Friday, January 30, 2009

USC Holds off Stanford 70-69

(Photo: LA Times)

Some of us in the Galen Center Student Section could not bear to watch the last 14.6 seconds of last night's game. On USC's final possession, USC guard Daniel Hackett went to the foul line with a chance to stretch USC's 70-69 lead, but he missed the front end of a one and one, giving Standford a chance for a game-winning shot. You could here a pin drop as Taj Gibson contested Stanford forward Lawrence Hill's turnaround jumper from the baseline. The ball rimmed out as the final buzzer sounded and the crowd let out a collective sigh. Through sheer will and determination, the Trojans found a way to win this game and improved their record to (14-6) overall and (5-3) in the Pac-10. More after the jump!

The Trojans were not even close to being full strength for this game earlier in the week. Following their Washington road trip, Gibson learned that he had pneumonia, Hackett came down with the flu, and Dwight Lewis and Leonard Washington were still finding their way back from ankle injuries. Coach Tim Floyd received great news on Thursday morning went it all four players were cleared and ready to play. The Trojans got some great energy from Washington, who started the game and scored 12 points, including 8 points in the first few minutes of the 2nd half. However, it was Marcus Johnson who may have provided the spark that led to the Trojans' victory. In the first half, Marcus got the crowd excited with a ankle-breaking fast-break dunk and then followed up a high-flying Demar Derozan dunk with his own version of the same dunk, only more electrifying. See photos below (courtesy of

You can see some of the highlights here, courtesy of Fox Sports.

A lesser team would have let this game slip away. However, this team continues to show toughness, heart, and resiliency. The Trojans wrap up the first half of the conference schedule against Cal this Saturday and 8:30pm. A win would put the Trojans at (6-3) in the Pac-10 as it enters the remaining 9 games of the regular season beginning with fucla next Wednesday at pauley pavilion. So let's get out there and fill the Galen Center.

Fight On! Beat the Bears!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Brian Cushing, Chasing the dream

Here's an all-access look at Trojan linebacker Brian Cushing and his preparation for the Senior Bowl. By all accounts Cushing has had an outstanding showing down in Alabama and has solidified himself as one of the best linebackers in the country. USC Sports Talk wishes Brian "Juice Williams is gonna DIE!" Cushing the best of luck as he prepares for the NFL Draft.

Chasing the dream
Saturday, January 24, 2009 | 12:58 PM

Get an all-access look at USC LB Brian Cushing as he preps for the Under Armour Senior Bowl.

I love this shot of Rey, Fili, Cush, and Clay

Friday, January 23, 2009

Derozan takes Flight

Derozan takes flight on an alley-oop from Daniel Hackett in this highlight from last nights game against the Huskies. The Trojans lost a very winnable game last night. Even without their leading scorer, Dwight Lewis, who sat out with an ankle injury the Trojans were in a position to win late. Three Trojans fouled out as the Huskies shot 40 free throws to USC's 17. Marcus Johnson played well, and should see additional minutes down the stretch. More on the game later...

Hackett lead the team in scoring with 24 pts

**Update** 1/24/09: I've been searching for highlights from the Washington game, hoping that they would include Marcus Johnson's two thunderous dunks. Here's one of his dunks in these highlights from Fox Sports.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

*Linebacker U* Update

Here's another video on the Trojan linebacking trio at the Senior Bowl, provided by In my earlier post I failed to mention another USC linebacker at the Senior Bowl, the South team's head oach, Jacksonville Jaguar's head coach Jack del Rio.

Wow, now that I think about it, both head coaches at the Senior Bowl drafted USC linebackers in last year's NFL draft. Marvin Lewis and the Cincinnati Bengals selected Keith Rivers with their first round pick and the Jacksonville Jaguars drafted Thomas Williams.

Best of luck to the Trojan seniors.

Fight On!

USC- "Linebacker U"

That is what the Worldwide Leader in Sports has coined the USC program which has 3 senior linebackers dominating the Senior Bowl practices. Rey Maualuga, Brian Cushing, and Clay Matthews are attempting to cap off their amazing senior seasons with strong performances in this year's Senior Bowl in front of hundreds of NFL scouts, coaches and GMs. Todd McShay says that the Trojans could see its 3 linebackers taken in the top 40 picks of this year's NFL draft. Excluded from the Linebacker U talk is USC's other senior linebacker, and this year's Rose Bowl defensive MVP, Kaluka Maiava. With QB Mark Sanchez expected to be taken at the top of the draft as well I think the phrase NFL-U may be more appropriate.

