This sort of little had absent in accordance to prepare through this maddening mess of a Sunday matinee, from its copious scoring slumps to the umpteen possibilities blown by both of those groups, but 39 minutes and 40 seconds of slogging via a person of its stranger online games in recent memory experienced still still left USC with Boogie Ellis dribbling close to midcourt, and the ultimate seconds ticking down in a tied game the Trojans experienced, for most of the afternoon, tried out their finest to squander.
So quite a few other possibilities experienced by now slipped from their grasp Sunday that every of people remaining seconds handed in anxious succession, the whole of Galen Centre keeping its breath. Even Ellis had missed a baseline jumper just 30 seconds before to probably just take the lead. But soon after a weird, sloppy afternoon, all No. 17 USC essential was for one particular final shot to slide, ideally erasing the generally uncomfortable affair that arrived in advance of it.
That final shot, way too, appeared destined to skip when Ellis lifted off, fading away at the cost-free-throw line with minimal house to operate among Washington Condition defenders. It strike off the back iron just before falling fortuitously forward into the hoop, making it possible for USC (23-4, 12-4 Pac-12) to escape amid the mess with a 62-60 victory above Washington Condition (14-12, 7-8).
“We were fortuitous to pull this a person out,” claimed USC mentor Andy Enfield.
For Ellis, it wasn’t so much good fortune as intestinal fortitude. It was the particular form of massive instant he’d talked all time of owning at USC, just one that would aid cement his position in his new method. The transfer from Memphis had been a steadying hand for the Trojans all season, but no effectiveness was arguably additional significant this period than the a single he place together Sunday.
Ellis scored a period-superior 21 points, capping the heroic overall performance with his initial buzzer-beater. It couldn’t have occur at a improved time for USC, which now faces 3 of the Pac-12’s prime four groups above its remaining four regular-period video games.
“We stay for people moments,” Ellis stated of his shot.
But ahead of that last instant of elation arrived lots of other people that could have normally accomplished the Trojans in on any usual afternoon.
Two times, USC went six or more minutes with no a subject objective. Its normal dominance in the paint disappeared. Its transition video game was nonexistent. USC was outworked on the glass, 41-34, and outdone driving the arc, in which Washington State strike 15 three-tips, additional than any group had strike against USC all year.
All those stat traces, sans context, would seemingly assure USC of defeat. But the rest of the box rating told a slightly unique story, a person even Enfield joked was hard to believe that.
“This,” he mentioned, “is a exceptional box rating.”
Though Washington Point out nearly buried USC in a barrage of three-ideas, it struggled to do considerably of just about anything within the paint, in which the Trojans defense has been ideal all year. The Cougars hit just five of their 32 tries inside the arc, while knocking down three occasions as lots of pictures from long vary.
The program experienced been to retain Washington Condition from beating USC deep. As a substitute, the Trojans went the significantly more hard route, wholly shutting the Cougars out of the paint.
USC did not do a lot much better within. But even as Washington State pulled in 16 offensive rebounds, it scored on just two of those people next-likelihood prospects.
“The primary detail was to halt them from threes,” reported forward Max Agbonkpolo, who contributed 10 points off the bench. “It’s tricky when they’re very hot like that.”
Both teams fell sufferer to prolonged chilly stretches, the worst of which arrived for USC just after the second 50 percent began. Drew Peterson, who additional 17 factors, hit a a few-pointer to open the 50 percent, lending some hope that USC would burst out of its slump and barrel earlier the Cougars quickly more than enough.
But for the following seven minutes, the Trojans didn’t strike a solitary shot from the field as Washington State climbed out to an 8-point direct.
“We normally say our defense has to have us when we have stretches like that offensively,” Enfield claimed.
The defense would clamp down just more than enough, as the Cougars strike just a person shot in the ultimate 6 minutes — and only 1 of their ultimate 6 three-level tries.
For Ellis, it was all the wiggle home he would require to help USC escape.