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USC's Poor Shooting Performance Leads To A Utah Blowout

Hailey Tucker |
February 2, 2015 | 3:18 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter

USC had no answer for the Utes on Sunday. (@sunherald/Twitter)
USC had no answer for the Utes on Sunday. (@sunherald/Twitter)

With fewer points in the first half than students, USC digged themselves a hole they can’t get out of and fell to No. 11 Utah 39-67.

Competing against the No. 11 ranked team in the country, USC (9-12, 1-8) struggled to make shots, rebound the basketball, and hold on to the ball.  Utah (17-4, 7-2) pressured the Trojans into complete submission, playing stifling defense and allowing only 12 points in the first half.

With what could easily be the worst half of basketball played by USC this season, the team committed an inexcusable 10 turnovers.  This atrocious display of control was complemented by a single assist, courtesy of redshirt sophomore Katin Reinhardt, leading to a 1:10 assist-to-turnover ratio.  

It didn’t get much better in the second half for the Trojans in that department, as they finished the game with 15 turnovers.  16 of Utah’s points came off of USC turnovers.

“Give Utah credit for playing well early,” said head coach Andy Enfield.  “This was one of those halves of basketball where you shake your head and say ‘Wow, we didn’t see this coming.’”  

Enfield’s astute observation came accompanied with a field goal percentage of 19.2%.  The Trojans 12 points came off of 5-26 shooting from the field and 2-4 shooting from the free throw line.  The Trojans actually set the new record for fewest points in the first half.  The previous record was 22 against Oregon State and had been standing since 1982.  

With USC down by 20 at halftime, the second half was more of an attempt to regain pride rather than an honest attempt to win a ballgame. Coach Enfield benched the starting five for a chunk of the second half in which the Trojans played with far more energy that improbably included an 11-0 second-half run. 

“I’m proud of our bench coming in and increasing our energy and productivity,” Enfield said after the loss.  “We need the whole team to play like that.”

READ MORE: Two 30-Point Performances Not Enough In USC's Triple Overtime Loss To Colorado

Leading the charge off the bench was freshman forward Malik Martin with 11 points, with 10 of the 11 coming in the second half.  Martin had not scored a single point in the previous four games, but he seems to play his best against the Utes, with his season best of 14 coming in Utah on January 2.  

On the other end of the performance spectrum for the Trojans was fellow freshman Jordan McLaughlin who didn’t score on a 0-7 shooting performance.  McLaughlin supplemented his lack of scoring with team-high 3 turnovers.  

Despite an underwhelming performance from the team, the Trojans were only outscored by 8 points in the second half of play.  The Trojans were able to turn around their walking dead performance and even brought the Galen Center crowd to its feet at certain points.  

Enfield took the blame for his teams’ loss and sympathized with his players who have certainly suffered from a tough conference schedule thus far.  

“Whatever I did or didn’t do in the pregame speech and in our preparation, I’ll take the blame for that,” Enfield confessed.  

The team recently dropped a tight game to Stanford, lost in triple overtime to Colorado, and suffered an ugly second half against a UCLA team whom they competed with closely in the first half.  Enfield is standing by his team, confident that they have the capability to win these games.

“I love this team and we have a very bright future,” Enfield said.  

The Trojans will need more than love as they hit the road and head to the Bay Area.  USC will play Cal, their only victory in the Pac-12 thus far, this Thursday.       

Reach Staff Reporter Hailey Tucker here



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