USC Basketball

Game Day: Notes & Observations USC vs Stanford Basketball Edition

January 18, 2020

There are still three hours until the game tips off at Galen and it’s a beautiful Saturday slow strolling afternoon on campus...and I’m seeing lots of parents with little kids today which offers me some hope for ths afternoon’s basketball game attendance.  

The Stanford Cardinal are in town and they’re bringing withe them an impressive 15-2 overall record and an undefeated conference slate at 4-0.  The Cardinal’s only two losses on the season are a 1-point loss to No. 5 Butler and a loss at home to Kansas.  The Trojans will look to slow down the Stanford backcourt lead by Daejon Davis and freshman Tyrell Terry who can both light it up from behinf the arc. The Trojans on the offensive side of the ball will need to make shots when Stanford doubles down on the Trojan post players.

**Typically it’s the students who get the freebie hand outs as an incentive to fill seats…today the sections at midcourt are being dressed up with Victory Fingers, pom pom shakers, and USC Hoops rally towels.

**You know you’re old when you remember watching Adam Keefe play for Stanford and now you’re watching his kid, James, play for the Cardinal.  He looks just like pops.

**I’m enjoying watching Stanford’s pregame warm up drills.--They remind me of the ones I used to drill when I was coaching.  Lots of feet sfuffling and hands up playing defense...Stanford’s defense is every bit as good as the Washington Huskies zone defense which gave the Trojans fits, so it will be essential the Trojans have the good ball movement and shooting efficiency carry over from Thursday night’s win over Cal.  

**I’m told there’s a large gathering outside Galen waiting to get inside with less than 35 minutes until tip-off, Galen is still empty.  The view of the downtown skyline with the curtains open following the rain is pictureque though.


**Physical start to the game...the refs lettting them play with a lot contact.

**1ST TV timeout with 14:50 to go in the half and the Trojans lead 8-7.

**Someone may want to pay attntion to Stanford Cardinal wingman, Spencer Jones, and stop going under the screens on the shooter

**Low IQ basketball by the Trojans as they try and force the ball up between too many Cardinal defenders in the paint getting each shot shoved back in their faces instead of kicking it out and resetting the offense.  I get trying to draw the foul and get to the charity stripe, however, they’re not getting the whistle

**I’ve seen everything now...the officials just reversed a potential flagrant foul call on Isaiah Mobley and called a foul on Stanford instead.

**The Cardinal defense is bothering the Trojans as they’re not sure where to attack when the double team comes on the entry pass into the paint.

**How do you miss so many open lay ups?!!?  The Trojans would be better off with the approach of looking to rip the rim down instead of soft finesse attempts.  Stanford leads 23-13 with 6:24 to go in the half.

**Trojans weakside defense has been atrocious and Coach Enfield finally pulls Nick.  He’s struggling on offense and it usually carries over on to his defensive effort.

**Trailing 31-19 the Trojans are shooting 27% fron the field and 0-3 from behind the arc.  At least theyre shooting  7-12 from the FT line. *sigh*

**STtanford runs their offense and makes the Trojans defense chase until they lose their man resulting in an open shot...high IQ basketball.

Poor weakside defense...poor offensive execution and poor shooting are just a few reasons why the Trojans trail by 20 at the half.  If the team is going to have any chance of winning this game they’re going to have to get hot from the outside and go man defense because the zone defense can’t rotate to the shooter...stop switching so much on the screens allowing the Cardinal to use the mismatch created.  Just play with better effort!   The way the Trojans defended Stanford’s last possession they deserve to be down by 20 points.


**Ethan Andesron opens USC’s scoring with a 3 after the offensive rebound.

**Trojans open the half on a 10-1 run and cut the lead to 11 with 16:12 to play and now trail 46-35.  Stanford’s next possession ends with a shot clock violation as Daejan Davis has to heave up a deep 3 which doesn’t draw iron leaving a ding in the backboard.  1ST TV timeout at 15:48  The Trojans have a chance to get the lead into single digits.

**MAKE YOUR FTS!!!!  With a chance to get the lead into single digits Daniel Utomi misses both and theTrojans still trail by 11 with less than 15 minutes to play.

**Onyeka Okongwu has come alive and will try for the old fashioned 3-point play...he makes the FT...Trojans now trail  48-38.

**USC down 8 with 13;14 to play...and the Trojan defense forces a Cardinal timeout when trapped on the sideline...10 seconds to shoot when the Cardinal inbound the ball leading by 8...USC is on a 15-3 run in the first 6:57 of the 2ND half.  Not only is the team back into it...the crowd is also back into the game....and just like that the Trojan’s defense forces the Cardinal’s 2nd shot clock violation.

**Trojans trail 50-40 after Jonah Matthews misses another Trojan lay up...for some reason these guys struggle to finish at the rim.

**Trojans now trail by 15 with Jonah at the line for 2 free throws and he makes them both with 9:50 to play.

**Big O picks up his 4th foul with the Trojans trailing by 8 with 8:30 to play...key moment in the game with the Trojans trying to wrestle away momentum from the Cardinal.

**Trojans trail 62-60 with 4:30 to play and a chance to tie or take the lead.

**3:36 to play and the Trojans have the ball out of bounds under their basket still trailing  62-60...The crowd is up and into it.   Not sure what Nick Rakocevic and Jonah Matthews were running on that offensive set, however,....turnover.

**With 30 seconds left in the game trailing by 5 and no sense of urgency the Trojans walk the ball up the court and pass the ball around like there’s 5 minutes left.  Low basketball IQ.

**Galen is rocking after the Trojans press defense forces the turnover and a big 3 from Elijah Weaver and a FT to come giving him a 4-point opportunity... and give the Trojans the lead  at 70-69  with 7.1 left to play...the game is tied and Stanford is out of timeouts.

**we’re going OT after the missed FT by Weaver.  Do the Trojans have enough left in the tank to complete the 20 point comeback?   And shame on all the fans who left early.  Maybe they need a copy of my Fight On speech.

**Trojan ball winning the tip.

**BIG O fouls out with 3:13 to play and theTrojans trail by 2

**Weaver with the bucket and a FT attempt after Oscar DeSilva fouls out for the Cardinall...he has been killing USC in the paint all night. Tthe Trojans lead by 1, 70-69 after Weaver’s free throw.

**Galen Center explodes after Jonahs 3 gives the Trojans a 4 poing lead with under 2 minutes to play.

**FT’s down the stretch will decide the game and Weaver at the line for 3 attempts with 1:33 to play...he makes all 3 Trojans lead by 4 again.

The Trojans and the Cardinal battled back and forth in the beginning of the game until the Cardinal pulled away and took a 20-point halftime lead into the locker room.  USC took a lead of 10-7 and then did not lead again until the overtime period winning 82-78 in one of the most exciting games Galen has seen in her short life.  Coming back from a 20-point defecit over a very good Stanford team is only going to build more confidence in this team.  They’re going to need it as they prepare to hit the road again...Thursday night the Trojans start off in Eugene with a big game against Oregon who knocked off Washington in overtime up in Seattle earlier in the day.


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