Sunday, March 7, 2010
Final: Arizona 84, USC 82 (2 OT)
By Pedro Moura
USC's season ended dramatically with a double-overtime loss to Arizona Saturday, 84-82. But much the way they did all season long, the Trojans competed until the end of the game — regardless of the obstacles along the way.
And there were a lot of obstacles Saturday. USC led 69-66 with seconds to go in regulation, only to have Nikola Vucevic called for a foul on Arizona's Kyle Fogg with 0.2 seconds remaining. Fogg went to the line for three free throws and converted all of them.
The Trojans also dealt with a number of other questionable calls, including an Arizona shot attempt that appeared to go off after the shot clock hit zero. In the end, though, Wildcats point guard Nic Wise wiggled through the USC defense to make a layup with 1.2 seconds left and send the Trojans home after two overtimes.
USC coach Kevin O'Neill refused to comment directly on any specific call when discussing the game with reporters afterward.
"Everyone knows what happened out there," O'Neill said. "It's no secret. Everyone at the game saw what happened and I'm going to leave it at that."
USC (16-14, 8-10) did have a number of impressive perfomances. Senior guard Dwight Lewis, playing his last collegiate game, had 21 points and five rebounds before fouling out in the first overtime. The team's two other seniors — point guard Mike Gerrity and forward Marcus Johnson — had 16 and 13 points, respectively.
But all five Wildcats starters were in double figures in points, including forward Derrick Williams, a former USC recruit. Williams had 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Now, Arizona (16-14, 10-8) moves on to the Pac-10 tournament, which kicks off Wednesday night with a play-in game at Staples Center. The fourth-seeded Wildcats will play UCLA on Thursday afternoon.
But the Trojans will have no more games, and so they close the 2009-10 season on a five-game losing streak. We'll have more reflection on the season later on the blog.
For now, a quote from Gerrity (via USCfootball.com) ends it well: "I think everybody can look back and say we had a good season. We didn't do what we sat out to do but people played good basketball. All in all, it was a great season."