“Is it March already?,” said every viewer of the USC Trojans demise to the Stanford Cardinal in the 1-point heartbreaker that the Trojans suffered on Jan. 7.
It had every aspect that a classic March Madness game offers: To teams locked in tight battle, one with a heavy contribution from their staples, the other needing an extraordinary performance from a lone hero and a miracle shot to pull of the spectacular upset.
The Trojans looked to have put the Cardinal away early, outscoring the California rival 47-36 in the first half. However, a whimper of a second half that saw USC outscored 41-29 by the surging Cardinal. Tied at 74-74, Jordan McLaughlin drove in for a tremendous layup with 1.7 seconds left on the clock, going up 76-74. On the inbounds, a half court heave from Deacon Davis, miraculously, hits nothing but net to bull ahead by just one for the upset.
And this, of course, was an upset. The now 8-8 Stanford roster is a middle of the road PAC-12 team that hung with the Trojans because of a stunning performance from Reid Travis in front of his home crowd. Travis proved yet again that USC has no idea how to scheme for the opposition’s best player, dropping 29 points while reeling in 10 rebounds. He was also incredibly efficient, hitting 10-of-14 shooting and getting to the free throw line for 11 gifted shots. Travis came into the game averaging 21 points per game, he was largely unhindered to keep Stanford in the game.
The stars came out for USC as well, with Chimezie Metu spring for 20 points, Bennie Boatwright go for 13 points and 11 rebounds while McLaughlin had 16 points and seven assists. Yet still, it was not enough to beat the Cardinal, who dropped USC to an 11-6 record after the stunning loss.
Three Digestible Nuggets
- Travis is steadily becoming a star on the PAC-12 scene. It is easy on a mediocre Stanford team to get buried beneath stars on Arizona State, Arizona and USC, but he is putting together a very impressive, if under the radar, career.
- Metu bounced right back from his game out by posting a big 20 points. McLaughlin also had a bounce back game scoring, throwing up his first game over 15 points in six weeks. While the result was disappointing, it was still a great performance from the studs which can translate into a bounce back game.
- The Trojans continually fail to get to the charity strip. Six attempts is an inexcusable number for any team to grab, especially with the caliber roster that USC boasts. Through 17 games, the Trojans rank 119th in free throw percentage at 72. They are not terrible free throw shooters as far as a college team is concerned, but need to consistently get to the line.