USC men’s basketball hosts Washington State in final homestand

first_imgThree nights removed from a gut-wrenching one-point loss to Arizona State in Tempe, the USC men’s basketball team (21-8, 8-8) takes the court at the Galen Center on Wednesday in search of its first win in 20 days. The Trojans’ opponent: the Washington State Cougars (13-15, 6-10).“We’ve been impressed with Washington State all season,” head coach Andy Enfield said after Tuesday’s practice. “Coach [Ernie] Kent’s done a great job with them, especially in Pac-12 play.”The two teams last met on Feb. 3 in frosty Pullman, Wash., where USC rode a hot offense to an 86-77 win. The Trojans shot 57 percent from the field in that contest and rallied from an 11-point deficit in the first half. Sophomore forward Chimezie Metu scored a career-high 29 points, and freshman guard Jonah Matthews added 18 off the bench. The Trojans left Washington with a sweep for the first time in 15 years, a healthy squad for the first time all season and a four-game win streak in tow.This time around, USC carries a four-game skid into Wednesday night’s game, which is threatening the Trojans’ postseason hopes. It’s their longest losing streak in two years.“It’s a different sort of feeling,” junior guard Elijah Stewart said. “We let a couple games go that we should’ve won. We’ve just got to finish out strong right now.”But morale is not down, and intensity has ratcheted up.“Practice has gotten a little chippy,” Stewart said. “We’re all competitors. We all enjoy the intensity. It’s going to make us better in games.”USC expects to earn a postseason berth, whereas Washington State knows it has two games left to play this year. That spells danger for USC, as the veteran Cougars may come into this contest ready to empty the tank. On Sunday — Senior Day in Pullman — all four Cougar seniors scored in double figures to beat favored in-state rival Washington, 79-71.“We have to play as hard as we can, and whatever happens happens,” Enfield said.Two seniors in particular, guard Ike Oroegbu and forward Josh Hawkinson, have paced the Cougars throughout the season. Oroegbu scored 22 versus the Trojans earlier this month, and he has scored at least 15 points in four of WSU’s last five contests. For the season, he is averaging 12.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game.Hawkinson, meanwhile, has found his place in the annals of Cougar basketball. Last time versus USC, he became WSU’s second all-time rebounder — a testament to his four years of hard work in the paint. He finished that game with 17 points and 16 rebounds. On Wednesday night, he could set the school record with 11 more boards. Enfield called Hawkinson a “double-double machine.”On the other side of the court, USC will be significantly younger, playing no seniors and three freshmen.“Our freshmen have had terrific seasons,” Enfield said. “They’ve been a little streaky, but most freshmen are. We would not have 21 wins without our four freshmen contributing. They’ve got to play like sophomores the last week of the season and into the tournament.”For USC’s postseason aspirations to stay alive, those freshmen will have to help USC get at least a 22nd win Wednesday versus Washington State.“We’re taking it one game at a time,” freshman guard De’Anthony Melton said. “If we start looking too far forward, we might lose to a team we should beat.”last_img read more

Cone concerned as Ginebra blows huge lead: ‘We have to respond better’

first_imgRead Next Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. ‘High crimes and misdemeanors’: Trump impeachment trial begins Report: Disney dropping the ‘Fox’ from movie studio names Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Cone also had that look of concern, which was unusual for a winning coach.He, however, has reasons to be worried about despite guiding the Gin Kings closer to another finals appearance.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone still willing to coach Gilas but admits decision won’t be ‘simple yes or no’Ginebra led by as much as 25 points in the first half and was even ahead by 20 entering the fourth quarter but  Rain or Shine still managed to fight all the way back and came within a shot away from forcing overtime.READ: Ginebra averts meltdown, beats Rain or Shine to close in on finals spot View comments In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ Trump assembles a made-for-TV impeachment defense team LATEST STORIES Alapag shares learnings from young coaching career in Asia League seminarcenter_img Putin’s, Xi’s ruler-for-life moves pose challenges to West Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award DepEd’s Taal challenge: 30K students displaced MOST READ Barangay Ginebra head coach Tim Cone froze for a moment then shook his head before he got up from his seat following his post-game interview on Saturday night.ADVERTISEMENT “We did not respond well and it is a concern,” Cone told reporters after Ginebra eked out a 75-72 win in Game 3 of their best-of-five-semifinals series.”We played on our heels playing not to lose the whole second half rather than staying aggressive and playing to win.“They picked up the defense and picked up the physicality and we struggled with it and we gotta be smarter with that for Game 4,” he added. “If we don’t figure that one out, if we don’t come with a little bit more poise and a little bit more fight in us then they’re gonna come out and get Game 4 easy.”The Elasto Painters had a couple of chances to extend the game into OT but James Yap’s two attempts from about 30 feet barely hit the rim as time expired.“We really didn’t respond well to what happened in the second half and that’s on us, it’s not on the referees, not on them, it’s not on anybody but us,” Cone said.“We have to respond better. It was just a tremendous comeback by Rain or Shine and like I said, we just held on by our fingernails.”ADVERTISEMENT Lacson: Calamity fund cut; where did P4 billion go? Palace OKs total deployment ban on Kuwait OFWs Rain or Shine emerged as the No. 1 team after the elimination round and Cone said it wasn’t by accident.“You’re a win away but we’re coming out of this game with a lot of concerns. I keep saying it, I’m not sure anybody believes me but there’s an absolute reason they’re the No. 1 seed,” he said.“They play down the stretch very well, they played close games throughout the conference and won all of them including three overtime games. They’re very poised, they’re a veteran team and their import Reggie Johnson is just a really smart, intelligent player. That’s the reason why they deserve the No. 1 seed. We know how good they are and we’re gonna have to battle.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparclast_img read more