Fight on!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

USC Basketball Coming Together??

Expectations remained high at USC this season, despite the early departures of last year's talented freshmen duo of O.J. Mayo and Davon Jefferson. Not only were the Trojans coming off back to back NCAA Tournament appearances, but they returned 3 veteran starters in Daniel Hackett, Dwight Lewis, and Taj Gibson, and added another highly touted freshman in Demar Derozan. However, there have been some disappointing moments for the Trojans during the first couple months of the college basketball season.

The refusal of UNC transfer Alex Stephenson's waiver to play this season, coupled with injuries to players such as Kasey Cunningham (out for season) and freshman Leonard Washington (missed first 4 conference games) have really tested USC's meddle so far this season. This has hurt the bench's depth, and as a result, the offense has been inconsistent. Coach Floyd's team has shown that it can compete with the best in the country, but they seem to lose focus at times. The Trojans have looked great in tough losses to highly ranked Oklahoma on the road, and at home against fucla. But only a week ago, the Trojans were in a mid-season crisis after back to back losses to lowly Oregon State and fucla. Tim Floyd and some of his veteran players had become the brunt of criticism and doubt from fans and media.

The team might have done some soul-searching since then because they appear to be re-energized as we head into the crucial month of February. USC swept the Pac-10's Arizona schools this past week, improving to (12-5) overall and (3-2) in the Pac-10. They showed heart and toughness in picking up those two gritty wins. Gibson and Hackett have emerged as team leaders, but they need to continue to keep this team together and make them believe in one another. Derozan is getting better with each game and is beginning to believe that he can take over games. Lewis was benched for the ASU game last Thursday, but responded with two clutch performances against the Sun Devils and Arizona. Role players Keith Wilkinson, Marcus Johnson, and the now healthy Leonard Washington are finding their groove as well.

USC's record currently stands at 12-5 overall and (3-2) in the Pac-10. They have played themselves back into the Pac-10 race and now must build on these two big wins so that they can finish strong. Up next is another tough Pac-10 road trip against the Washington schools. USC plays at Washington on FSN Thurday at 8pm PST.

Fight On! Beat the Huskies!!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Hackett leads team to victory

I was already drafting the post I was going to write as Daniel Hackett missed two free throws that would have put the Trojans up by one late in last night's game.
"Hackett chokes again."

"Daniel Hackett is the antonym of clutch."
Nightmarish flashbacks from last season's Memphis game cluttered my head. Hackett missing yet another potential game winning free throw. Thankfully I wont have to write that post.

After missing two crucial free throws, Hackett put the team on his shoulders, determined not to lose the game. Hackett nailed a clutch jumper with 15 seconds left on the clock to tie the game at 64. The Men of Troy forced an Arizona turnover with less than 4 seconds left on the clock. Hackett received the ball on the inbound play and drove the ball down the sideline before being fouled with 1.2 seconds left on the clock. With thousands of hearts pounding and fingers crossed, Hackett nailed the first free throw putting the Trojans up by one. Hackett intentionally missed the second and Jordan Hills last second heave fell short, giving the Trojans the 65-64 win.

Dwight Lewis and Keith Wilkinson played extremely well. Leonard Washington made his return, after sitting 4 games with a high ankle sprain. He played well despite getting posterized by Jordan Hill. The Trojans are now 12-5 overall and 3-2 in conference. They head up to Washington next week to face the Washington schools and will be at the Galen Center the following week against the Bay Area schools.

Fight On!

Beat the Huskies!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Westchester @ Fairfax

Yesterday, mel kiper fan and I were apart of the sold out crowd at Fairfax High School to watch the Fairfax Lions take on the Westchester Comets. We arrived at Fairfax around 2:30pm hoping to purchase the few remaining tickets to the game. School officials informed us that there were 60 tickets left and that over 700 tickets had been sold. It was an amazing atmosphere for a high school basketball game. I'm ashamed to say that the crowd at Fairfax would have put the Galen Center crowds during the winter break to shame.

