It was nice to ses USC win a game convincingly against a team from a major conference like they did last night against Georgia Tech. As almost always seems to be the case things were a little sluggish and sloppy in the first half but SC turned it around in the second half. SC looked terrible from behind the 3-point line going only 2-9 in the first half yet they managed to be on top at the break 36-34. I was scratching my head saying go figue...The Yellowjackets had some nice rhythm going in the first half, they looked like moved well in transition nad the made some nice shots from all over the floor but SC hung in there.
The game was barely a minute old when Leonard Washishington went down with what is being called a high ankle sprain so Coach Tim Floyd had move some personnel around to make things work. After having 2nd half collapses in a number of games this year SC was determined not let that happen again last night as they came out firing in the second half.
On a night when the Trojans lost yet another frontcourt player early in the game, they finished with a flourish to improve to 8-3.
Dwight Lewis lead USC in scoring with 19 points and DeMar DeRozan who had 17 points. Taj Gibson was outstanding on the boards grabbing 14 rebounds and scoring 15 points. SC left no doubt going on a 10-0 run to open the 2nd half with a solid transition game and some very good defense. They had a tough time inside and once USC kept the Yellowjackets out of the middle if forced them into a perimeter game.
USC came out crisp after the break, forced several steals and bombed away from the perimeter and with dunks en route to a quick 14-point lead and an eventual 76-57 victory before an announced crowd of 4,121 at the Galen Center.
SC also looked weak out in the perimeter going 2-14, though on a positive note SC was great at the free-throw line outscroing GT 24-8. I was really surprised that after a pretty solid first half that GT came out flat and never looked liked they could get anything going in the second half.
DeMar DeRozan continues to improve with some solid play last night. Adam Rose has some interesting thoughts as well.
[T]he TV commentators were, again, trying to compare and contrast him with O.J. Mayo. Here's a simple difference people keep forgetting: Mayo played guard, while DeRozan's been playing a lot more forward at this level.
One analysis was that Mayo would take shots and force the issue, where as DeRozan lets the flow of the game come to him. The result, allegedly, is that DeRozan isn't tearing it up on the scoreboard -- yet. That's not exactly incorrect, but maybe there's a better explanation for the scoring discrepancy.
While Mayo came in older and far more polished, DeRozan is simply still developing. To put it bluntly, Mayo was a bearded man-child and DeRozan is a really talented kid.
Part of that is manifested in work ethic. Mayo was legendary for spending extra time working on his shot -- before or after practice. DeRozan, who has missed all ten of his three point attempts this season and is shooting an unimpressive 61% from the free throw line, hasn't developed that sort of reputation. Asked about it over the weekend, DeRozan said he was taking extra shots in practice, but that he wasn't really worried about his perimeter game and felt it was just a slump. His answer wasn't overwhelming, not that there's anything wrong with that.
Whoa! You mean the press has unreasonable expectations?!
These are two totally different players with two completely different styles so i think DeRozan is going to be fine...
On a side note Dan Weber has some thoughts on what might have been although I think its a bit early yet...
What if, the USC Trojans now seem to be asking themselves after Monday's 17-point romp over ACC opponent Georgia Tech, a team that came into Galen Center with a 7-2 record?
What if a careless USC team (8-3) hadn't blown double-digit second-half leads against Seton Hall and Missouri in that Puerto Rico tournament.
What if a couple of calls at the end hadn't gone against them in that one-point loss at unbeaten and No. 4 Oklahoma?
Well, that USC team would have been 11-0. And ranked far higher than the Trojans started out as a Top 20 team.
Certainly higher thah the team that this week is ranked nowhere. Not a single mention in the AP or ESPN/USA Today coaches polls. Arizona and Stanford are gwetting votes now.
But USC? Nada. Zip.
Only if.....yeah, a lot of guys at the track talk like that...