Tonight was a great start to the USC basketball season. Two great, competitive games that were lots of fun to watch. I got there at 4:45 to watch the women's team go first, and what could have been a miserable start turned into a sign of hope. Fresno State went on an 11-0 run to start the game, but the Trojans rallied back and went into halftime with a one point lead. USC's speed is going to be their key to victory. Many times a player would leap out and disrupt a pass and score on an easy fast break. This team has great reflexes and adjusts to shifts in the opposing offense very quickly. They will need that when they face Stanford on 12.29.
A lot of USC basketball alums showed up too. Lisa Leslie and Tina Thompson appeared at the women's game, and Taj Gibson appeared at the men's. Of course they got lots of autographs and a personal welcome from AD Pat. I can only imagine what goes through the heads of Tina and Lisa when they see their names and numbers hung up in the rafters at Galen.
The men's team had some serious struggles. Not a single 3PT shot was made, and the team couldn't get the defense and offense going together in crucial situations. They escaped these problems against CSUN, but it will hurt when they face the Pac-12. Still, Dewayne Dedmon played exactly as advertised. He stuffed shots, made big dunks, and sent the crowd into a frenzy.
And speaking of frenzy, during the second half the student second broke into possibly the biggest roar I've heard from a Galen Center crowd. During a timeout, the PA man announced that USC Women's Volleyball had won tonight while UCLA lost in five sets, putting USC in the lead in the conference. Immediately following that announcement, the screen displayed the final seconds of the UCLA game at the Sports Arena. The entire student section roared in excitement, and the band immediately started Tusk. That energy didn't cease for the rest of the game. I hope that both the team and the crowd can keep up this fire for the rest of the basketball season.