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USC Basketball

Basketball Game Day: Notes & Observations USC vs Temple

November 22, 2019

**To begin the season SC knocked off Villanova in an exhibition game which has no bearing on the standings.  Villanova is located on the  west side Philadelphia...tonight the Trojans look to take out the north side of the City of Brotherly Love which is where Temple is located.  The Trojans have the chance to meet the Owls again next week in the Orlando Invitational Tournament over the Thanksgiving Weekend..

**Still a little over two hours till tip off and and the first few guys out to take warm up shots shots are Kyle Sturdivant, Elijah Weaver, and Talin Lewis.  Looks like the team will be wearing their home gold uniforms tonite.  They do look sharp.  I Never understood the difference between the football home colors and the basketball home colors.--Football the team wears their Cardinal & Gold, however, for basketball the team usually wears white.  

**How much credibilty does a home win over Temple bump the Trojans nationally?  The Owls come into the game 3-0 and should be considered a basketball “blue blood.”--They are the 5th winningest basketball Program in the nation.  Old school Laker fans may remember the name Aaron McKie who is in his 1st year coaching his alma mater.  First impressions of the Owls as they make they way out for an informal shoot around...they look like your typical east coast team...thick and athletic and won’t have a problem down low with the Trojans size.

**The Trojan Dance Force practicing their routine at center court.

**90 minutes till tip off...really good crowd on a Friday night would be great!  Tomorrow is the game between SC and UCLA at the Coliseum...what a great weekend for Trojan sports fans.

**Most of you know I’m not a huge fan of the DJ at the games, however, pre game DJ Malski does a good job getting the crowd into it.--Earth Wind & Fire has that effect on most who have a pulse!  Speaking of the crowd, the student section is filling up pretty well with less than 5 minutes till tip off.  If I were to guesstimate there will be close to 5000 in attedance.

**Max Agbonkpolo inserted into the starting line up tonight...Maybe looking for the outside shot off the bat?

**Nick Rakocevic with a 3.   If he’s going to play at the next level, Nick, will have to develop a consistent outside shot.

**The Trojans need to be stronger in the paint  in traffic...going up soft with 2nd attempts following the offensive rebounding.

**Trojans having a little trouble with the Temple press....ball handlers picking the ball up too early trapping themselves near midcourt...Temple’s athletism slowing the team from getting into their offensive sets.

**Temple’s length causing some issues on the entry the 10:39 mark Owls lead 19-13.  They’re 4-8 from behind the arc

**22-16 Temple at the 7:49 mark and the Trojans are having troubke setting up in their half court sets with Temple really extending the floor starting with the pressure in the back court bringing the ball up the court....CAE brings back the starting line up.

**Jonah and Nick discussing the offensive set...they’re not on the same page.  Trojans trail by 9

**Trojan FT shooting once again poor...and the guards are the main culprit...and Rakocevic

**New’re not allowed to shoot a 3-pt shot until you make a FT.  I’m looking at you Nick Rakocevic.  The Trojans are 4-11 at the moment and trail 25-22 with 3:41 to go in the half.

**TUSK being played during the timeout.  Just a subtle reminder tomorrow is the last regular season football game. 

**Temple 2-3 match up zone  causing issues and the Trojans can’t buy a bucket

**Trojans have to take the shots in rhythm.  Shooters  are passing up open shots.  Is it a confidence thing or just the extra pass looking to establish a down low presence?  Temple’s zone not allowing the high low-low game.

**Trojans had the lead and momentum right before the half forcing a Temple air ball...Mobley came up with the loose ball rebound only to have it stripped away trying to dribble out the clock with 1.5 seconds left, giving Temple the lay up and 31-30 halftime lead,  

The Trojans despite shooting 4-11 from the Free Throw Line and just 37.5% from the field, are in the game,  They have a 22-18 rebound edge, including a 5-1edge  on the offensive glass, however, they are also only  2-8 from behind the arc...meanwhileTemple is shooting 5-19 from behind the 3-point line.  Each team has 6 turnovers.  Doesn’t take a genius to figure it out...the Trojans need to make their shots.

**2nd half Temple real aggressive man to man defense...Daniel Utomi drives to the basket for the lay up and theTrojans take the lead...Utomi & Mobley starts th 2nd half over Agbonkpolo and Rakocevic.

**The high low from Mobley to Onyeka Okongwu finally shows up... especially with Big O establishing his position inside the half circle under the Trojan basket.  Big O starting to assert himself early in the 2nd half attacking the rim with bad intentions!

**Trojans need to learn how to run a fast break off a steal...the ball is always in the wrong ball handlers hands and more times than not they turn it over.  This has been a trend in the early part of the season.

**At the 12:54 mark up by 1 Coach Enfield replaces Big O...1 m inute later the Trojans trail 44-40.  Nick can’t nake a FT but he tries another 3 and misses...Temple makes their 3 following the long rebound..

**With 10:05 to go in the game Trojans trail by 7 and are 3-14 from behind the arc.

**9:31 to go in the game and the Trojans are unravelling at the seams.  Too much ball handling and no ball movememnt poor decision making and dribbling into traps...Temple’s defense forcing the Trojans into mistakes. 

**Hak-A-Rack with 5:31 to go trailing by 8 and Nick finally chips in with one made FT 

**Trojans make a couple of 3’s...too little too late?

**3:21 to go Trojans trail by 8 and Coach uses his last timeout.  If the Trojans are going to pull this game out they’re going to have to get some stops.  Trading baskets isn’t going to get the job done.

**1:56 to go trailing by 8 Big O at the line 1 and 1...makes both.

**Trojans shoot 11-20 from the FT line and 6-22 from behind the arc with some questionable decision making by the whole team under pressure.  Nick fell back into the same trap which has been an issue during his career at USC.  If he can’t get going offensively he gets frustrated and loses focus.  He also picked up his first technical of the season standing on the block waiting for the FT attenpt by the Temple player.  It was a double technical, however, as a senior captain, Rackocevic, will need to play smarter when his offensive game isn’t working.

Final 70-61

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