USC at Washington
AP Photo-John Froschauer
So now I am left scratching my head. This is exactly what I did not want to happen, I could see nothing good coming out of last night's loss to the Huskies. I am not buying into the trap game angle, Washington is tough at home, 16-2, so its not like this game was going to be a pushover as SC knew what needed to be done. Yes, this loss does not hurt SC's chances to take sole possession of 2nd place in the Pac 10, a win against WSU will secure that, but wins help your cause while losses hurt your cause in regards to the Big Dance. At times it feels like one step forward one step back or like we're running in place.
I left HSS around 10:30, so I hustled down a couple of blocks to catch the game at bar on the East Side hoping for good news but I was completely disappointed when I saw down by 12 in the first half. Talk about ruining a great, but long, day, SC just looked lethargic and flat. You see this was going to a long night, it seemed like SC just mailed it in and did have the energy to play the aggressive defense that we have been used to seeing. When Ryan Appleby hit four straight 3-point attempts that was all I needed to see, you could also see it in Coach Floyds reaction on the sideline as I thought he was going to blow a gasket. UW to their credit, made nine 3-pointers in first 20 minutes because of SC's porous defense and because of it that left SC exposed on the inside and the Huskies exposed it for all it was worth. That is not what SC has been known for of late and last night it showed that we still have a lot of work to do.
Then there were the turnovers, with SC closing the deficit after being down 16 points they turn the ball over 3 or 4 times in succession, completely losing the momentum. That was it for me at that point; I packed it up and headed out, talk about a wasted chance. I said it before and I will say it now winning teams win these types of games, I have a hard time believing SC will go far into the Tournament with types of lack luster losses. Losing 3-of-4 on the road doesn't make feel good about our chances in the tournament as for all of the obvious reasons but most important to me is that there seems a lack of energy with this young team when they are playing at the Galen Center.
You could sense it all about to come apart when Tim Floyd was called for a technical challenging a call by the officials I don't know the rules all that well but it would seem to me that when a basket is made on a offensive foul it shouldn't stand. Floyd just erupted and to it was clear that SC just wasn't going to pull this one out. Nick Young was the team's bright spot going 11-15 with 26 points and 2-of-3 from the line. SC shot just over 50% for the game and only 50% from the line. This was certainly a different feel from last weekend's games where everyone seemed to be flying high, even having Lod Stewarts family in the crowd didn't help as SC just seemed to out of it. When Tim Floyd has to scream at his players in an attempt to get them motivated you its going to be a long night.
From the LAT:
"We just didn't have that fire," said Pruitt, who had 13 points. "We kind of played lazy off screens and let them be the aggressor."
Floyd picked up a technical foul shortly before halftime after arguing with officials -- apparently over a Washington three-pointer that counted despite a simultaneous foul called on the Huskies -- prompting students to shout, "Mind your manners!"
I love it, "mind your manners"! Who the F*** are they kidding.
I realize that many of us were not expecting SC to have a "great" season this year but the fact they far exceeded or expectations and now that they have shown what they can do it would be disingenuous to write this loss of for any reason. The MSM is a buzz because of USC's recent success in hoops, and while our rivals and detractors scoff at all the attention we are getting SC needs to make the most out of it. We are the media darlings of college sports and I could care less what others think about it but like it or not if want to continue to stay in the conversation we need to perform at a level that continues keep us in a positive light. The positive press that SC has generated in Hoops is great but to me it seems hollow when we can't win these sorts of games.
If we are going to be taken seriously then we need to finish out these games and stay consistent.