Max Analysis: The Heartbreaker

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January 30, 2014 by Max Meyer

By Max Meyer

USC lost in devastating fashion after Pe’Shon Howard missed his last free throw with 0.9 seconds left in overtime and an opportunity to extend the game for another additional five minutes. The Trojans were up four points with just under two minutes left to go in regulation, but could not seal the deal for what could have been Andy Enfield’s first Pac-12 road game of the season. Let’s see how USC managed to lose their second straight overtime game.

One Thing I Didn’t Like: USC’s Late Game Execution

After Byron Wesley hit a three-point shot with a little more than three minutes to go in the second half, the Trojans had themselves a four-point lead. In the final three minutes of regulation and the five minutes in overtime, USC managed only three points, and one of them was on Howard’s first free throw at the end of overtime. At one point, they actually didn’t make a basket over a 10-possession span.

USC’s shot selection was poor at the end of the game, chucking up many contested shots. The Trojans looked out of sync on the offensive end after Omar Oraby picked up his fifth foul after receiving a technical. After Oraby fouled out with 8:30 left to go, USC could only muster three successful field-goal attempts. Compare those 13 minutes with the fact that USC made 23 shots from the floor during the other 21 minutes of the game, and it’s clear that they missed Oraby.

USC hasn’t really shot consistently well from the perimeter all season, and they made only four of their 17 three-point attempts tonight. During their cold stretch this game, the Trojans often had to hurry up late in the shot clock and fire up undesired perimeter shots. They missed all three of their perimeter shots in overtime, and two other ones came up empty with less than two minutes remaining in regulation.

Andy Enfield Is Still Looking for His First Pac-12 Win As The Trojans Take On Colorado Today. (Photo courtesy SI.Com)

Andy Enfield Is Still Looking for His First Pac-12 Road Win. (Photo courtesy SI.Com)

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

Oregon State had 19 offensive rebounds tonight, and they missed 36 of their field-goal attempts. That means that a good amount of the time that the Beavers missed a shot, they would come up with a second opportunity on the offensive glass. Considering that only two of their offensive rebounds came off of missed free throws, Oregon State got an offensive board after 47 percent of their missed shots. That number is absurdly high.

The thing is, it’d be tough to blame Oraby’s late absence for USC’s failure to clean up the glass. USC actually had more offensive rebounds over that span, coming up with three of them compared to Oregon State’s two. In fact, Oregon State had eight offensive rebounds in the 11 second-half minutes before Oraby fouled out.

Oregon State took advantage by racking up 22 second-chance points on the night. USC, on the other hand, managed just eight second-chance points, and that disparity is a killer in a close game like this one. Oregon State’s biggest offensive rebound came when they were down by three with a minute to go. Daniel Gomis missed a transition dunk, but Eric Moreland garnered the offensive rebound and kicked it out to Hallice Cooke. Cooke drained the three-point shot to tie, and USC never led again in the game.

Quick Hits:

1. USC made 19 of their 21 free-throw attempts, good for 90.5 percent and by far their best mark on the season. Oregon State took 35 free throws, and missed a whopping 15 of them.

2. Oraby only played 20 minutes tonight, but he certainly made the most of them. His 13 points on were his second-best total that he’s put up in Pac-12 play. He also set his Pac-12 high with eight rebounds. Oraby made six of his nine shots tonight, and is second in the Pac-12 in field-goal percentage, making over 60 percent of his shot attempts.

3. Wesley’s 23 points were his third-highest scoring night of the season, and he made two out of USC’s four three-pointers. Wesley’s two rebounds however, were tied for a season low.

4. USC was an 8.5 point underdog in this game, and beat their first Pac-12 road game spread of the season despite being double-digit underdogs in the other three of them. This was also the second time they won as a Pac-12 underdog, with the other one coming in their win over Cal.

5. USC is now 1-2 in overtime games this season, after beating Dayton on the road and losing to Stanford last game at home. The Trojans put up 10 points in each of those overtime sessions, but only scored three in tonight’s.

6. USC’s next game is Saturday night at 5 p.m. PST at Oregon on Pac-12 Networks. Oregon has the third-worst Pac-12 record at 2-6.

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