seconds, which is what broke open the game.

Another reason why Cal exploded late was USC’s late-game fouling. In the final eight minutes of the game, the Golden Bears attempted 14 free throws, making 11 of them. USC only had nine free throw attempts the entire game, including just three in that same eight minute period.

Another Thing I Didn’t Like: USC’s Bench

USC’s starting five played a combined 169 minutes per game, or 84.5 percent of all the possible minutes in a regulation game. The reason why was because the bench did not come ready to play tonight.

Aaron Fuller, Renaldo Woolridge, Omar Oraby, Chass Bryan and Brendyn Taylor played 31 minutes between them. They scored a combined two points, along with having just three rebounds and two assists. The only points the bench scored were on two free-throws by Aaron Fuller. Maybe Ari Stewart’s injury will have a bigger impact on the Trojans than they originally thought.

Certain guys on USC’s bench had been stepping up over the previous couple of games, which is why USC had been so successful of late. The starting group was clearly tired by the end of the game, which is why Cal was able to pull off such a huge run.

Quick Hits

1. Cal outrebounded USC 35-24. They had a staggering 10 offensive rebounds, and scored 10 second-chance points off of them. 6’6″ Cal guard Allen Crabbe had 10 rebounds, or twice as many as Dewayne Dedmon, Omar Oraby and Aaron Fuller this game.

2. USC’s great free-throw shooting continued, as they made eight of their nine free throws. However, Cal was at the line more often, going 18-24 from the charity stripe.

3. USC is now 7-6 in Pac-12 play, tied for sixth in the conference with Colorado. Had they held on, they would’ve been tied for fourth with Arizona State, and in good position for that first-round bye in the Pac-12 Tournament.

4. Good news: Jio Fontan scored his 1,000th career point as a USC Trojan. Bad news: he had the same amount of missed three-point attempts (five) as assists. Not good, considering he only made one long-range shot in the game.

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One thought on “Max Analysis: The Choke Job

  1. […] covers up the fact that it was USC that gave the game away more than it was Cal winning it. As Max Meyer correctly stated, it was a complete and utter choke job by our favorite college basketball team. I […]

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