We were both excited to see Solomon Hill(09') and Dwayne Polee(10'), two furture Trojans, battle it out head-to-head. We also wanted to get a first hand look at the 6'10 Fairfax center Renardo Sidney(09').

Dwayne Polee goes up for the block against future teammate Solmon Hill

The game went back and forth during the first two quarters. Renardo Sidney showed great shooting touch, knocking down a barrage of three pointers in the first half. He finished the game with 34 points. Solomon Hill impressed me with his handle and quick passes. He's a very quick and athletic 6'6" 200 pounder. However he wasn't very aggressive. More often then not he deferred to Sidney, who demanded the ball, instead of looking to create off the dribble. Fairfax played pretty lazy on defense, as the Westchester guards had there way with them.

Dwayne Polee is an athletic freak. He has some serious springs. He gets off the ground higher and faster than... anyone I've ever seen. He had a few amazing blocked shots and some great putbacks. He definitely needs to work on his jumpshot and strengthen his hands.

Westchester took a large lead in the fourth quarter. Fairfax tried to stage a comeback but the Westchester guards were too quick and were shooting lights out from all over the court. The Comets closed out the Lions 78-73.

Westchester junior guard Jordin Mayes

The one lasting impression the game had on me was not Polee's athleticism. Not Sidney's massive frame and long range shooting touch. Not Solomon's ball handling. But the play of Westchester junior guard Jordin Mayes. This kid can shoot. He was draining threes left and right in the first half of the game. Mayes finished the game with 17 points. Tourney Tim definitely needs to go after this kid hard. I'm hoping his teammate Polee is doing his fair share of recruiting as well. He's going to be a great basketball player at the next level.

Fight On!

Beat the Wildcats!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Scumdevil Highlights

Here are a few highlights from last nights ASU game including some clips from the press conference. Hackett receives some well deserved praise from Coach Floyd, with Floyd stating that "(Daniel) played as well as any player that I've had play here at SC."

Beat the Wildcats!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Still Talkin...

Its been a while since our last post, I apologize for that. The founding members here at USC Sports Talk have been quite busy the last few months. Some have been busy breaking in new careers, while the rest have been "hitting the books," working hard to obtain the prestigious status of USC Alumni. Congratulations to those USC Sports Talk members who have graduated. It was a looong journey. A battle that I'm am happy to say, no soldiers were left behind. Fight On!

Now just because we haven't made a post in over a month doesn't mean we are not abreast of all things USC. Joey and myself were fortunate enough to take in the Rose Bowl Game live and witness Mark Sanchez pick apart the Cowardly Lions' defense. Mel kiper fan and I have had the pleasure of attending all of the Men of Troy's home basketball games. And we have all been keeping a very close eye on the football recruiting scene. We will have numerous posts in the coming weeks as we approach National Signing Day on the colossal recruiting class BIG Balls Pete is putting together.

The Men of Troy

Earlier tonight I had the pleasure of watching the Trojans defeat the No. 15 ranked ASU Scumdevils 61-49. All the talk prior to the game was circled around ASU's super sophomore James Harden. The national media has been jerking off to Harden and how he is the poster child for why college basketball players should stay in college. Apparently there is much to be learned by staying in school an extra year and I think its safe to say that Daniel Hackett gave Mr. Harden his first lesson of the semester. Hackett LOCKED DOWN Harden the ENTIRE game. Harden finished with ZERO field goals and mustered a measly 4 points (4-7 from the free throw line). Hackett's gritty defensive performance was Kevin Durantesque, frustrating Harden from the tip-off.

There's a reason he's not a one-and-done

Demar Derozan helped seal the deal putting in a career high 22pts on 8-13 shooting. Derozan has progressed nicely over the course of the season. Every game he keeps getting better and better. Most impressive is his ability to have such a large impact on the game without having the ball in his hands.

This is a great win for the Trojans, however there is a lot of work to be done if the Trojans are to compete for the Pac-10 title. The Trojans have got to reduce their turnovers and find someone who can dribble the basketball (The fundamentals, dribbling and passing). We'll have a post game update following the Arizona game with some basketball recruiting updates as well. (I know Joey's hurting that Zona's recruiting class was gutted by the rest of the Pac-10)

Fight On!

Beat the Wildcats!

Oh yea I almost forgot, Josh Shipp's a pussy.