18 Turnovers Doom the Trojans

It also exacerbated the Trojans’ agony.

USC had chances to win in regulation and overtime against No. 12 Oregon on Thursday night at Matthew Knight Arena before some blunders led to double overtime, where the Ducks thoroughly outclassed their counterparts on the way to a 79-70 victory that knocked the Trojans out of first place in the Pac-12 Conference.

The final 1 1/2 minutes of regulation will probably replay themselves in every Trojans’ nightmare for the foreseeable future. They blew a four-point lead that improbably came after they had trailed by as many as 11 in the second half.

“You’ve got to take care of the ball,” USC coach Andy Enfield said after his team committed 18 turnovers while having its three-game winning streak snapped. “Some were ill-timed passes that went to the other guys. We just have to make the right basketball play. Give them credit, they’re a good defensive team.”

USC guard Jonah Mathews hit a cold-blooded three-pointer with the shot clock ticking down to give his team a 62-58 lead with 1:24 left in regulation. The Trojans (15-4 overall, 4-2 Pac-12) were still in excellent position to win after C.J. Walker’s driving layup pulled the Ducks within 62-60 with 64 seconds remaining.

Nick Rakocevic shoots over Oregon’s Shakur Juiston during the first half on Thursday in Eugene, Ore. (Chris Pietsch / AP)

But USC guard Ethan Anderson’s driving layup bounced off the rim and the Trojans’ two big men fell down going for the rebound. Oregon’s Payton Pritchard tied the score on his own driving layup with 26 seconds left.

USC’s implosion reached epic proportions when Oregon’s Chris Duarte tipped the inbounds pass for a steal, but Trojans forward Onyeka Okongwu blocked Will Richardson’s jumper at the buzzer to preserve the tie and send the game into overtime.

Both teams had a chance to prevail in the final minute of overtime, but Mathews missed a three-pointer and Pritchard missed a step-back jumper at the buzzer.

The second overtime was all Ducks. It started with USC guard Daniel Utomi committing a turnover and Oregon (16-4, 5-2) building a quick four-point lead thanks to free throws. Duarte extended the advantage with a three-pointer off a pass from Pritchard that gave the Ducks a 74-68 lead with 2:59 left.

The Trojans weren’t done making silly mistakes, Anderson’s lazy pass to Nick Rakocevic on the perimeter was stolen by Duarte for a layup that ended any chance of another comeback. USC shot 33.9% in addition to its sloppy play that allowed the Ducks to generate 14 steals, not exactly a winning formula against a ranked team.

Frustration appeared to boil over afterward, with one USC staffer exiting the locker room while yelling, “Tell your teammates! You need to own that …” before completing the sentence with an expletive.

The Trojans lost on a night that Okongwu was a singular force with 23 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks and Mathews added 13 points. It didn’t help that Anderson and Rakocevic combined to make two of 13 shots and guard Elijah Weaver committed five turnovers.

Duarte collected 30 points, 11 rebounds and eight steals for Oregon and Pritchard added 24 points and seven assists, the latter becoming first player in Pac-12 history with 1,500 points, 600 assists and 500 rebounds in his career.

The game was one extended highlight show for Pritchard. He had just crossed over Mathews like a traffic cone early in the second half on the way to a layup in transition when the public-address announcer said it all in only three words.

“Wow, Payton Pritchard,” he said.

It was only the start of a lengthy Ducks run initiated by Pritchard. He generated a steal that led to another basket before knocking the ball away from Trojans guard Kyle Sturdivant in the backcourt and throwing an alley-oop pass to Duarte for a monstrous dunk.

Just like that, a game that had been tied was tilting heavily in the Ducks’ direction.

Pritchard’s lob to Duarte completed a 10-0 surge for Oregon and forced Enfield to call a timeout as fans waved their arms along to the theme from “Animal House” during the ensuing celebration.

Things would only get crazier from there, USC wiping out a massive deficit for the second consecutive game after having come back from 21 down against Stanford last week to force overtime.

This time, the free basketball did not produce a worthwhile ending for the Trojans.

latimes.com

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TrojanDailyBlog members  —  Always feel free to add information or topics to the TDB which don’t necessarily pertain to any particular moderator post or member comment.

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Jamaica
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Don’t know if Helton ever reached out to Rocky Long for the DC position. But if he did, you can see Long preferred DC’ing at New Mexico.

danielmcd1
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LSU at No. 22 was defeated by our Trojans. We will have to beat Utah and home Thursday and this weekend we will have to beat Colorado to get a sniff at the top 25 it appears. Allen, you seem to be correct that the media just does not believe in Coach Andy’s team.

TrojanRJJ
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Just back from a cruise. I see SC has a new DC. He is saying all the “right things.” I just do not believe it. My guess is he will be an upgrade over Clancy (not hard to do that). For me, the product put on the field matters. So, I will wait until the Fall to see what happens. I am expecting a 6-6 record (losses to AL, ND, Oregon, Utah, and two others, most likely ASU and UCLA).

Steveg
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We now officially have a DC. Can you imagine Helton as an emergency room doctor? People would be dying left and right, but they went out fighting like warriors. Now we need to fill in the defensive coaching positions. Wonder who is staying and who is leaving. Then we somehow sometime before the season starts need to find a special teams coach. No problemo. Helton is working on it. Looking forward to spring ball but not looking forward to the usual hype and B.S. that will come out Heltons office.

Jamaica
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Very sad about Kobe and his daughter’s passing…. length of life has no guarantee but this is tragic.

UtahTrojan
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The losses just keep piling up. There is no faith in Helton from the local talent.

Clemson landed a commitment Saturday night from the nation’s No. 4 wide receiver prospect in Bellflower (Calif.) product Beaux Collins, a friend and former teammate of five-star Tiger true freshman QB D.J. Uiagalelei. The two were reunited this weekend at the Tigers’ Elite Junior Day event.

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Said Collins Saturday night: “I have found the school that is going to help me develop as a player, man and help prepare me for life.

Paul_Muad_dib
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Well Todd passes my first requirement for a DC, he has to look very mean. This guy certainly looks like he will dig into players for stupid and pointless personal fouls. I don’t think he can mesh with Helton though. He looked like he was lying through his teeth when he said that his main reason for coming to USC was to coach under Helton. That was cringe.

Jamaica
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Orlando is saying the right things today. But we have heard a certain HC say supposedly right things and then ignore it afterwards. Excuse me for being guarded in believing anything, but after 4-years of Helton….. It will be interesting to see if Orlando can make something better out of what Helton has recruited these last recent years on defense.

John Weld
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It is official; USC announces the hiring of Todd Orlando as Defensive Coordinator. See USC video introduction on the side bar.

Golden Trojan
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Quote of the day, “You can’t practice soft and play hard”. Really, did he talk to Helton about that? We can only hope for some toughness in the program. twisted

Trojan96
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From what I hear, Todd Orlando is a complete Texas hardass. Let’s see if Helton caves into the new DC’s philosophy of hard hitting football practice. His best comment so far “you can’t practice soft and play hard”.

Jamaica
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Don’t use this game more of a loss than a lesson on not giving the opponent easy scores and losing possession of the ball, especially at the end of games where there isn’t time left to tie or win the game. This Trojan team has the game and if it concentrates on playing smart, it can go far into the tournament.

danielmcd1
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I did not see the game last night against No. 12 Oregon, but we can not turn over the ball 18 times against good teams and we must shoot better. We at least played better than our visit to UW. We seem to be improving and fighting back when we get behind but if we get to the NCAA tourney, we will have to shoot better and have fewer turnovers if we expect to win any games in March regardless of whom we play.