With USC going 1-1 on their road trip to Arizona they still have some work to do to make the tournament comfortably.
I didn't see the game last night but from what I read it looks like SC had some real problems with fouls last night.
In four of the five victories, the Trojans attempted more free throws than their opponent and in the other -- a victory over Arizona on Thursday -- they equaled the opponent's attempts.
So when USC sophomore forward Taj Gibson contemplated that Arizona State attempted 36 free throws in the second half alone Saturday during an 80-66 victory over the Trojans at Wells Fargo Arena, he felt something was amiss.
"The foul calls were just ridiculous," said Gibson, who was the second Trojan to foul out when he was disqualified with 8 minutes 30 seconds remaining.
"I'm not taking anything away from Arizona State -- they played a great game -- but at the end of the game you look at the foul calls and you've got to question it. Half of our starting five fouled out."
Again, without having seen the game it would be hard for me to comment but I will say that I am not a fan of blaming the refs. The refs set the tone early so teams need to adjust their game quickly and it doesn't surprise me when the refs readjust at half time requiring teams to follow suit, but I can also understand if there is a discrepancy in how the calls are made.
Mayo scoring 37 was impressive but with all the free throws that ASU got to shoot it turned out to be a wash.
Daniel Hackett had his own take.
He couldn't believe the Sun Devils shot 36 second-half free throws. He couldn't believe his teammates lost their poise so noticeably when calls started going against them. And he couldn't believe USC squandered such a golden opportunity to all but sew up an NCAA tournament berth.
"I'm not going to sit here and cry about it, but it seemed like they were getting all the calls," Hackett said. "They started letting us play physical at first, and then the calls got really cheap. We didn't do a good job of staying poised, and that's my responsibility as a point guard."
SC needs to focus on Cal and Stanford next week and put this weekend behind them.
AS for the win over AZ it was like everything clicked on all cylinders. SC kept the killer B's, Bayless and Budinger, in single digits and the defense was frustrated them all night. The only bad thing about the game was an Arizona fan throwing a battle of water on the court. That happened shortly after Davon Jefferson threw down a one-handed jam and pointed to the AZ student section. I'm not sure why Jefferson felt he needed to do that but with as crazy as fans are all over the country it wasn't surprising that some thing like that happened.
Of course the etiquette police across town were quick to point out that DJ should have been assessed a technical to which I responded:
As long as the home team fans taut the visiting players with expletives and such sooner or later the player is going to respond.
I am not saying its right and I don't condone the player responding but that is where it's heading.
You can't expect the refs to call a technical for taunting when they can't even call the game competently. We have seen this happen increasingly in the pros so we shouldn't be surprised that it filters down to the college ranks. O'Neill handled it spot on and he should be commended for his quick response.
by Paragon SC on Fri Feb 29, 2008 at 11:36:13 PM EDT
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Of course the responses were sanctimonious in tone and I particularly liked and was amused that the resident moralist on the board, Fox 71, thought that checking out BN was some form of self-improvement device. Now that's rich and delusional, what a clown.
A win over either Cal or Stanford ensures 10 wins in the Pac-10 and a 4th place finish, which would pretty much ensure a birth in the tournament, as no 10-win Pac-10 team has ever missed the tournament.
We'll see how it goes...